December Newsletter 2020

Newsletter September 2020
January 27, 2021
Newsletter January 2021
March 17, 2021
Newsletter – December 2020
SPARK is the hub of a valuable wheel. An education initiative of Fox Valley United Way, SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) connects underserved Aurora, Illinois, families with early education and childcare opportunities that prepare their young children for success in school and life.
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SPARK CalendarOur SPARK monthly calendar has been created to share ideas for activities for young children, including easy things you can do at home as well as new places to explore in the community. The month of January is National Bath Safety Month and we have included several links to activities with tips on bath safety for your young children. 
Nuestro calendario de SPARK ha sido creado para compartir ideas de actividades para niños pequeños, incluyendo cosas faciles que pueden hacer en la casa y tambien lugares diferentes que pueden explorar en su comunidad. El mes de enero es mes nacional de seguridad en el baño y hemos incluído algunos enlaces para consejos de como mantener los niños pequeños seguros cuando están bañando 
Download January in EnglishDescarga enero en español
Download December in EnglishDescarga diciembre en español
SPARK received a grant from the Painters District Council #30 to provide early math workshops to local families. As COVID hit, we were not able to engage in person at our partner schools and agencies, however we adapted our presentations to be live on Zoom. Thanks to our friends Ian McCleary and David Quiroz, we have been able to host 3 English and 3 Spanish workshops in the months of October, November and December. Each month we had different themes including Counting and Numbers, Patterns and Shapes, and Sorting and Comparting. Each family received a kit with math materials that were used during the presentations.
At SPARK we believe parents are their child’s first and most important teacher so we asked parents how they would continue these math discussions at home. One mom shared: By continuing to use math language and showing my daughter everyday examples and allowing her to use the toys provided. The unit blocks for counting. And also looking forward to reading the books with her. Another parent shared: Hablando con el de las figuras qué hay dentro de la casa por ejemplo q figura tiene la tv q figura tiene el vaso !!! O contar cuántas puertas hay (Talking about what shapes are inside of the house for example what shape is the TV or the glass? Or how many doors are there?)
With the overwhelmingly positive response to these family math workshops we are hoping to extend our series after the new year to continue to provide fun and engaging opportunities for our youngest learners.
1. Count the days. Much like keeping a schedule for your child or making a plan with your child, use a calendar to mark important holidays or events in December. This will not only help you start talking about the holidays together, it can teach calendar skills, create daily activity of checking the calendar and build excitement. 
2. Share holiday stories. Snuggle up and read a favorite holiday or winter themed book together. As you read, ask who, what, when, when, why questions along the way. 
3. Talk about favorite family holiday traditionsShare with your children the reasons behind the celebrations and traditions in your home. Encourage your children to talk about their favorite traditions and share why they’re so special. You could also staple blank paper together and create a book about your family’s holiday traditions. 
4. Share the spirit. Talk about the things that make the holidays special to you and what you celebrate during this season. Family – draw a picture of your family and name each family member.  Gratitude – tell each other why you are grateful to have them in your life.Giving – share a hug, share a toy, lend a hand (help with chores). 5Let’s talk about holiday foodAs you prepare a holiday meal, talk about the colors, tastes, textures and smells. Use a traditional holiday recipe or find a recipe online to bake cookies, bread or muffins. Work together to measure, count and mix ingredients and talk about the special treats you enjoy this time of year. 
6. Let’s wash our handsIt’s important to stay clean and wash our hands often during the holidays, especially before eating, and after playing and using the bathroom. You can make handwashing more fun by singing holiday songs together while you wash!
7. Let’s make musicUse kitchen items like wooden spoons and empty containers to create drums to play along with your favorite holiday songs. Find bells in holiday decor to play along. 
8. Sing and signMake up hand movements for words in your favorite holiday songs and sing and dance along. 
9. Holiday scavenger hunt. Have fun looking for holiday items all around the house. Take turns naming different colors and finding matching colors, and celebrate holiday colors when you find them. Be on the lookout for new words around holiday decorations and help your children spot patterns they may see (on gift wrap, etc.).
10. Craft imagination and holiday magic. Find ways to recycle used items into holiday crafts. With some colors and a toilet paper roll can you make a turkey, reindeer, snowman, menorah/candle, Santa, etc.
Virtual Play. Learn. Connect.
Check out our virtual Play. Learn. Connect. activity from DuPage Children’s Museum!
With all of the extra baking that often happens this time of year, it’s the perfect opportunity to involve your little ones. Baking is an activity full of learning!
Let’s make some banana bread with Alix and her helper to see the learning in action! With one recipe, they touch on math, science, language and literacy, social emotional, and physical development… not to mention have a delicious treat when they’re done. What’s your favorite recipe to bake together?
Check out their website for more fun family activities:
Virtual Play. Learn. Connect. WebsiteLike our Facebook
Gateway to Early Childhood: Virtual support now available for our families
The goal of SPARK is to connect families with children birth to 5 to quality early childhood supports and services. If you are looking for a program for you child, please watch this short video for more information on how to connect with our staff.El objetivo de SPARK es conectar a las familias con niños desde el nacimiento hasta los 5 años con servicios y apoyos de calidad para la primera infancia. Si está buscando un programa para su hijo, mire este breve video para obtener más información sobre cómo conectarse con nuestro personal.
Fill Out the Virtual Family Gateway Interview Here
Story Time With Astronauts
English:Reading to young children improves cognitive development, stimulates their imagination, helps expand their understanding of the world and helps with language development and listening skills. Click on the link below to view a story video from astronauts in space!
Spanish: Se ha demostrado que leer a los niños pequeños mejora y ayuda a lo largo del proceso de desarrollo cognitivo. Pero también puede estimular su imaginación, ayudar a expandir su comprensión del mundo y también ayudar con el desarrollo del lenguaje y las habilidades auditivas. ¡Haga clic en el enlace de abajo para ver un video de cuento de los astronautas en el espacio!
Spotlight on Children’s Books that Promote DiversityMeet the girls: Sasha, Lottie, Alice, and Leela.
These four best friends spend their days playing beneath the branches of their favorite apple tree. As the tree grows tall and reaches across the sky, so do they . . .
. . . growing from little girls into big girls . . .
. . . and from big girls into women!
Through their shared secrets, dreams, worries, and schemes, their friendship grows ever stronger. Even when their adventures take them in different directions, the girls always stay rooted together.
The Girls is a celebration of lasting friendship for every girl . . . big or little.
Recommended: All AgesMore Info
Virtual Play. Learn. Connect. ActivitiesWe have added a running list of virtual activities you can do with your children while you are home. We will continue to add this page as we find more activities. You can find virtual zoo tours, tours of national parks, hear a bedtime story from outer space, activities you can do with your children focusing on all different topics from math to literacy and everything in between. We are all in this together let’s Live United and SPARK a love of learning while we are all staying home.Virutal Activities
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