Early Childhood News
Brain Development

Coaching Corner
 Megan Monaghan and Adley Kent

Recently we attended the Expanding Quality in Infant and Toddler Care Specialist Foundations Course for 2 full weeks in Denver. This was a train-the-trainer course for us to become certified to teach EQIT in our wonderful community.

We watched “How Brains are Built”, during Module 1.  This video describes how brains are “built over time” and uses the metaphor of a house. It explains that the foundation for a healthy brain is based on a process called “serve and return”.  This is the back and forth interaction of eye contact, verbal and physical communication between the child and the caregiver- a parent, teacher or other individuals who care for a child. Providing this “serve and return” experience for babies and young children also helps to establish secure attachment which is the first building block that is necessary for children to then learn self-regulation, how to connect with others, awareness of themselves and others, tolerance and respect for others.  We support this process every day by maintaining eye contact, singing to, cooing, talking with, and touching the children with whom we work.  We also do this when we create the conversational pattern of looking or making a gesture or sound, giving time for the child’s non-verbal or verbal response and then responding back. Never underestimate the power of a look, a touch, or a coo. Each day, in every interaction, you are building brains!

Follow this link to view the whole 4-minute video:

Video developed by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and the Frameworks Institute. 

Early Childhood Network logo

Why Coaching In Early Childhood?

Here at Early Childhood Network we think of coaching as a vehicle to take someone from one place to another.  Remember the “coach” in the Cinderella story?  It was originally just a pumpkin that was changed into a vehicle that took Cinderella from being a slave to eventually transforming into a princess!

While we can’t guarantee that teachers we coach will become royalty, we do have the following research that coaching can transform your life as an early childhood teacher.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Increase ability in acquiring a new skill or improving on an existing one
  • Improves work relationships with co-teachers
  • Broadens ability to see other perspectives
  • Increases motivation
  • Coaches are happier
  • Changes teacher’s approach to difficult situations
  • Increases ability to obtain agreed upon goals

Most importantly, we want to get to know you.  By getting to know you, Early Childhood Network will be better able to advocate for your needs.  We want you to get to know us also, so that you are comfortable to reach out to us when you have questions or concerns about the field of Early Childhood.

………so contact us if you are a teacher, director or family childcare provider in Garfield County.  We would love to build a relationship with you! www.earlychildhoodnet.org or (970)928-7111

River Bridge
Little Girl

Kindergarten Ready?

Kids First Director  - Shirley Ritter

I love summer and I sure don’t want to burst anyone’s balloon now that we all got to summer… and it’s not “back to school” time yet, but the fact is, it’s never too early to think about being ready for school. Early childhood experts in fact will tell you that getting ready for success in school starts as an infant; creating strong attachments to family and caregivers, playing with friends, and absorbing everything that a child experiences in the world – this is all getting ready for school!
There are some logical steps though, that you can take as you approach the beginning of Kindergarten to support your child. Here’s a short list to think about – please share with other preschool teachers and families!

  • Be a good friend – practice inviting others to play, practice problem solving skills before problems arise, as you read stories, talk about how characters acted as a good friend.
  • Name and talk about feelings – recognize feelings, name all your feelings, encourage ways to deal with feelings.
  • Talk about different rules for different places – waiting in line at the store, using a quiet voice in the library for example.
  • Encourage children to do things on their own – getting dressed, going to the bathroom, putting away one game before starting something new, and knowing when and how to ask for help.
  • Keep reading to your children, make up silly rhymes and songs, look for signs or certain letters as you do routine tasks, practice writing and recognizing his/her name, and use playdough and sand to strengthen those small muscles.
  • If your child doesn’t already have a library card, get one now, and use it often.
  • Get the school supply list and let your child help buy a few things each time you’re at the store.
  • In August, start evening and morning routines to build confidence and success for when it really is time for school to start.
Our early childhood friends in Larimer County have a fun website with many more ideas; thanks to them for letting us borrow their great ideas!

Colorado Mountain College

Classes at CMC

CMC Classes

Expanding Quality in Infant and Toddler Care Class
Glenwood Springs

Expanding Quality in Infant and Toddler Care - Class

Please contact Joni Goodwin
for additional information and to register

Joni Goodwin
Email: joni@earlychildhoodnet.org

CDHS logo

Child Care Licensing Fees
are Changing. 

Click here for specifics!

