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Finding the Balance 

Here’s the headline we’ve all been seeing lately – “building adult capabilities is necessary to improve child outcomes”. I found a great article and a video that I really want to share with you. There is a great deal of brain science that talks about the development of self-regulation skills, and executive function, even the air traffic controller metaphor; but everyday each one of us deals with the tasks of work, parenting, relationships, and busy lives. Some days go well and some days go out of control in a hurry. It’s complicated, and sometimes we know it’s coming – not enough sleep, not enough time, not eating or exercising like we should; but sometimes it just comes out of nowhere and rocks our world. This website is a wealth of resources, have a great day!
Please take a couple minutes to watch these two videos that talk about child and adult capabilities, and why it’s so important that we build abilities for families and early childhood teachers.

Shirley Ritter
Kids First, Director


WIC logo

Update on WIC Nutrition Program in Pitkin County

Community Health Services (CHS) is partnering with Eagle County Public Health to provide WIC services to Pitkin County residents. As of October 1, WIC services will be provided by Eagle County Public Health instead of Community Health Services.  Community Health Services will continue to provide space in our clinic once a month for WIC appointments in collaboration with Eagle County. With this change, Pitkin County residents enrolled in WIC can receive WIC services at Community Health Services in Aspen or in the Eagle County Community Center in El Jebel. We hope to make this transition as seamless as possible for our Pitkin County residents. If you think you might be eligible for WIC services you can contact Maria Campos at 970-328-7683 in Eagle County Public Health in EL Jebel or call CHS at 920-5420 to find out how to enroll. Current Pitkin County WIC recipients will be notified of the transition at their next appointment at CHS.  

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy food, health referrals and other services free of charge to Colorado families who qualify. WIC’s goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under age 5 healthy. WIC is for all kinds of families: married and single parents, working or not working. If you're a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under 5, you can apply for WIC. 
You can participate in Colorado WIC if you: 

  • Live in Colorado.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding, and/or have a child younger than 5 years.
  • Have a family income less than WIC guidelines.
  • Currently get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps or Medicaid.
  • Have a foster child under age 5.

ECN Logo

ECN’s annual Casino Night fundraiser is almost here….  We are so excited! 

Come enjoy a fun evening with the Early Childhood Network! We will have dinner, drinks, a great silent auction, roulette, craps, Texas hold'em, blackjack, poker, raffle prizes and more!

September 21st
6:00-10:00 pm
815 Cooper St, Glenwood Springs (Morgridge Commons -2nd floor of the library)

Tickets are only $20.00 which includes $10 of gaming chips, food, and a free drink or you can purchase a VIP ticket for $40.00 which includes $20.00 of gambling chips, food, and unlimited drinks! For tickets, go to  or call 970-928-7111.
Early Childhood Network is a non-profit that relies on grant funding, donations and fundraising to enhance the quality, accessibility, and affordability of early childcare. If you are unable to attend and would like to support our work, you can also go to to donate to our organization.
A BIG thank you to Alpine Bank for being our Title Sponsor and to Roosters, the new restaurant at 348 Main St. Carbondale, for donating our dinner!

washing hands

Coaching Corner with Megan Monaghan and Adley Kent 

The beginning of a new school year is an opportunity to start fresh with good habits. Handwashing is one of the most important practices in managing and preventing illness. Colorado Shines also requires these best practices in our classrooms.
When to Wash Hands
Staff and children should scrub hands vigorously for 20 seconds:

  • Upon arrival or re-entry into the classroom
  • Before and after preparing food or eating
  • After using toilet/diapering
  • After coughing or contact with body fluids: runny nose, blood, vomit
  • Before and after shared sand/water and messy play
  • After outside play
  • After handling pets and their waste
  • Before administering medications or first aid
  • After handling garbage or whenever hands are visibly dirty!

How to Wash Hands:

• Turn on warm water (90-110ºF in NC).
• Wet hands with water.
• Apply liquid soap.
• Wash hands for 20 seconds. Rub top and
inside of hands, under nails and between fingers.
• Rinse hands with water.
• Dry hands with disposable paper towel.
• Turn off the water using paper towel.
• Throw paper towel into a lined trash container.

