Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Grand Reopening of the Amador County Library Plymouth Branch - Fri Feb 9

The public is invited to the Plymouth Branch Grand Opening on Friday, February 9 from 4-6pm at their new location 9369 Main St.

Refreshments will be provided and enjoy some awesome music by local favorite Adam Gottstein. 

Any questions please call us at Jackson 209-223-6400 or Plymouth 209-245-6476

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Preschool Developmental Screenings - Tues Feb 13

Preschool Developmental Screenings
Tuesday, February 13
12:30 - 3:30 pm
First 5 Amador
975 Broadway, Jackson
For 3, 4, and 5 year-old children with developmental and/or social-emotional (behavior) concerns. This free screening day is offered through a partnership between First 5 Amador, the Amador County Unified School District, and Office of Education. Spaces fill up quickly, so to register for an appointment, please call First 5 Amador at 257-1092.

Friday, January 19, 2018

First 5 Amador - Jan 2018

As a parent, you are your child's first and most important teacher!
Ready ... Set ... Grow!
January 2018
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Upcoming Events

At each elementary school, 6:00-7:00pm
Jackson - Feb. 8
Pine Grove - Feb. 15
Pioneer - Feb. 20
Plymouth - Feb. 22
Sutter Creek - Feb. 27 
Ione - Mar. 6

What Everyone Should Know About Mental Health
Tuesday and Wednesday, January 24 & 25 in 
three different locations in the county, please see flyer for 
all the information.

This month Dad and Me will be at Boston Alley Fitness in Sutter Creek. Saturday, January 27, 10:00am - 12:00pm. 
RSVP to save your spot! (209) 257-1092.

Developmental Screenings
Tuesday, February 13, 12:30-3:30pm
Please call to sign up for a time slot, (209) 257-1092.

Save the Dates:

Loss, Trauma and Young Children
For Child Care Providers
February 24, 9:00am - 2:30pm
RSVP at (209) 754-1075

ACES/Trauma Informed Care/Resiliency
More details coming soon! For questions call (209) 257-1092.

Ongoing Events:

Grandparent Cafe
Second Wednesday of each month.
Call for location, 223-1624, x204.
Third Wednesday each month, 6:00-7:30pm. 
Call 256-3691 or 257-1092 for more information. 

All Playgroups run from 9:30-11:30am on the following weekdays at the given locations:
Mondays - Camanche 
Tuesdays - Jackson  
First 5 Amador , 975 Broadway
Wednesdays - Ione

Are You Ready for Kindergarten?
What!? Already!?

It's only January, but all of us here at First 5 and all of our local elementary schools are already getting ready for all the new Kindergartners who will be starting school in August!
The following is an article by Scholastic on the importance of helping your child be ready for this very big transition in their life. What does it mean to be "ready for kindergarten" these days? We think you might be surprised in a very good way!

If your child's preschool years are coming to an end, your thoughts are probably turning toward kindergarten. But is your child ready to move on to the "big" school? What skills do kindergarten teachers expect their new students to have? To help answer those questions (and ease your mind), we've asked highly regarded kindergarten teachers from around the country to share their insights on helping your child gain the right mix of kindergarten-readiness skills.

The skill sets they are looking for might surprise you. Because of the national focus on improving education and meeting standards, you might think that it's most important for children to enter kindergarten knowing their ABCs, numbers, shapes, and colors so they can keep up with the curriculum. While teachers would love children to come in with some letter and number recognition, they don't want you to drill your kids on academic skills. There are equally - if not more - important readiness skills that set the stage for your child's learning. Raising an eager learner is the goal, and it can be achieved easily through play and day-to-day activities.

What follows are the top readiness skills that kindergarten teachers look for.
Enthusiasm Toward Learning
"I look for those qualities that prime children to be successful in school," says Kim Hughes. Does the child approach learning enthusiastically? Is she eager to explore and discover? Does she ask questions, take initiative, and persist when tasks are difficult?

"Parents can set aside a little time each day to investigate the world with their preschooler and answer those endless questions," says Sandra Waite-Stupiansky. As you drive or walk along in the park, point out your child's surroundings - the different trees or the various birds at the feeder. Demonstrate how things work. "You'll help your child develop beginning science skills - the ability to form a hypothesis, test it out, and come up with new questions and theories," Waite-Stupiansky explains. "The more kids notice, the more curious they'll become. And we'll be building on that curiosity in kindergarten."

Solid Oral-Language Skills
"Children need wide background knowledge about their world and the words to go with it," says Lisa Mosier. "I want to know where they've been and what they can talk about." You can help build language skills by taking your child to many new places and giving him words and descriptions for what he is seeing. At the zoo, explain, "There's a tiger. See how he has stripes and looks different from the lion?" Mosier says these experiences have a huge impact on literacy. "If you're reading a book about zoo animals and it says 'Look at the tiger,' and you can't tell the difference between a lion and a tiger, then you won't have the background knowledge to help you tackle the word. When children come to words that they don't know, they won't be able to make a good guess because it isn't in their vocabulary."