Eagle County School

Early Childhood Education Updates

Eagle County Commissioners continue to have a focus on Early Childhood and have contributed 1.4 million to this effort this year to implement some of the recommendations from the Early Childhood Roadmap report as well as other areas of need. The county is currently accepting applications to help subsidize infant and toddler care to start to address the critical need to increase capacity. In the fall of 2018, Eagle County Schools will be opening an Infant and Toddler program at the new Eagle Valley Elementary Campus which will increase the number of infant and toddler slots by 18.  Some of the slots will be utilized so that ECS will be able to expand the teen parent program currently offered only in Edwards, this will help assure all teens parents have access to this great program and the support it provides. 
In addition, all Early Childhood staff working in a licensed facility can apply for a Salary Supplement to help support the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers. Our Community Foundation continues to offer scholarships to all Early Childhood Educators so they can access Early Childhood classes through Colorado Mountain College.  The scholarships help cover the cost of the class as well as books.  Friend, Family and Neighbor providers have not been forgotten in the county's plan.  The county is partnering with Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance to develop a system of support for these providers.  
The County is also investing in an education and outreach initiative to help inform the public about the importance of Early Childhood Education programs in our community.  

To move this work forward the county has added an Early Childhood System Coordinator, Michelle Dibos.  Please contact her if you have questions about the above or other Early Childhood related questions.  We are very excited by the commitment and support the county is providing our field.  
Shelley Smith
Director Early Childhood Programs
Michelle Dibos
Early Childhood Systems Coordinator
Eagle County Human Services
O: 970-328-2601 | C: 970-401-0710

Happy Sun

Fun in the Sun

It’s finally summer! Time to spend more time outside with the children in your program. Following are some fun activities to try:

For Toddlers:

  1. Ice Bowling. Fill recycled plastic water bottles with colored water. Make a giant ice ball to knock over the bottles.
  2. Paint with chalk. Grate different colors of large chalk into separate bowls.  Add about a tablespoon of water. Mix and use paint brushes to paint the sidewalk.
  3. Lego Ice Rescue. Fill a plastic container about ¼ full of water. Add in Lego figures and bricks. Place in freezer overnight. Remove and add more Lego figures. Then fill to the top with water. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and place the container in warm water for a few minutes. Remove the ice and place on a tray with some excavation tools such as water squirters, mini tools, glue scrappers, brushes and spoons.
  4. Magnetic Fishing. Use small wading pool or water table without water in it. Place foam or paper fish in the container. Attach a paper clip to each fish. Attach magnet to some sort of fishing pole and have the children catch the fish.
For Preschoolers:
  1. Grab and Pull Letter Load. Tie a rope to a basket. Spread alphabet letters throughout the outdoor play area. Create a “load list” by writing letters on an index card. Have the children pick up the load by pulling the basket to each letter, then returning the load back to you.
  2. Yarn and shell connect the dots. Use rocks, shells, or anything that you can write on. Write the numbers 1-10 or higher on each rock/shell. You can either place the numbers in order or mix them up. Have the children connect the numbers by using yarn and placing the yarn under each number in order.
  3. Treasure Hunt. Hide a box with small treasures in the outdoor play area. With your help, leave clues around the play area for the children to follow. You might start by hiding a clue at the big tree. The clue might say, “The next clue will be found under where we line up” etc. Continue with clues until the last clue lets them know where to find the treasure.
  4. Obstacle Course. Make an obstacle course using tunnels, tricycles, scooters, the edge of the sandbox, etc. Have the children follow the leader through the course.

Hope these activities help get your own creativity flowing. If you would like some support with an activity,  I would be glad to come to your program. You can contact me at:
Deb Bair, Child Care Consultant, dbair@garfield-county.com or 970 945-9191 EXT 3065
Garfield County
Department of Human Services
Child Care Program

Health Fair
Garfield County

Licensing Corner

It is time for some rocky mountain fun in the sun. Thought we would take this time to brush up on some practices embedded in rules and  regulations that will come in handy this summer!

Sun Protection: Ensure sunscreen/sun protection authorizations for each child are up to date (annually) and sunscreen is applied as directed. For programs and families looking for sunscreen with more kid-environment friendly ingredients, the following is a helpful guide:  https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/best-kids-sunscreens/#.Wy0Mv41K3gk

Field Trips: Whether you are going to the park, library, pool or for a hike …your get the idea… written authorization for each adventure outside of the program is required and kept on file. Make sure each child’s transportation authorization and emergency medical authorization are up to date (annually). Are there enough CPR & 1st Aid certified staff chaperoning given the group size? Are your first aid kit, emergency contacts and written authorization for emergency medical care, cell phone and any necessary authorized medications in safe possession of designated staff?  Processes for making sure all children accounted for at all times and no children are accidentally left in vehicles in place?