How to wash hands for very young infants unable to support their heads
Wash the infant’s hands with the three-towel method:
prepare ahead:

1. Dampened and soapy towel for washing infant’s hands
2. Dampened towel with water for rinsing infant’s hands
3. Dry towel for drying infant’s hands
How to wash hands of young infants who can support their heads but not stand
at the sink

• Carry infant to sink.
• Hold infant at the sink and wash infant’s hands.
Caution! Do not push the infant’s tummy into the sink.
Back Aid Place your foot on a 12” stool to lift your leg. Rest the infant on your knee at the sink.
Older Infants who can stand at the sink

• First wash your hands.
• Then assist the infant following hand-washing steps.
Start the year off right by posting handwashing steps in your bathrooms and by your sinks. Educate your families on the importance of handwashing and let them know you expect them to wash their child’s and their own hands upon entering the classroom to minimize the spread of contagious illnesses.

Information from:
North Carolina Child Care Health & Safety Resource Center


Licensing Corner

Greetings and Salutations to all
We would like to start off this licensing corner news with a heartfelt thank you for each and every one of you out there providing care to all those precious little ones.  You are the axis upon how our world turns. As we think about it, the opportunity that you have as the participant in the development of this wonderful little human is astounding. Take a moment and ponder the astronomical odds that this little one has come to you. In all the world this little one is unique.  There is nobody like them and there will be no one else like them to come.  For this one brief moment in time you get to touch that life.  What will that encounter be?  I know that sounds very heavy but you could be the change in this little one’s life that is the spark that ignites a change in the world.  Be the spark….. Pass it on.
           Speaking of change, here it is Fall.  The time for school gearing up, children excited (or not) to see what is new in their world of education.  For many of you, there are new little ones to your facility, new families to get to know and many returning families that have grown.  This can at times create a landslide of paperwork in the admission or re-admission process. 

          First of all make sure all the returning parents’ information is up to date.  Are they still at the same employer, have they changed addresses, have their emergency contacts changed or has your policy and procedures changed where they need to be updated?  Have them resign all the authorizations for emergency medical treatment, the policy and procedures, field trip, sunscreen, media exposure, photo releases, exclusions from activity, and special activities.  Of course gather the annually required medical information for the children’s files.
           For the “new to you” families, they have all the same requirements plus that exciting moment of the adventure of getting to know a new little one and their world. 
          You and your staff also need to update files and trainings.  As the director/owner/provider you have to check for the proper credential/certifications and required training hours for the year.  Ensure the annual trainings for child abuse, standard precautions, CPR/First Aid, current delegations for medications, safety trainings, head trauma and safe sleep and of course the immunization training when expiration dates roll around.
          If you have new staff remember to document the trainings that are to be done “prior” to working with children such as the orientation with policy and procedures, FEMA, building safety, head trauma, safe sleep, emergency preparedness for your building, fire extinguisher and fire alarm training, standard precautions, child abuse reporting and recognition/prevention and familiarizing themselves with the rules and regulations overseeing your facility from state licensing. 

Do not forget that staff new and old must have medical evaluations that are current. 

Most of the required trainings can be done free of charge through the PDIS system.  Here is the web site.

With settling in and going forward we here at licensing are always here to support and guide as you progress through your year. Please do not hesitate to contact us.  We will commit to also being the spark for you.

Mark, Sandy & Rebecca

Muddy Feet
Kids in bucket
Aspen Mountain Tots logo

Aspen Mountain Tots and Mud Day

Think back to your own childhood.  Do you have happy memories of playing outside in the mud and the dirt?  After all, making mud pies is one of the iconic images of childhood.  On June 29th the children at Aspen Mountain Tots celebrated International Mud Day. We offered buckets of dirt, running water, a mud kitchen, gardening gloves, kitchen tools, wooden mallet mashers, and then stepped back to watch memories form.

We believe we are creating the experiences, the memories and the childhoods of today's children and tomorrow’s leaders. We want them to know the freedom of running barefoot in the grass, how high they climbed that tree, the mud river they created flowing through the playground, the veggies they ate from the garden, afternoon naps outside, the slow gentle rocking of a hammock in the shade. Mostly the laughter and the joys of early childhood. This is summer! 

Early Childhood Council

Avoid Spreading Back to School Bugs!

