Early Childhood News July 2019
Hands and feet in in grrass

Get Outside! 

Coaching Corner with
Megan Monaghan and Adley Kent

Now that the weather is finally turning to summer you will most likely be spending more time outside. It is important to remember that the outdoors can provide essential learning experiences for children. Outside time can be a chance for you to engage with your students in a new setting, extend a classroom theme or enrich and facilitate play. Spending time outdoors also provides an opportunity for children to develop a positive and personal relationship with nature.

Supervision and zoning are critical for outdoor settings to remain safe. Be sure to divide outdoor responsibilities between teachers.

Here are some ideas for how to enrich outdoor play this summer –
  • Art with Nature On a walk gather some of the following items to bring back to your classroom to create with. Set up a nature art station on the playground.
  • Painting - Cattails, blowing through reeds, dandelion heads, bound group of grass or plant clippings
  • Weaving - Wooden gates or fences, wagon wheel, place mats made of natural materials, driftwood with holes
  • Rolling - Sticks, lemons, limes, oranges, buckeyes, gourds, cucumbers
  • Stenciling - Tiles, sea shells, cross-sections of bamboo
  • Stamping - Tree cookies, flower heads, star fruit
Create an outside box put items together in a box to bring outside. See ITERS/ECERS outside list. Think of items that children may be interested in playing with but don’t have the time to since so much of your day is spent outdoors. Ask the children what items they would like to see added to your outdoor play area.

ITERS/ECERS Outside Materials
How can you be outside for long periods of time and still meet substantial portion of the day for ITERS and ECERS? Bring a box of materials out with you! Not only will you have more time in nature, the kids will still get to explore all the great materials that you have to offer, OUTSIDE!

Ingredients for ECERS Box: Ages 3-5
  • 10 blocks
  • 3 people
  • 3 cars
  • 3 animals
  • 7 books (fantasy, nature/science, factual, race/culture
  • people, abilities, animals)
  • 3 musical instruments
  • Lincoln logs, Legos, unifix-cubes
  • Crayons, scissors, hole punchers
  • Peg boards, sewing cards, puzzles
  • Paper, markers, water colors
  • Scarves and hats for dress up
  • Do a nature and science activity outside
  • Create a cozy space for kids outside
Ingredients for ITERS Box: Ages 0-3
  • 10 blocks
  • 3 people
  • 3 cars
  • 3 animals
  • 6 books (race/culture, abilities, nature/science
  • animals, familiar routines, familiar objects)
  • 3 musical instruments
  • Infants: small toys, nesting cups
  • Toddlers: stringing beads, puzzles (look out for choke-ables)
  • Paper, water colors, big crayons, sidewalk chalk (look out for choke-ables)
  • Scarves and hats for dress up
  • Do a nature and science activity outside
  • Create a cozy space for kids outside

Pack a Backpack – Pack a backpack with the following items to take on field trips with you:
Dress-up items for a “gazebo play”
Magnifying lenses
Cones and a soccer ball
Paper for imprinting
  • Imprinting is when you place the paper over an object and color the paper
Materials to make a book
  • Sticks for binding, string, hole punch and items from nature to paint or stamp with
Paint for rock art
  • Watercolor paint is a great option because it is easy to carry and will wash off easy
Spray bottles with water
Sidewalk chalk
Paper for paper airplanes
Test tubes for sample collecting
Materials to make fishing rods
  • A stick, string, and bead/cork make a great pretend fishing rod

Remember to play with the children when outdoors. Plan special activities for the day and have fun!

Early Childhood News

A few highlights of our accomplishments in fiscal year ‘19

12 wonderful programs benefited from Capital Improvement funds!