Special Activities: Rock Climbing, rafting, swimming or other special activities in your plans?
Remember to check in with the Rules Regulating Special Activities package that can be found here: 7.719 - Rules Regulating Special Activities In general ensure supervising staff are familiar with these rules, meet minimum requirements and have documentation of their qualifications on file. For example, if swimming is in your plans (pool, river, reservoir, etc.), ensure there is a swimming supervisor who, as a minimum, holds a current Red Cross life guard training certificate or equivalent, (e.g., YMCA or Boy Scout aquatics instructor's certificate). Please note, paintball in which children shoot paintballs at each other is not a permissible activity.
Playground Safety: Making the most of your own outdoor play area? Winter and Spring weather can wreak havoc on play equipment and we all tend to overlook things when we are in the same environment every day. It helps to do a thorough walk through with a safety checklist. Look out for compacted and displaced resilient material, splintering wood, damaged fencing, loose/protruding nails, screws and bolts. Check for and address any toys and equipment with cracks, broken, worn, rusted or missing parts. Routinely check for bee and hornet hives, particularly in eves of buildings. Any type of water play requires close supervision and water needs to be frequently changed. And of course, make sure there is plenty of shade and drinking water to be had these warmest months of the year!
General Awareness of Our Furry Friends: It is not that unusual to encounter wildlife in our adventures. Be aware of your surroundings and your plans if an encounter occurs. In recent times, bears, a rabid raccoon, a mountain lion and moose sightings near or in programs’ outdoor play areas have resulted in reverse evacuations and shelter in place actions in our region. Out and about? Know how to react to different furry friends! Bear = Stay calm and make yourselves big (raise your arms above your head/stay in a group/make noise) and slowly walk away, from direction you came if possible; Moose = Keep your distance and hide behind something large (tree, boulder) if charged; Mountain Lion = Stay calm and make yourselves big, make loud noises and (if it approaches you) throw rocks. Avoid eye contact, crouching down low or moving towards it. And never, ever attempt to run away (you can’t outrun a mountain lion).
Happy, Silly, Safe Summer! Cheers, Sandy, Mark & Rebecca

Glenwood Trainings
Aspen Family Connection

Sun Safety for Babies 

Did you know sunscreen can be harmful to infants under six months of age? While sunscreen use is highly recommended for children and adults, babies are different. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. Tight weaves are better than loose. Keep in mind that while baseball caps are cute, they don’t shade the neck and ears, sensitive areas for a baby. 

Learn more about the best ways to keep your baby safe from the sun’s harmful rays this summer.

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

Smiles Summit Glenwood

Food Safety in the Summer

Did you know that the incidence of foodborne illness peaks in the summer? There are two main reasons:

  1. Bacteria multiply faster at warmer temperatures. Pathogenic bacteria are naturally occurring in the environment, in the soil, water, food, and in the bodies of people and animals. Most bacteria grow fastest between 90-110°F and in high humidity, conditions which are common in the summer months.
  2. Preparing food outdoors makes handling food safely more difficult. Indoor kitchens provide several safeguards, such as thermostat-controlled refrigeration and convenient access to toilet and hand washing facilities.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe when preparing and eating food outdoors this summer:
  • CLEAN: Washing your hands is the number one way to stay healthy. You can create a temporary hand washing station for around $20 by purchasing a water container with a hands-free spigot, soap, and paper towels from any grocery store.
  • SEPARATE: Prevent cross-contamination between raw meats and finished products. Use clean tongs, spatulas, and cutting boards for raw and cooked items.
  • COOK: Cook foods all the way through, especially for young children.
  • CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly! It can take less than an hour for food to become unsafe if left outside when it’s 90°F.

Credit: The ‘Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill’ logo and campaign were created by the USDA.
Natalie Tsevdos, MPH
Environmental Health Specialist II
Garfield County Public Health
2014 Blake Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Office: (970) 665-6375
Cell: (970) 366-2330

F: (970) 947-0155Anchor


Food Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a Food Assistance program in Colorado, formerly known as Food Stamps. SNAP provides food assistance benefits as part of a federal nutrition program to help low-income households purchase food. Currently, Pitkin County is significantly        under-enrolled in the SNAP program; meaning that, many individuals and families in Pitkin County who are eligible for assistance are not receiving it. Utilizing these benefits does not “take them away” from other people and are meant to help people provide sufficient and health meals for themselves and their families.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are issued to receive the SNAP benefits for a household. These cards can be used at most grocery stores to buy food with those SNAP benefits, ensuring that families have access to a healthy diet. SNAP recipients can purchase breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry and dairy products. A little know but interesting fact is that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seeds and plants used to produce food the household can eat. Households with children under the age of 6 who receive SNAP benefits are also encouraged to apply for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which multiple services for young children including supplemental foods.