Going back to school is an exciting time for kids, but germs like Norovirus may also be looking forward to getting back in the classroom. Norovirus, the germ responsible for the “stomach bug,” is highly contagious and spreads rapidly in child care and school settings due to the sharing of toys, school supplies, and close quarters. It is estimated that children just starting school will experience 4-6 illnesses per year. These are the top three ways to prevent common illnesses from spreading:

  • Exclude sick employees and children.
  • Let sick individuals return only after they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours or with their doctor’s permission.
  • Wash hands often and make it fun! Find a song that kids like and play it for at least 30 seconds while they wash their hands vigorously with soap and warm water.

 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) 947-0155

CMC schedule
Child on slide
Kids First logo

Injury Prevention
By Robin Strecker RN

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and disability among children nationally. Outdoor play is responsible for a large portion of injuries and deaths to young children.  The Colorado Office of Early Childhood states that 64% of reported injuries occurring in licensed child care are sustained through falls, and 61% of those falls occur outdoors, according to injury reports submitted from 6/1/2014 to 10/22/2015.
Active adult supervision is the most important way to help avoid preventable injuries.  Active supervision is more than just watching children, it requires focused attention and intentional observation of children at all times.  Here are strategies to implement active supervision:

  1. Check the environment, is it developmentally and age appropriate, and checked daily for safety with no blind spots?
  2. Position staff on the playground so all areas and children can be seen, maintain ratios, make the playground a no cell phone and no chatting zone.
  3. Scan and count children frequently.
  4. Listen for sounds or absence of sounds.
  5. Anticipate children’s behavior – know their individual interests and skill levels.
  6. Engage and redirect – offer children support when they are unable to problem-solve on their own.

Kids are more active outdoors then inside, and need to be watched closely. Additional ways to improve outdoor safety and reduce unintentional injuries include: provide a safe play surface, inspect outdoor play areas daily, teach children how to play safely, involve them in making rules for playground behavior and enforce these rules consistently.
Take some time to review how your program practices active supervision and monitoring and how you can improve this area of injury prevention in your program. 

Kids First training
Leslie award
garfield county

The Dos and Don’ts of Having Pets
in Your Program

          From time to time, we all ponder whether to get a pet for our early childhood environment. It has long been known that pets help young children learn to care for others, increase their ability to empathize, as well as teach them responsibility. But what pet to get? There are several considerations before choosing. First, make sure you are comfortable with the animal and their specific care. Second, carefully examine the intended educational and developmental outcomes, and how the pet will be included in your day. Third, be mindful of the financial responsibilities as well as space for the pet. Because a pet needs natural light, heat, and privacy, you should establish a specific place. Make sure you can easily view the children’s interaction with the pet. And lastly, you need to prepare for the end of the pet’s life and how to discuss the pet’s death with the children.

           Fish are by far the most common pet found in a program. Studies have found that watching fish can reduce blood pressure and ease anxiety (thus, they are found in doctor and dentist offices). Other animals include guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice. Dogs and cats are permissible given they are    non-aggressive, in good health, any allergies are accounted for and current vaccinations records are on file, on –site (even when just visiting).  

           In centers, animals to avoid include pets that carry salmonella, such as reptiles, amphibians, poultry, or snakes. Also, avoid spiders, ferrets, chicks, ducklings and psittacine birds. Psittacine birds”, means all birds commonly known as parrots, cockatoos, cockatiels, macaws, parakeets, lovebirds, lories or lorikeets, and other birds of the order psittaciforme, may also be called hookbills because the upper beak is turned downward. In family child care homes you can have psittacine birds as family pets but not a program pet. “They need to be housed in a place that is inaccessible to the children under your care." Animals other than non-aggressive fish are prohibited in infant programs (NO Piranhas please, LOL!). While this does limit your choices, it helps to keep the children safe and healthy.

          In conclusion, pets can be a wonderful addition to a home or center. They offer many benefits to the children as well as the adults. However, many types of animals are prohibited because of health and safety concerns, so please consult licensing and/or public health rules and regulations.

 Deb Bair, Childcare Consultant for Garfield County DHS Child Care Program

For more information on this topic or other topics, feel free to contact me:
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