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Ella Jenkins

November  2018 newsletter

Greetings, pozdravi, groeten, salutations, Schöne Grüße, saluti, Pozdrowienia, saludos!

I remember hearing Ella Jenkins speak and sing at a NAEYC conference as early as 1995 or so; I remember thinking she was pretty old, but had a lot of energy. Come to find out Ella Jenkins is still speaking and singing – including at the 2018 NAEYC conference. I also figured out that she is now 93 years old! And she’s been speaking and singing for over 50 years!

What I did not fully realize 23 years ago was that she never had any formal training in music, she learned to sing folk music from her Uncle Flood. She uses a traditional call and response method, full of rhythmic patterns, and has sung in English, Arabic, Swahili, French, Spanish, and Hebrew! (I merely googled the translations for the ”greeting” above.) She won a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, and has released her 40th album!

In hindsight, we can see that she was authentically multicultural. She offered ways to increase early literacy skills, phonetic awareness, rhythm, listening, rhyming, and gross motor movement. She was also teaching children how to lead and how to follow a leader, and to experience culture and words that go beyond the culture they are growing up with. “Children may have a difficult time saying phrases in other languages when speaking, but when children sing they catch on real fast and they can pronounce words and phrases more easily.”
She offers some ways to expand learning from her songs:

  • Have children make music or instruments using everyday materials in interesting ways: put rubber bands around empty tissue boxes (play like a guitar) or add pebbles to plastic water bottles or paper towel tubes and seal tightly (play like a maraca). They can play the instruments while they sing along! Children can take their instruments home and teach call-and-response to family members—the children become the leaders performing the “calling.”
  • “My Name Is Ella” offers a wonderful way for children to play with the letters and sounds in their names. Ella adds a B in front of her name and it becomes Bella. With I-S-A at the beginning, Bella changes to Isabella. Print the letters E-L-L-A, B, and I-S-A on three index cards. Point to the letters as you and the children sing the song. Have children add different letters to their names and talk with them about how their names change. Sing Ella’s songs during transition periods to keep fidgeting and restlessness at bay.
  • Try learning to say hello in another language. People appreciate it if you try to say something in their language, and “hello” is a great way to start.
  • Find members of children’s families who don’t speak English as their home language. Invite them to sing songs, read books, or lead dances from their home cultures with the class.

To learn more or buy one of her albums, start here:

Laughing people


Reasons to Laugh More
September 28, 2018

To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.
-Kahlil Gibran

A Huffington Post blog quotes a number of research studies that outline the powerful health benefits of laughter. Here are six reasons they give for laughing more:
  1. It can help relieve stress
  2. It can help relieve pain
  3. It can help boost your immune system
  4. It can help reduce blood pressure
  5. It can stimulate your mind
  6. It’s a good workout"

Source: “6 Powerful Health Benefits of Laughter,” by Kayla Matthews, The Huffington Post, 1/12/2015

RRECC logo


The Council fiscal year is off to a great start and that includes a lot of great work that is happening in programs across the region!  We currently have 124 licensed programs across the 4 county region and 61 of them are eligible for Colorado Shines Quality Improvement funding.  Of those, 56 are currently participating in coaching and quality improvement activities.  In addition to this, 8 programs have been approved for additional capital improvement funds totaling approximately $60,000 to continue quality improvement efforts and our Council has more approved applications than any other Council in the state.  WOOT WOOT!

If you would like to get in on some of the funds that are still available this fiscal year, please call us to discuss next steps, supports that are available and total funding that you may qualify for through the state.  These funds are available each year to eligible programs.  You will get to work with a credentialed, experienced coach in your area who will help you set goals and work on your quality improvement plan to help showcase the incredible work you do for children every day.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to Stacy or Kristin at the Council for more information.

Stacy Petty, Coordinator                            Kristin Sparkman, Early Childhood Specialist
719-486-7273                                                     719-293-2378
rmecc@mtnvalley.org                                     rmeccspecialist@mtnvalley.org
Visit our website for resources and other information about Colorado Shines, Child Care Resource and Referral and More!


Hand washing image

Changes to Health Department Rules

As the end of the year approaches, we want to make sure that providers are aware of two minor changes to health department rules that will become effective January 1, 2019. These changes apply to preschools, day care centers, camps, guest child care at ski resorts, Headstart, and before & after school programs.

  1. A hand wash is no longer required before EVERY glove change. If no risk of contamination has occurred, employees can change gloves without washing. This only applies to food preparation.
  2. Hand washing reminder signs are required at all handwashing sinks used by employees handling food.

While this doesn’t apply to family child care homes, we still encourage frequent hand washing to keep yourself and the kids in your care healthy. It is estimated that 80% of transmissible diseases can be prevented with good hand washing!

Natalie Tsevdos, MPH, CP-FS
Environmental Health Specialist II
Garfield County Public Health
P: (970) 665-6375

Airplane girl

Coaching Corner with Megan Monaghan and Adley Kent

Executive function and self-regulation skills allow us to plan, focus attention, remember instruction and juggle multiple tasks. 

