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Week of the young child

What is the Week of the Young Child about exactly?

Everyone celebrates differently, but whether you call it Week – or – Month of the Young Child; whether you party in April or May; we’re basically celebrating young children, their families, and the people who teach and care for them! Week of the Young Child was started by NAEYC – the National Association for the Education of Young Children, started WOYC in 1971!
The purpose is to focus public attention on the needs of young children. NAEYC recognizes that the early childhood years lay the foundation for children’s success in later life. This time of year is a time to plan how we will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.
Kids First has celebrated Month of the Young Child since 1990; we focus attention by having several events: Read With Me Day – volunteers reading the same book at the same time in all the childcare programs, then proclamation from Aspen City Council and Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners. We have a children’s parade through downtown Aspen on May 22 at 10 am – this will be our 28th year, come on out and cheer on the kids! Kids First Advisory Board and staff then serve up an ice cream social at all our early childhood programs that afternoon and the next day. We’ll be posting on our Facebook page – you can follow our pictures and please post your own events, we’d love to see what you’re doing!
For lots of ideas and resources to help celebrate, check out NAEYC and start the party!

Shirley Ritter - Kids First Director

Event list
Aspen Country Day
Aspen Country Day PreKindergarten team

Colorado Shines Level 5 rating

Congratulations to the Aspen Country Day School PreKindergarten program! They're the first early childhood center in the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council region (Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle, and Lake Counties) to receive a Level-5 rating from Colorado Shines, the statewide quality rating and improvement system for early care and learning programs. "The rating program is really about making a difference for children -- not just children enrolled at Aspen Country Day School, but as a model for how a strong PreKindergarten can be a model for early childhood education everywhere," said Tsvetana Mawicke, ACDS PreK co-Director and teacher.

As at any age level, the most important element in quality early childhood education is excellence in teaching. "At Aspen Country Day School, we are lucky to have experienced and professional teachers along with dedicated assistants that are passionate about their jobs," says ACDS PreK co-director and teacher Laurie Frampton. "Many of our teachers have been here for more than ten years. Children also benefit from great teaching from the whole Country Day faculty as they experience performing arts, foreign language, and physical education classes."
The Aspen Country Day School PreKindergarten serves 30 children each school day, September-May. ACDS, a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, enrolls 265 students from PreK through Eighth Grade and has 65 teachers and staff. Founded in 1969, the school is known for its commitment to a rigorous, engaging curriculum that balances academics, arts, and outdoor education.

Food basics

Focus on Food Preparation and Preventing Foodborne Illness in Child Care
Robin Strecker, Kids First Nurse Consultant

Safe food preparation is essential in child care and at home in order to prevent food borne illness.  Keep these rules from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in mind when handling food in the child care setting.

  • Before food preparation starts always begin with hand washing, a good soapy scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Next, create a clean and sanitized food prep space with a dedicated sink for food handling only.  Wash all produce prior to consuming. This dedicated sink should not be used for dish/toy washing nor for hand washing after diapering or using the toilet. Separate sinks should be used for these purposes unless the health department approves a multi-use sink plan.
  • Always keep raw meats separate from produce, use separate cutting boards and utensils, clean work surfaces and equipment soon after working with raw foods.  
  • When preparing hot or cold foods, cook meat/fish/eggs thoroughly to recommended cooking temperatures and keep cold foods cold until ready to serve. Promptly refrigerate foods once they have been served and don’t allow foods to sit at room temperature for lengthy periods of time.  Bacteria grow quickly in the Danger Zone, or temperature range between 40-140 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Families who bring food to share can bring uncut produce to the child care program if the program has the proper sink and space to wash and prepare food.  Families may also bring food that is prepackaged and prepared from commercial sources.  If the food requires refrigeration after opening, anything left over should be sent home with the parent that supplied it or should be thrown out.
  • Keep ill staff at home.  Staff should not handle food or prepare infant’s bottles until 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting and diarrhea.
Enjoy safe snacks and meals by following these guidelines!

