Thursday, March 12, 2015

Summer Kindergarten Bridge Program - June 15 through July 2

Summer Kindergarten Bridge Program
June 15 through July 2
8:00 am - 11:30 am
Located at each elementary school in the county
Now accepting enrollments for the annual Kindergarten Bridge Program. This 3-week summer program is free, and designed to help your child "cross the bridge to kindergarten." For all children who may attend kindergarten in the Fall of 2015, and could benefit from a summer transition program. Children who have not attended preschool will be given preference. Priority enrollment deadline is May 8. For more information, please call First 5 Amador at 257-1092, or visit: for enrollment forms.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Local Online Public School Opens Enrollment, Offers Innovative Education Option for Families

California Connections Academy @ Ripon, which serves students in grades K-12 throughout  Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties, is now accepting new students for the 2015-2016 school year.
Virtual schools, like California Connnections Academy, provide a high quality and flexible option for students, and with Digital Learning Day right around the corner on March 13, I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight how technology and education can coverage.
While each family has its own reasons for choosing full-time virtual schools, the most common driver is the ability for a student to work at his own pace and level, regardless of what other students are doing. This option can work well for many different kinds of students -- whether they’re ahead or behind their peers, have learning challenges, are pursuing athletics or a host of other circumstances. Students have the expanded opportunities including the ability to up the diversity and challenge of coursework, with more AP, foreign languages and unique elective offerings.
Would you be interested in speaking with a local family or educator to learn more about what virtual education entails? Let me know what you’d like to set up, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Annie Drury
For California Connections Academy
California Connections Academy @ Ripon Opens Enrollment for the 2015-2016 School Year - Virtual Public School Currently Enrolling, Hosting Information Sessions for Families Interested in Online Education
Ripon, Calif. (March 10, 2015) – California Connections Academy @ Ripon, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K-12, is now enrolling students for the 2015-2016 school year.
California Connections Academy @ Ripon brings a high-quality curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards and state-credentialed teachers digitally into the homes of students throughout Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties. The school is now hosting free family information sessions—both online and in-person—with Connections Academy educators and staff to fulfill the growing number of requests for information.
The school serves a diverse student body of approximately 700 students. Students thriving with online school include national champion ice skaters, aspiring programmers and engineers, and a young philanthropist raising money for noble causes and enhancing his community through theatrical performances, among many others.
Students receive individualized attention and have access to unique offerings such as many foreign languages, digital technology and career technical courses, UC “a-g” approved science wet labs, and honors and AP courses. Socialization opportunities include numerous field trips and National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society led community service opportunities, and the school offers a broad assortment of online clubs, ranging from robotics and gaming to poetry and art, among others.
"Our innovative education model leverages technology to allow us to adapt curriculum in real time and further individualize instruction to each student’s learning style,” said Amy Hunt, site administrator at California Connections Academy @ Ripon. “Students also have increased access to diverse coursework and the flexibility to learn at their own pace, ultimately setting them up to do their personal academic best.”
According to California Connections Academy’s 2014 Parent Satisfaction Survey Results, 93 percent of parents agree that the school’s technology tools improve their child's learning experience, and 96 percent of parents agree that the curriculum is high quality and are satisfied with teachers’ helpfulness.
At information sessions, families can explore the school program and curriculum, as well as connect with teachers and staff who will discuss the school’s approach to education and answer questions about the enrollment process, among other topics. For a complete schedule with dates and locations, visit  
To begin the enrollment process and learn more, visit the school’s website.
About California Connections Academy @ Ripon

California Connections Academy @ Ripon is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable virtual public school serving students in grades K-12 in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties. California Connections Academy is fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The school opened in 2012 and is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District. California Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of state-credentialed teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, technology tools and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit the school’s website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First 5 Amador - March 2015

Header 2011
Investing in Our Youngest Children 
Healthy Social, Emotional & Physical Development 
Early Learning * Quality Care * Family Support
March 2015
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Grief and Loss Group for parents who have lost a pregnancy or infant.
Wednesday, Mar. 18  

Kick Off to Kindergarten
Jackson - Feb. 24
Plymouth (6:15-7:15pm) - Feb. 26
Pine Grove - Mar. 3
Ione - Mar. 5
Sutter Creek - Mar. 10
Pioneer - Mar. 12 

Saturday, Mar. 28, 10:00-noon
Call 257-1092 to save your spot. 