Research shows that one of the best predictors of later reading success is a well-developed oral vocabulary in kindergarten. "PreK kids are learning vocabulary at the rate of five to six words a day," says Waite-Stupiansky. "It's just amazing how they will retain words if you use them several times in context and conversation."

The Ability to Listen
Children's literature is a rich resource for expanding language. "We expect parents to be reading to kids every day," says Jayne C. Isaacs. "I can tell which children have been glued to the TV or computer for hours at a time. When we read them a story and ask them to tell us in their own words what they liked or remembered, they're unable to do so." Besides fostering vocabulary and comprehension, reading develops the attention skills necessary in a kindergarten classroom. "Listening is a key part of school behavior," Isaacs notes. Students must be able to concentrate on what the teacher is saying, listen carefully for directions, and tune in to the sounds in letters and words.

"The more animated you are as you read, the better you'll focus your child's attention on what she's hearing," says Armando Argandona. Use different voices for the characters. Promote critical thinking by asking questions like, "Why do you think that happened?" and "How would you feel if that happened to you?" and "What do you think will happen next?" Engage kids by inviting them to clap or stomp when they hear a rhyming word, and letting them finish sentences in familiar stories. Books with rhyme and repetitive refrains (like those by Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss) help kids predict what's coming and detect consonant sounds at the beginning and end of words, which fosters phonemic awareness-the ability to hear and break down the subtle sounds in words. Your child won't be able to read the word "cat" until she understands that it actually has three sounds: "cuh," "ah," and "tuh."

Singing fosters pre-reading skills too. "Take turns substituting new sounds in nursery rhymes and songs," suggests Mosier. For example, transform "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to "Dinkle Dinkle Dittle Dar" or "Zippety Doo Da" to "Bibbety Boo Bah."

The Desire to Be Independent
Encouraging self-help skills is an important step to preparing your child for kindergarten. "It's amazing how many kids come to kindergarten not knowing how to hang up a jacket," says Argandona. It might be quicker for you to do it, but "independence is critical for helping your child adjust to school," he emphasizes. Teachers expect children to:
  • Get coats on and off and hang them up 
  • Follow simple two-step instructions such as "take off your boots and put on your sneakers"
  • Go to the bathroom and wash their hands 
  • Blow their nose and cover their mouth when they cough 
  • Fasten and unfasten simple buttons and snaps 
  • Eat neatly and pour into a cup 
  • Open up a juice box and get the straw in.
"Some children are so dependent on their parents that they expect the teacher to do these things for them," says Hughes. "But when you have 20-plus kids in the room, it's hard to worry about wiping noses!" However, she notes that tying shoes is a developmental skill that often doesn't come until the first grade. If kids can't yet tie their shoes, Hughes suggests sending them in slip-ons or sneakers with Velcro fasteners.

The Ability to Play Well with Others
Your child will need your assistance refining essential social skills such as sharing, compromising, turn-taking, and problem-solving. "Children are naturally egocentric at this age, and we don't expect them to be able to share everything," says Waite-Stupiansky. "But by the time they reach kindergarten, they should be able to express their feelings in words and begin to understand that two people can use the same thing at the same time."

If you and your child are building with blocks and he reaches for one you're using, Hughes suggests you first encourage your child to ask, "May I have the block?" Then model sharing by saying something like, "I'm glad to share my block with you." When you notice your child sharing with others, celebrate it by saying, "I'm so proud of you. It's really hard to share your favorite doll, but you were able to do it. Good for you!"

On play dates and park outings, stay within earshot so you can help kids problem-solve when conflict occurs, Hughes recommends. If your son gets in a power struggle over a toy and can't seem to work it out, step in and say, "It looks like we're having a problem here. What can we do about it?" Encourage him to come up with possible solutions, offering your own suggestions, if necessary. "Help kids understand the feelings of others," says Hughes. "I want them to know when a friend is sad by looking at her face and seeing that her mouth is frowning or her eyes are crying." This nurtures compassion and empathy, values that are prized by kindergarten teachers.

Strong Fine-Motor Skills
Your child's hands must be strong enough to master coloring, cutting, pasting, and holding a pencil - fine-motor tasks that kids use every day in kindergarten. "By week one, we're already writing a letter of the alphabet," says Argandona. "If kids can't hold the pencil correctly, they will fall behind."

To hold the pencil the right way, kids need to develop the small muscles in their palms and fingers. Hughes suggests giving your child a pipe cleaner and some Cheerios (or similar, colorful cereal) to make bracelets. "It requires you to pinch with your fingers," she explains, the same motion needed for grasping a pencil. Or ask your preschooler to mist your houseplants with a spray bottle, an activity that boosts both writing and scissor skills. Scribbling in clay with fingers is a fun alternative to doing it on paper and especially helpful for kids who are resistant to writing and drawing. (A child can practice cutting the clay into small strips too.)