  • 8 were Child Care Centers, and 4 were Home Providers.
  • This funding allowed programs to enhance the quality of their program and expand the number of available infant/toddler slots.
  • Over $86,000 was put towards CI projects!
  • Projects included:
    • Updating/replacing windows, fences, doors, flooring, heating/insulation, playground/surfacing, and a small bathroom remodel.
    • Two centers were able to purchase new materials in order to open new toddler rooms!
66 programs are participating in Colorado Shines Quality Improvement (CSQI) throughout our four county region.
  • This year CSQI reached a grand total of $171,170.
  • Funding supports Coaching, Quality Improvement, and Professional Development.
  • Currently, 63% of our programs have obtained a Level 2-5 Colorado Shines rating
  • 2/3 of our programs accept CCAP. 
$36,000 of additional funding was allocated to support Professional Development across the region thanks to a one-time award from the Joint Budget Committee.
  • 49 providers and 17 organizations benefitted from this funding!
  • The Council was able to help pay for expenses related to:
    • CMC Coursework, the cost of the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, support for trainers in our region, 2 regional FLIP-it trainings, and support for our regional coaches and ongoing requirements for coaching credentials.
4 Expanding Quality for Infant and Toddlers classes we completed in the region.
Funding from the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, allowed us to support coursework, coaching and assessments in programs.
  • Examples include: Dinosaur School, Teacher Classroom Management, Pyramid, CLASS tools, and the Program and Business Administration tools.
83 provider updates were completed this year for Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R).
  • Thank you for your help and support with these updates.
  • Please reach out to us when changes occur.
  • Also, let us know if you have any vacant teacher, or child slots and we will help spread the word!

A new website is under development for the Council.  Please keep your eyes out for our “newly remodeled” RMECC website which will be unveiled sometime this summer!  

For more information on any of the funding listed above or how you can participate, please contact us!

Stacy Petty, Council Coordinator
Kristin Sparkman, Early Childhood Specialist

Carrie Tippet
Early Childhood Network

Let us introduce you to the Expanding Quality in Infant and Toddler Course (EQIT). 
We have attached flyers of the upcoming courses available in Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield Counties for the 2019-2020 school year.
The primary goal of this 48-hour course is to strengthen the quality and increase the availability of responsive care for infants and toddlers throughout Colorado.  The course is designed for those working with infants and toddlers to increase your knowledge and skills. Through this course you will learn more about the importance of brain development, guidance strategies, social/emotional, physical, language and cognitive development and strategies to effectively work with families and those of different cultural backgrounds.
In our valley, EQIT has been taught at least twice a year, since 1999, and now we are offering the course in Spanish as well as English. Typically, this course is offered for credit as ECE111 as well as available to take without receiving college credit.  Whether it is taken for credit or not, successful completion of the course meets one the requirements towards becoming an assistant teacher, lead teacher, center director and specialized family child care licenses.
So that is EQIT in a nutshell.  If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your local instructors as listed on the flyers attached in this newsletter!
The ECN Staff

Eagle County Schools
Happy child jumping


The Eagle County Schools Early Childhood Department continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

Here are just some of the accomplishments our team has reached throughout the years:  

  • In 2009, we had six programs, with 16 classrooms serving about 205 children, and as of 2018, we have 10 sites with 27 classrooms serving over 350 children.
  • In 2009, we had 2.75 Family Service Team Members and now we have four full-time, year round Family Service Coordinators.
  • in 2009, our Health Manager also served as a Family Service Coordinator and Manager. Now we have a full-time person dedicated to Health, Safety and Assessment.
  • In 2009, we had only one Certified Teacher per site who served as both ECE Certified and ECSE, and now we have 14 Certified Teachers or 1.5 per site, not counting our community program.
  • In 2009,  we had one administrative position that served as registrar/office manager/ Secretary, and now we have a full-time Registrar, full-time Office Manager and full-time Secretary.
  • In 2009, we had about 31 non-certified ECE Teaching Assistants and/or Preschool Specialists, and now we have approximately 71. 
  • In 2009, we began working on Math instruction, and went from a low of 68% kiddos being at or above expectations to 73% this year.
  • In 2010, all ECE Teaching staff attended Pre-Service Training.
  • In 2011, we established ECE Committees.
  • In 2011, we implemented the Co-Teaching Model.
  • In 2013, we added the Toddler room to June Creek Elementary School in Edwards.
  •  In 2015, we began the implementation of the Dual Language Model. 
  • In 2017 we added Extended day and Extended Year Programs to all nine of our sites.
  • For the 2019-20 school year, we are adding classrooms at both Red Sandstone Elementary School in Vail and Gypsum Elementary School in Gypsum.

Children learning letters
Eagle County
Children at the water table

Eagle County Schools Preschool Plus Program

Since Eagle County community members passed the tax 3A initiative in November 2016, the Eagle County Schools Early Childhood Department has been able to provide year round programming for up to 135 of our families and children.  We currently operate one classroom during our spring breaks and throughout the summer break for all of our 9 elementary school sites.  We are currently enrolling children who would like to start this Summer and continue in our Preschool program in the Fall.
Throughout our preschool plus programming we continue to embed pre-academic skills in a play based environment. We believe that children learn best thought play, so our learning environment offers a variety of activities, materials and experiences to promote each child's learning and development.  We strive to create a balance between a child's self-initiated spontaneous learning and teacher planned structured activities and projects.