Kids First Orientation
Child Abuse Prevention - Employers ideas
Early Childhood Network

By the Numbers: Utilizing ELV Services
Increases Program Quality

A mounting body of research suggests that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial for cognitive development and emotional well being, thus laying the foundation for the lifelong health of a child. So, it’s important for families to seek out quality early child care, but, oftentimes it’s hard for parents to truly know what quality looks like.
Fortunately, in Colorado, we have Colorado Shines, which is a quality improvement rating system that rates child care programs across the state on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating a child care program can receive. This rating system not only helps child care providers better understand where within their program they need to make quality improvements, but it is also a great tool for parents who need help finding quality child care programs in their area.

Colorado Shines ratings are free and easily accessible at Using the sites searchable database, parents can look for child care programs based on distance from their work or home (see below).

Find a program online

Because Early Learning Ventures (ELV) provides tools and resources—like our child management system, Alliance CORE—directly to early child care programs, we wanted to take a closer look at how utilizing our services might affect the quality of the child care programs we work with. 
First, we looked at the Colorado Shines ratings of non-ELV child care providers compared to those who are currently utilizing our services.

For all non-ELV child care providers in Colorado who had participated in Colorado Shines as of December 2017, their average Colorado Shines rating was 1.8. Comparing that to all ELV providers who are utilizing our child management system, Alliance CORE, the average rating in December 2017 was 2.5. Additionally, child care programs who participated in ELV’s Quality Child Care Partnership program, which qualifies them to receive deeper, more supportive services, had an average rating of 3.1 in December 2017.

Colorado Shines Ratings 2017

Diving deeper, we looked at users who had been using CORE for < 1 year, compared to those who had been using CORE for > 1 year. As a result, the average Colorado Shines rating for CORE users who had been using the system for < 1 year was 2.17. However, after more than a year of using CORE, child care providers saw a rating increase of nearly an entire point totaling an average rating of 2.8.

Growth of Colorado Shines

From these results, we can conclude that child care providers who utilize CORE, on average, have a higher Colorado Shines rating than non-ELV child care providers. We can also conclude that child care providers utilizing CORE for more than a year can expect to see a significant increase to their rating.
Overall, looking at quality when finding child care is extremely important, and Colorado Shine ratings can help families decide what child care is best their child. This rating system also helps child care providers better understand where they need to make improvements to their programs.
If you’d like to learn more about Early Learning Ventures and our services, contact us today. More information on Colorado Shines is available on their website.

Mountain Valley logo

Early Intervention Part 2 of 3

This is the second in a series of articles about early intervention, what it is, how it works, and the role you may play. Stay tuned to future newsletters for part3; or go to
for more information.

The “child find” process is an important piece of the early intervention process and is available for any child age 0 to 5. When a child gets a referral, most often the next step is a child find screening. This evaluation and assessment are conducted by a multidisciplinary team of professionals in the home and free of charge to the family. The
next step is determination by the local Community Centered Board (CCB), under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The plan for the early intervention provided by the CCB is an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). The services are provided in the family’s home by staff hired by the CCB. The CCB that will make the eligibility decision and develop the plans for 0 through 2-year olds in this district is Mountain Valley Developmental Services. For children 0 through 2 years of age, the timeline for completion of the initial screening, evaluation, and IFSP is 45 days from the time you (or another referral source) make(s) it known to the district’s Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator that there is a concern for the child.

When children are 3 through 5 years old, the process and the services are handled a little differently. The plan for 3 through 5-year olds is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is developed and services can begin IF the parents enroll their child in the district public preschool in order to receive the specially designed services. For children ages 3 through 5, the district has 60 days from the district’s Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator’s receipt of parental consent for evaluation to complete an evaluation, and 90 days from the receipt of parental consent for evaluation to complete and implement an IEP.

If you are concerned about your young child’s development: Kids First is your contact for referrals to Early Intervention Colorado developmental screening (child find) for young children. 888-777-4041. 

You can also make referrals to Sarah Brotherson at (970) 230 9822.