Executive function and self-regulation skills depend on working memory, mental flexibility and self-control.  Children are not born with these skills but through positive experiences and relationships with adult’s children can build these skills.

Experiences that help build these valuable skills in children allow creative play, social connection and opportunities for the child to direct their own actions with decreased adult supervision. One of the roles of the adult during these activities and experiences is to provide scaffolding for the child. Scaffolding is the ability for the child to practice a skill with support before they must perform it on their own.

Adults can also help children build executive function and self-regulation skills by establishing routines, modeling appropriate social behavior, and maintaining supportive relationships.

Through building healthy brain connections, we can strengthen our executive function and self-regulation skills and help the children strengthen theirs.
Practical activities that build executive function in the early childhood classroom:

  • Lap games - infants or toddlers (peek-a boo, this is the way the farmer rides etc.)
  • Imaginary play
  • Allowing children to make their own props for imaginary play
  • Story telling – both from the teacher and from the child
  • Songs that repeat and add on to earlier sections
  • Song games – finding partners or following along with actions
  • Puzzles with increasing difficulty
  • Matching and sorting activities
  • I Spy games
  • Guessing games

Read this if you are interested in more age specific activities: https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Enhancing-and-Practicing-Executive-Function-Skills-with-Children-from-Infancy-to-Adolescence-1.pdf

Watch this 5 minute video from the Center on the Developing Child from Harvard University for more information on executive function:  https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/video-building-core-capabilities-life/

Information from:
Center on the Developing Child
Harvard University https://developingchild.harvard.edu/  

Family Visitor Program 35 years

Family Visitor Programs Celebrating 35 Years and Over 10,000 Babies Visited!

This October marked the 35th anniversary of Family Visitor Programs providing education and support services for new and expecting parents in the Aspen to Parachute region. Since the founding of Family Visitor Programs in 1983, some things have changed, such as the increase in number and extent of programs and services, but one thing has always remained the same. Our mission to promote healthy families by providing education, advocacy, and supportive services to strengthen and empower local families. Families can choose to enroll in one of the agency’s programs; prenatally or after the child is born. We then visit with the family on a regular basis depending on their needs and the program they choose.  Our visitors focus on topics such as breastfeeding, labor and delivery, child development, childcare, improving parenting skills, and any other topic when the parents have questions or concerns. All of the programs at Family Visitor Programs are voluntary and provided at no cost to our families. It is our goal that every child we visit is healthy and happy and that our parents feel comfortable and confident in achieving that goal.

More information on our programs and services, along with our online enrollment process, can be found on our website: www.familyvisitor.org. We can also be reached by phone at 970-945-1234 X 20 or at our office 401 23rd Street Suite 204, Glenwood Springs CO, 81601 or PO Box 1845 Glenwood Springs CO, 81602. Also, please be sure to like us on Facebook @FamilyVisitorPrograms

River Bridge logo and Bridge to the future

River Bridge Regional Center, where silence ends + healing begins

RBRC has embarked upon the Bridge to Their Futures Campaign. The renovation of an additional property, expansion of programs, and addition to the RBRC operating reserve fund will ensure that all child abuse victims continue to receive services in a safe, confidential, and child-friendly environment. The success of this campaign will also ensure that all sexual assault victims – children and adults – have access to essential medical treatment.
River Bridge Regional Center has reached a critical point where community support is essential, to learn more please visit RiverBridgeRC.org


superman image

How to deal with superhero and/or violent play

        By Deb Bair, Garfield County Childcare Consultant

Most of us working with young children come across this dilemma many times in a day. Do we stop children from playing pretend guns or super heroes? And, if so, how? First, we must look at why some children tend to play this way and what is the purpose of their play.
               Children are exposed to violent themes through the media, toys, and video games. And, violent play tends to increase with violent world events. Children use play to work out what they see and hear, and typically children who seem most obsessed with violent play have been exposed to the most violence. Therefore, they have the greatest need to work it out. Also, bestselling toys, such as action figures, can be highly structured and tend to link play to violent media. Play with these types of toys tend to replicate what is seen on the screen, rather than open-ended toys, which help with creative play. Children also need to feel powerful and in control. Play can be a safe way to achieve this sense of power.
                We tend to have concerns around this type of violent play. This type of play tends to end up with children being out of control, and someone getting hurt. Also, we find that if we ban this type of play, children will deny they are playing with guns (it’s just a fire hose), or try to sneak it where providers can’t detect it. Children have a difficult time accepting limits on their intense desire or need to engage in this type of play. Because this play can be more imitative in nature, rather than creative play, we fear that the children’s play has become very limited. And, we may worry about what the children are learning through this type of play. Children learn through play and what they play affects what they learn.
                So, what should we do? How do we reconcile the child’s need for violent play with our concerns? We know that play is vital to children and through play, they work out their experiences and feelings. To begin with, you can help ensure the safety of all children by involving them in developing rules for both inside and outside play. Encourage children to paint, draw, or tell their stories for you to write down. Take time to observe their violent play and learn what they are trying to work out. Help these children to work out the violent theme and learn the lesson you would like them to learn from the play scenario. Try to understand what they know and what confuses or scares them. And, let them know you are there to help and keep them safe. Remember that children do not understand violence in the same way as adults do. Help them move from the scripted superhero play to more creative play by transforming violence into positive behaviors. You might say, “I saw that Superman did a lot of fighting today, but in real life, you were able to tell your friend what made you mad.” Talking about violence with children is never easy, but it is a very valuable tool to help children get past their need for violent play. And, talk with families about reducing the amount of violent exposure children get at home not just through media, but with toys and video games.