We provide opportunities for children to engage in hands on active learning that is intellectually engaging, socially relevant, and personally meaningful to children. A balance of rest and active movement is included in the daily schedule.  All activities are designed to foster self-esteem, self-control and independence.
For more information on this program, please feel free to contact Jody Ejnes, ECS Early Childhood Operations Coordinator, at 970-328-3947.


Children with Medications
Robin Strecker RN, Child Care Health Consultant, Kids First

Medications such as Epi pens, inhalers, Benadryl, antibiotics, eye drops, creams to treat rashes and skin conditions are just some of the medications that are seen in child care classrooms.  Here is a list of what programs and staff need to have in place in order for medication to be safely administered. 

  • Physician order and parent permission for staff to administer medication-renewed annually.
  • Medication in original labeled container with the student’s name on prescription label or handwritten name on non-prescription medications.
  • Designated staff who are trained and delegated to (by program’s current Child Care Health Consultant- RN, nurse practitioner or pediatrician) through department approved medication administration training. Delegation needs to happen annually or more frequently as health consultant determines.   
  • Lotions and creams should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin unless there is a physician order to do so. 
  • Home remedies and homeopathic medications shall not be given by trained staff.
  • Medication should be stored inaccessible to children.
  • Emergency medications (such as epi pens, inhalers and seizure medications) should also be inaccessible to children but easily accessible to trained staff so they have them available in an emergency.  Emergency meds go wherever the child goes, in a secure bag that the staff member carries when they leave the classroom.
  • Each program must have a policy on storage of emergency medications that is reviewed with their health consultant. 
  • Documentation of medications administered and disposed of is a must!
  • Disposal of expired or unused medications should be given directly back to child’s parent or if necessary, dropped off at local Drug Take Back Day, do not dispose of down toilet or sink.

This list is in accordance with Licensing Rules 7.702.52.C

Garfield County

Licensing Corner

Happy finally summer! As you dry out and get back outdoors more it is easy to succumb to vitamin D endorphins and jump right into the fun, as you and your kiddos should. It is also easy to overlook wear and tear that occurred in our outdoor play areas during our snowier, wetter months. As a result, this the perfect time to do a detailed safety inspection of outdoor areas before you get out there with the kids.
Some safety concerns are pretty obvious but other maybe not so much. Check to see if:

  • There is anything broken that needs to be repaired or removed (e.g., cracked toys or equipment; trikes with missing peddles; handle bar grips missing or cracked exposing metal ends; furnishings; swing seats/chains; play vehicles with missing tires; etc.)
  • Wood surfaces are splintering and need sanding
  • Resilient material is in need of being fluffed, added to or replaced
  • Any nails, bolts or stakes (frequently used to secure resilient material retainers) are protruding and need to be addressed to prevent flesh wounds, impaling or tripping
  • There are spaces between top of slides and slide platforms in which clothing can get caught (e.g., hoods, drawstrings)
  • Fences, gates and accessible water gutters/drains are in good repair (e.g., no sharp or rough edges, unintended gaps, etc.)
  • There are areas in which stagnant water has pooled or is pooling that need to be addressed to prevent a mosquito, parasite and bacterial breeding zone (though this could count as science!) and potential drowning hazard (i.e., any amount of water that can cover mouth and nose)
  • There have been any changes to how shade is provided (e.g., tears in shade structures, removal of trees or tree branches) and how that might change hotspots you keep an eye on to prevent accidental burns (i.e., hot slides and concrete) or if shade requirement is still met
  • Any playground equipment has been added or moved, use zone requirements are still in place

When you are routinely in an environment, it can take another set of eyes to see these things; however, initial awareness and on-going reflective practice can go along way too. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does include things we see while we are out and about. If you would like a more detailed checklist to do your own inspection, feel free to contact your licensing specialist.
Getting this out of the way before you play can help to ensure a fun, healthy and safe summer for everyone. Here is to soaking it all in to your heart’s content until next time! So appreciate everything you do.

Rebecca, Mark & Sandy

Learning Opportunities
Aspen EQIT infomraton flyer
EQIT in spanish infomration flyer
Garfield trainings
Aspen Training

Incredible Years Parenting Class -- TUESDAY NIGHTS

Incredible Years

Incredible Years Parenting Class -- WEDNESDAY NIGHTS

Incredible years
Teaching Class Management
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