Observing Art
Art Study
Art work
Wildwood Logo

Wildwood’s Adventures in the Art Study

Several kids asked, “Can we do an Art study?”  More and more kids agreed that would be fun. The teachers got together and enthusiastically brainstormed all the great experiences we could have fun with. We used the Tree Study weekly planning sheets, we changed words to songs and rhymes of the Mighty Minutes. Our small groups included different media, tools and artists. Most of the Intentional Teaching Cards were Language Literacy and Math.
We collected painting tools from outside, created Andy Goldsworthy work and took pictures to make a book. We explored Picasso’s Blue Period when he was felt sad, Georgia O’Keefe’s study of flowers, created Van Gogh’s Starry Night and played with color like the Impressionists. (To name a few). We continued with foil sculptures, and 2 dimensional Fuchoga’s (A Japanese art form). The science of mixing colors and soaking gum balls, added to the investigation. There were so many children’s books about art in our Wildwood collection and the library, more than your typical study.
We completed the study with an Art Exhibit to celebrate with families. Sparkling apple juice flowed in plastic wine glasses, as the kids gave tours and explained the inspiration for their work. We had such great feedback from parents, that their children brought home stories and experiences, daily. The teachers noticed the kids started coming up with creative ideas, not only in art but everyday situations. The Younger Dome classroom is now doing the same study with the little ones. The teachers are adding new creative ideas and are met with the same enthusiasm with their kids.
Most of all this study has given the children a new lens to look through. There is not good or bad art, it is a feeling and expression. The teachers learned how contagious creativity is and the freedom we felt within a researched based curriculum.    
                                                                                                            ~ Tina Person  MS

Children's art cats
Children's blocks tower
Children's art gravity
Woody Creek Kids

Woody Creek Kids Investigations

In the past year we have embarked down a path of discovery. After visiting a Reggio Emilia school last summer, we were incredibly inspired to follow in their philosophy of education. Walking around the Boulder Journey School one immediately feels the depth and quality of their work with children. There is a strong sense of respect and a lovely balance of celebrating everyone’s individuality while maintaining a strong sense of community. One can also feel a shift in time: Reggio schools seem magically untouched by the tyranny of productivity and the daily schedule. Instead, there is a slowing down, a profound immersion in the experience of each moment. All activities and transitions present themselves not only as opportunities to  learn, but as a chance to co-create reality. Children aren’t told what to do or how to do it, but instead are active participants of their daily experiences.

Following in the steps of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, one of the first changes at WCK was adopting a new approach to our activities, moving away from product-oriented projects towards experiential opportunities. With this came a natural shift in the roles of the teachers, becoming less activity directors and more active observers. The practice of being present with the children and meeting them where they are, experiencing the world through their perspective and becoming their facilitators and supporters was in itself a profound learning experience that positively affected all our relationships with our students and their families.

When we decided to work on a STEAM unit, it was based on our observations of the children’s play. A big group in the class was showing more interest in building and in science experiments, and we immediately knew this was a great chance for open-ended exploration. In the toddler room the focus was on experiencing sensory activities and chemical reactions. Our youngest minds were fascinated by understanding actions and reactions and the mesmerizing magic of physics. In the preschool, the starting point was a daily invitation to build with different materials, from blocks, paper, playdough, toothpicks, rocks and straws. The children learned about the strength and soundness of various materials and shapes. This sparked our curiosity about famous buildings around the world, and we set out to architect our own versions of The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building and The Golden Gate Bridge. All the building led to questions about physics, and that’s where we went next. We explored gravity and motion through a variety of art projects, a pulley system and a DIY marble track. We also dabbled into light and reflection, working with mirrors, flashlights and shadows. As more inquiries emerged we saw a perfect opportunity to research the Scientific Method. Presented with many experiments, the children learned to ask questions, form hypothesis, conduct tests and draw conclusions.

Our investigation lasted for two and a half months. Leaving agendas aside and working from a place of curiosity gave us the opportunity to follow the children’s lead, holding spaces for them as long as they showed an interest, and letting go of expectations as soon as each subject ran its course. It was the most rewarding experience and a reminder of the depth, passion and beauty that can happen in the classroom when we slow down enough to let things unfold, blossom and grow to their fullest potential!  