If you would like more information or would like to apply for assistance, please come to the Schultz Health & Human Services building located at: 0405 Castle Creek Road, Aspen, CO 81611. We are located across the street from Aspen Valley Hospital and our hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm. For any questions, please call (970) 920-5244; we have bilingual staff available every day.   
You can also apply for benefits online at: https://coloradopeak.secure.force.com/
Samuel Landercasper
Economic Assistance Manager
Pitkin County Department of Human Services
Email: samuel.landercasper@pitkincounty.com
Office: (970) 429-6167

Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters Summer and Fall Scheduling Open!

Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals (CMCCP) can help! CMCCP is a Colorado Department of Education approved training that awards eight to 10 hours in health, safety, and nutrition. In addition, early care and education programs can earn up to four quality points toward a level 3-5 Colorado Shines rating for offering the course.
CMCCP is now accepting course requests for Summer and Fall 2018.

Reach out today to learn more or to schedule a course in your community!

Alexandra Lee, Program Associate, 303-801-0321 or alee@strength.org

Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals PLUS

Did you know CMCCP can be offered as a series? CMCCP PLUS can be implemented in two, five-hour days or as a five-week series that meets for two hours each week. The PLUS formats offer participants additional hands-on cooking opportunities and award 10 hours in health, safety, and nutrition!

Reach out today to learn more about offering Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals PLUS!

Alexandra Lee, Program Associate, 303-801-0321 or alee@strength.org

Upcoming CMCCP Courses

See a list of upcoming CMCCP courses below and click on the link to register. Please share with early childhood professionals in your network!

  • Friday & Saturday, July 13th &14th, 9am-2pm - Denver (Spanish)
  • Saturday, July 21st & 28th, 9am-3pm - Glenwood Springs*
  • Saturday, August 11th, 9am-5pm - Trinidad

Don't see a course in your region? Reach out today to learn more about bringing CMCCP to your community!

Alexandra Lee, Program Associate, 303-801-0321 or alee@strength.org

*The course in Glenwood Springs is a two-day, combined CMCCP and IMIL course

ELV We Did It
ELV logo

Early Learning Ventures (ELV) is a Colorado-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to quality, affordable child care. ELV is currently serving over 15% of all CCCAP providers in the state through our CORE child management system. CORE pushes attendance for CCCAP children directly to CCCAP’s new ATS – the only child management system that can currently do so. Our entire system, including attendance, is also Colorado state licensing approved, meaning you can have your parents sign-in/out all done in one fell swoop! Reduce your lines and reduce their hassle!

ELV also has an exciting new addition – the creation and implementation of a billing module, free with all the usage of CORE and all of CORE’s other great features. It is a ledger-based system that can create one-time or recurring payments (including late fees, credit card convenience fees, etc.), that can accept all kinds of payments, and that includes a parent portal for your parents to pay at home and track their costs.

We would be more than happy to simply chat with you about your center and see if there is anything we can do to help.

Our account specialist, Michael,  (303) 789-2664 x284 or at mtaylor@earlylearningventures.org


Hello from the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council (RMECC)

We hope this newsletter finds you well! We are looking forward to beginning another successful fiscal year in July. Below you will find some exciting things happening with state funds:
Funding applications are open for Colorado Shines Quality Improvement (CSQI)!
Programs must be at least a Level 2 in Colorado Shines and have an active CCAP agreement in place to apply for and begin receiving CSQI funds.  

Possible Funding:

  • Depending on funding you are eligible for, programs could benefit from ~$2,000-$10,000!!!

  • Level 2-5 programs who serve Infants and/or Toddlers can apply for up to $7,500 in Capital Improvement funds to help build fences, playgrounds, as well as many other projects

 Allowable Expenses:

  • Use funds to work one-on-one with a highly qualified, credentialed coach

  • With coach approval, purchase brand new learning materials to raise program quality

  • Get reimbursed for substitutes

  • Professional Development expenses

 Interested in pursuing your level 2 in Colorado Shines?

If you need help getting started please call or e-mail with the information below. Or if you are interested, but are unable to work towards your Level 2 due to a hardship, WE WANT TO KNOW about it, please call or e-mail us!

Kristin Sparkman                                                      Stacy Petty
Early Childhood Specialist                                        RMECC Coordinator 
rmeccspecialist@mtnvalley.org                                rmecc@mtnvalley.org
719-293-2378                                                               719-486-7273

Powered by CivicSend - A product of CivicPlus