If you would like support with children in your program exhibiting violent play, please give me a call at (970) 945-9191 Ext. 3065 or email me at dbair@garfield-county.com.

Kids First logo
Brain waves in baby's head
Action plan

Emergency Care of a Child with Seizures 

Seizures vary in how they look and feel but all are caused by a sudden surge of electrical energy in the child’s brain.  This leads to sudden changes in how a young child may act, move or feel.  Seizures may last a few seconds or a couple of minutes and then the brain goes back to normal again and the child may not remember what happened. 

For the purpose of this article, I am addressing generalized (formerly called grand mal) tonic-clonic seizures.  During a generalized seizure the child will become stiff and fall to the ground, teeth clench and arms and legs begin to jerk rapidly and rhythmically.

There are many things a person can do to help someone who is having
this type of convulsive seizure activity.

1.Stay calm
2.Ease the child gently to the floor and clear the area around the child of anything that could hurt them.
3.If this activity is occurring in a child with a known seizure disorder, find the seizure action plan and act accordingly.
4.Place something soft under the child’s head (blanket/jacket) to prevent head injury while child is jerking.
5.Turn child on their side to allow any fluid in the mouth to drain away. Do not place anything in the child’s mouth, do not restrain the child’s movements.
6.Note the time a seizure starts and the length of the time it lasts.
7.When the jerking movements stop, let the child rest until full consciousness returns. 
8.Notify the parents.
9.Record the seizure:  note the date, length of time the person was seizing, the type of movements, if there was a trigger that prompted seizure activity and if an aura prior to the seizure was noted. 
When to call 911?

  • If this is the child’s first seizure
  • If the child is injured during the seizure
  • If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
  • or as specified on the seizure action plan

If a student comes to child care with an emergency medication for known seizure activity, contact your health consultant.  The health consultant will work with the family and medical team to create the seizure action plan which indicates when and how to administer the emergency medication while the child is in child care.  Teachers will need to be trained and delegated by the health consultant on how to administer the emergency medication and how to manage the seizure according to the action plan. 
Helping someone during a seizure can be scary, have an action plan in place, review and practice what to do so your program is ready to help when your student is in need.  

Robin Strecker
Nurse Consultant, Kids First


Licensing Corner

Some folks going for Colorado Shines Quality Improvement Grants may be surprised to find out that grant requests require licensing specialist approval. Please know we are happy to review grant requests to help ensure programs will not run into licensing issues resulting from well- intended requests. This is in no way an opportunity for us to say “gotchya!”; rather, it is an opportunity for technical assistance to ensure quality endeavors are rooted in basic licensing standards.  For example, if requesting funds for a climbing structure, does your play area allow for required use zones and required resilient material? If requesting funds for a new fence, will the materials or design unintentionally create safety hazards (e.g., splinters, protruding bolts, sharp wire edges, spaces that allow for entrapment)? Be assured, you sharing that you do not currently have required resilient material or your current fence is wonky during this technical assistance process will not result in an unexpected licensing visit!

This lends well to the question: What information does a program need to report to licensing?

  • When an injury followed by professional medical attention occurs http://coloradoshines.force.com/injury
  • A drug or alcohol related incident involving a staff member or a child
  • Any allegation of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect to a child that results in reporting to a law enforcement, county department of human or social services agency; including when program is making the report for an allegation that may have happened outside the program (e.g., child’s home or other environment that the child may have been in)
  • Any fire responded to by a local fire department; but not fire drills that the fire department does with the program
  • Any major threat to the security of a facility including, but not limited to, a threat to kidnap a child, riots, bomb threats, hostage situations, use of a weapon, or drive by shootings active shooter situation, or lock down, lock out situations
  • A mandatory reportable illness, as required by the Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment, of a child or staff member https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/report-a-disease
  • Any damage to the facility resulting from severe weather, fire, flood, mold or other natural disaster or damage to the facility that prevents the facility from normal operation.
  • Child escapes the facility  or lost child

These types of events do require follow up such as a call and/or visit (For complete list, see General Rules: www.coloradoofficeofearlychildhood.com)
Otherwise, please know that whether you are confused about new background check processes… need clarification about a rule… feel in the dark about a rule change… realize a training expired and it won’t be offered nearby in the next couple of months… would like support with files…have a creative idea you are nervous you will get “dinged for” …please know that we are here as a resource to help sort all things licensing out and we will not come running out to “bust ya!”. Offering technical assistance is part of our role as your licensing specialists – the part that we enjoy the most!

Cheers to a joyous holiday season! Thank you for all that you do!
Rebecca, Sandy & Mark


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