Christina Holloway - Director Woody Creek Kids


The Brilliance of Resilience  
Deb Bair, Garfield County Department of Human Services Childcare Consultant


     This past weekend, the Garfield County Department of Human Services in conjunction with the Early Childhood Network did a training for providers in our area. The topic was The Brilliance of Resilience, Strategies to Promote Resiliency in Adults and Children, the presenter was Constant Hine. This training helped providers to learn how to recognize and deal with the stressors that they bring into their jobs each day. Also, protective factors the provider can utilize to help deal with stress, “like an umbrella that provides shelter from the storm”.  These 4 protective factors include relationships, initiative, internal beliefs, and self-control. Stress symptoms fall into 4 categories, physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual and the trainer helped providers understand how they react to each kind of stress.
     There are 4 basic principles to transform stress and build resiliency: 1. Increase response-ability to become proactive rather than reactive. 2. Focus on what you want, not what you worry about. 3. Reframe perceptions to empower. Most everything in this world is not in our control, however, how we choose to perceive a situation in totally within our control. 4. Start where you have a choice. External demands can’t be stopped, but we can make choices in the areas we do have control, such as managing the internal demands we place on ourselves.
The presenter then switched from discussing stress in adults to stress in young children. A longitudinal study in Hawaii that began in 1955 followed 500 children at-risk. What they discovered was that 1/3 of these high risk children were thriving. The study identified 3
common characteristics of these resilient children: 1. They had been active and social infants. 2. They had at least one positive role model who supported their development of trust, autonomy, and initiative. 3. They had at least one skill that gave them a sense of pride and acceptance with their peer group. The DECA (Devereux Early Childhood Assessment) is a tool used to assess children’s protective factors, which include: 1. Initiative, the child’s ability to use independent thought and action to meet his or her needs. 2.  Self-regulation, the child’s ability to experience a range of feelings and express them using the words and actions that society considers appropriate and 3. Attachment, the mutual, strong, and long-lasting relationship between a child and significant adults. Strategies to help children build these protective factors were discussed.
     Overarching “take aways” from the day were: in this busy stressful life we all lead, it is essential that we first take care of ourselves, before we can take care of our little ones & laughter is critical!
For more information about this topic, you can visit Constant’s website at

Garfield County logo

Licensing Corner

Greetings all out there in “Child Care Land.” It is your friendly and always up to the task Licensing Specialists with this Licensing Corner’s news. Here are updates in regulation land:
The NEW General rule 7.701s were adopted minus the fee changes at the beginning of the year. The fee Changes were adopted at the end of February of 2018. Remember the General Rules 7.701 are for ALL facilities homes, centers, or camps.  So if you have not looked at them yet, now is the time to take that moment and say, “Hi” to them. 
There has also been a major change in the School Age Child Care Rules 7.712 and the Resident Camp Rules 7.711.  As of this writing the new rules have been posted on the Colorado Office of Early Childhood web site but they have an “unofficial” watermark on them. You are welcome to open the rules for your license type.  Go to:
Click on the rule section that would pertain to your type of license. Then there will be a prompt to “download.” Single click on the download and open the document in Acrobat Reader or PDF format.  At this time you could save them but until the “official” versions are loaded use this to look through.
All staff, for all facilities, have a requirement for ongoing training. Consult your rules books for all the meat and potatoes but here are the “Appetizers”.
For ALL facilities there is a requirement for one and done FEMA, Building Safety and Bio contaminants training, Fire extinguisher and Fire Alarm, and Licensing rules and of course the facility’s policy and procedures. Now if there are changes in your facility you may want to update these trainings as needed.
Pre-trainings and annual trainings include Head Trauma, Safe sleep, Child Abuse Reporting & Prevention, and Standard Precautions. Immunization Documentation and Medication Delegation (Centers, SACC’s and Camps) are required annually for those persons in those positions.
For the ongoing training, unless there are exceptions (SACC’s), 15 hours of training annually.  New to PDIS are trainings for Playground Safety and Injury Prevention that could be part of the 15 hours. Remember that 3 hours of training is to be in Social Emotional content.    
Go to: to review them or take them.
As always check your rule books for the requirements.
Since Resident Camps and School Age Child Care Center “Day Camps” are starting up for the summer, remember that when you are participating in “skill based” activities that required a supervisor via Special Activities Rules 7.719, the supervising person of that activity MUST have the credentials on file to be the supervisor of that activity.  Be sure to check in the 7.719’s for the requirements.