Behavior Strategies in the Home
Tuesday, Mar. 31st
975 Broadway, Jackson

Children's Story Time
Amador County Library
Wednesdays, 10:30am,  
Jackson Library 

1st, 3rd & 5th Mondays: CamancheLake Community Center
2nd & 4th Mondays: PlymouthPentacostal Church
Tuesdays: Kennedy Meadow Apartments, Jackson
Wednesdays: Ione Memorial Hall 
Thursdays: Upcountry Community Center, Pine Grove 

For other events, please visit our Calendar.  
For a list of community 
resources, please visit ourResources Page
  Baby Basics   
Did You Know?

Did you know about First 5 Amador's Baby Basics program? This program collects items such as diapers, baby wipes, baby food, & baby products (shampoo, wash, lotion) for infants and toddlers in Amador County.  (Please note, all items must be new and in their original packaging.)

Collection boxes are placed at multiple locations throughout the county.  We are happy to announce that the Katharine Drexel Center in Martell is our newest location. Other locations include the First 5 Amador Office and Faith Lutheran Church - Pioneer. If your business or organization would like to provide a collection box at your location, please give us a call, 257-1092.
All donated items will be distributed to families through the following agencies/locations:
-Interfaith Food Bank
-ATCAA's Homeless Shelter
-The Pregnancy Help Center
-Operation Care's Domestic Violence Shelter

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                                                Volume 52     
News & Announcements
Play is the Highest form of Research
(According to Albert Einstein anyway...)       

10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play
by Laurel Bongiorno

1.  Children learn through their play.
Don't underestimate the value of play. Children learn and develop:
*cognitive skills - like math & problem solving in a pretend grocery store  
*physical abilities - like balancing blocks and running on the playground  
*new vocabulary - like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs *social skills - like playing together in a pretend car wash
*literacy skills - like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant

2. Play is healthy.
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today.     

3. Play reduces stress.
Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.     

4. Play is more than meets the eye.
Play is simple and complex.  There are many types of play: symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules--to name just a few. Researchers study play's many aspects:  how children learn through play, how outdoor play impacts children's health, the effects of screen time on play, to the need for recess in the school day.     

5. Make time for play. 
As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children's learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.         

6. Play and learning go hand-in-hand. 
They are not separate  activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child's lab.     

7. Play outside. 
Remember your own outdoor experiences of building forts, playing on the beach, sledding in the winter, or playing with other children in the neighborhood. Make sure your children create outdoor memories too.

8. There's a lot to learn about play.
There's a lot written on children and play. Here are some NAEYC articles and books about play. David Elkind's The Power of Play (Da Capo, 2007 reprint) is also a great resource.     

9. Trust your own playful instincts.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Give your children time for play and see all that they are capable of when given the opportunity.     

10. Play is a child's context for learning. 
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and  make out checks.  Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children's success and self-esteem.

Learn more about Laurel Bongiorno, PhD, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children - Promoting Excellence in Early Childhood Education
Program Spotlight
Toddler Playgroups!

Toddler Playgroups
The Mobile Outreach - Toddler Playgroup program consists of weekly "playgroups" in four locations throughout Amador County.
The program was designed to provide services in multiple  areas of the county. Each playgroup consists of a mobile-classroom with age-appropriate activities, child development information, and resources for parents. Two different First 5 grantees - Natalie Ostergaard, and Nexus Youth and Family Services - provide the equipment, materials and expertise.
Playgroups are open to all stay at home children 0-5 and their caregiver, grandparent, mom or dad & licensed caregivers. Playgroups follow the Amador County Unified School District's Calendar.  

All Playgroups run from 9:30-11:30am on the following weekdays at the given locations:

Mondays - Camanche & Plymouth
1st, 3rd, & 5th Mondays:  
Camanche Lake Community Center, 4419 North Camanche Parkway, Unit #2 
2nd & 4th Mondays: 
Plymouth Pentecostal Church , 18519 Poplar Street, Plymouth    

Tuesdays - Jackson
Kennedy Meadow Apartments, 701 New York Ranch Road  

Wednesdays - Ione 
Memorial Hall, 207 South Amador Street   

Thursdays - Pine Grove 
Upcountry Community Center , 19386 Highway 88

Forward to a Friend
First 5 Amador supports and designs programs for 
children 0-5 years old and their families.
For more information please visit our website:
or call us at (209) 257-1092

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As a parent, you are your child's first & most important teacher!
Save money on books for your children--get them for free!  Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book a month from the Imagination Library.  This is a free program, available to all Amador County children 0-4 (from birth until their fifth birthday). 
All you have to do is read to your child! 
For more information click here.