Garfield Events
Oral Health

Importance of Oral Health in Childhood

Did you know that cavities are the most common disease of childhood?  An unhealthy mouth can mean lost time at school and work for families. Cavities are almost 100% preventable. A healthy mouth is important to a child’s growth and development. Here are a few things parents can do to keep their child’s mouth healthy.


  • Wipe the inside of your baby’s mouth after each feeding with a warm washcloth.
  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle or use your mouth to clean pacifiers or bottles which spreads germs that cause cavities.
  • Take your baby for their first dental check-up no later than their first birthday.
  • Brush your toddler’s teeth twice per day using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. Sing a song during brushing time to make it more enjoyable.
  • Limit juice to 4 oz. per day and avoid other sugary drinks. Get your child used to drinking water.
  • Take your toddler for a dental check up every 6 months to help get them used to visiting the dentist.

Good oral health habits introduced early will last a lifetime. Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) provides dental benefits for enrolled and eligible adults and children. DentaQuest administers dental benefits on behalf of Health First Colorado. If you would like more information on Health First Colorado dental benefits or would like help finding a dental provider please call DentaQuest at 1-855-225-1729 TTY: 711

Ivy Beville, RDH
DentaQuest Outreach & Education Representative
Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program)
(970) 250-1786


Early Childhood Council

From the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council

ELDGs… Oh man, another acronym.  But what are the ELDGs?  The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines provide practical tips and points of reference that anyone can use to help kids grow.  Early Childhood experts, early childhood teachers, first-time parents, or involved friends and neighbors can find great resources and information on this site and we all play a role in giving kids a strong, healthy start.
The Colorado Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines are divided into three major sections:

  • Birth to age three
  • Ages three to five
  • Kindergarten to third grade

Each of these sections describes child development within a specific area of development, called a domain, which differs somewhat for each age group. A domain is an area of development such as physical health, social (how children interact with others), emotional (how children express their feelings), language and literacy (how children learn to communicate and read), cognitive (how children learn) and approaches to learning. For example, the social and emotional domain describes how kids develop the ability to express their emotions and interact with adults and other kids; the language and literacy domain describes how kids develop the skills to speak and read.

Council graphic

The graphic above orients readers to how the Guidelines are organized by domain across age ranges.
The inner circle represents development for children birth to three years old. The middle circle outlines development for children three to five years old. The outer circle outlines development for children five to eight years old and aligns with the Colorado Academic Standards.

Within each age range, there is a description of what skills and abilities a child can typically do at a certain age and what adults can do to support the child’s growth and development. It is important to understand that each child learns and develops at his or her own individual pace and the guidelines are intended to be a used as a framework to help parents, caregivers, childcare providers and any adult who interacts with young children to easily incorporate the Guidelines into their everyday activities.

Since each child is unique, caregivers should talk with a health care provider or other trusted professional about any questions or concerns.

Stacy Petty, MS
Council Coordinator, Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council
Child Care Resource & Referral for Eagle, Garfield & Pitkin Counties   719-486-7273

Washing toys
Garfield logo

Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting: What is the Difference?!

Sanitizing reduces bacteria to a safer level, but does not eliminate them completely. The following items should be routinely sanitized:

  • Toys
  • Food contact surfaces
  • Sleeping mats
  • Play Areas
Disinfecting eliminates bacterial count. The following surfaces should be routinely disinfected:
  • Diapering Tables
  • Bathroom Toilets & Sinks
  • Anything that comes in contact with high hazard bodily fluids, such blood, urine/feces, or vomit.

Knowing the difference will prevent diseases from spreading through your child care while minimizing children’s expose to chemicals. When in doubt, follow the instructions on the label for kitchens (for sanitizing) or bathrooms (for disinfecting). Make sure to keep chemicals out of reach of children and remember more is not better!

Natalie Tsevdos
Office: 970-665-6375

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