"Offer writing utensils in a variety of sizes and shapes," advises Hughes. "Some people think that fat pencils are easier to hold, but that's not always true. For a child with weak hands, a smaller, shorter pencil might be easier to manage."

Basic Letter and Number Recognition
Kindergarten teachers believe that it is their responsibility to teach kids letter sounds and how to write, but they do hope incoming students can recognize most letters by sight. They also hope children can count to 10, identify numbers 1 to 5, and know some shapes and colors.
But teachers don't want you to quiz your child or use workbooks, flashcards, or phonics kits. "So much learning can happen without quizzing or sitting down with a pencil," says Isaacs. The lessons unfold naturally as you and your child sort Legos by color or shape. Your daughter practices counting as she doles out pretend cookies for the dolls in her tea party. Your son builds letter recognition while scrambling alphabet magnets on the fridge.
"Every outing is a spontaneous opportunity to learn," Isaacs adds. Play guessing games like, "I spy with my little eye something with the number 3."

Teach by "immersion" and "show kids how letters are all around us," says Mosier. "Say, 'Hey, that spells K-Mart. Let's spell it together. K-M-A-R-T.'" Point out objects that contain the letters in your child's name.

Most important, always keep the focus on fun. "Relax, and enjoy your children," Mosier says. "Read, play, and go places. And talk the whole time you're doing it!"
~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Each of the six Amador County elementary schools will have a Kindergarten Registration Day in either January or February 2018 and then ongoing registration until fall. Call your child's school for more information.

In addition, First 5 Amador partners with each of these six schools for an informative Are You Ready for Kindergarten? night for parents. Parents and caregivers are invited to an evening at the school where First 5 Amador and School District staff will answer questions and help you prepare for this big step: review enrollment requirements, learn easy ways to help your child get ready for kindergarten, including information, on the summer Bridge Program, give you a chance to meet your school's Principal and Kindergarten to ask questions, and take home a free book & activity kit. Sign-ups are not required, but please call ahead if child care, which is free, is needed: 257-1092. For those times and dates, click HERE.
Dad and Me Every Month!

Celebrate being a dad (or uncle, or grandpa...) every month at our Dad and Me outings, held at fun venues around the county!

This month Let's Get Moving! Join us at Boston Alley Fitness for a fun-filled morning of jumping, bouncing and getting active! Enjoy a snack, story-time and a free book to bring home.

Saturday, January 27, 10:00am - 12:00pm.
See the FLYER with all the information.

And save the fourth Saturday of every month for more outings held at fun venues around the county. Story time, a snack and a free book are provided each month!

Upcoming Opportunities 

ASQ Training

How can you give kids the best start in life? 

Are the children in your program at risk for social or emotional difficulties?
We know how critical the first 5 years of life are.
The sooner we catch a delay or disability in a young child, the sooner we can help connect them with services and supports that make a real difference. The Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ/ASQ-SE) are parent-completed developmental and social-emotional screeners used to pinpoint delays as early as possible and can identify any need for further assessment or ongoing monitoring.
Come to a free training to learn all about these valuable screening tools and how to best work with families to ensure every child is getting the best start in life they can get. Receive a free ASQ Kit at the training.

Tuesday, January 30, 3:00-5:00pm
Thursday, March 15, 5:30-8:00
(dinner at 5:30, meeting starts at 6:00)

Call (209) 257-1092 for more information about the training and to RSVP.


Provider Spotlight

Each month we will be featuring a local provider
 that is participating in the IMPACT Quality for Kids Program.

I began my career working with children when I was in high school 
at the age of 14. I worked with a local Preschool as an aide during the summer months.  In my later high school years, the preschool became my Monday through Friday after school job.

In my senior year, I began taking college classes in Early Childhood Education.  I graduated high school mid-term and attended college full time to pursue my early childhood studies and one day take over one of the classes at the preschool.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, I eventually took a different path in life...but, I never lost sight of the importance of those early developmental years in a child's life, which made a difference when I became a mother and enrolled my child in a Cooperative Preschool. They say life comes around in a full circle, and for me it certainly did.
I began working for Amador County Public Health and became a Baby Welcome Wagon representative. That was close to 15 years ago, and I am happy to report I am still the representative to this day. Working with families from pregnancy through those early years of their child's life is such a rewarding experience. I feel like I came home to my first love. The information provided inside the Parent Kit is priceless. It helps families to grow and learn along with their child. Then, once we added the ASQ developmental screening tools to a home visit.  It allowed families to actually see how their child was growing, what activities could encourage progress, and whether there were signs they should be aware of to help their child work through the process.
Now we are taking the ASQ's to the next level by working with child care providers to introduce the ASQ's to their families through IMPACT. The ASQ is a set of activities where the families work with their children, based on a scoring system, where the results are then shared with the families.  The very early years in a child's life are vital to their ongoing development.  Areas of concern on the part of the families and/or the provider can be addressed early on by using the ASQ and activities and resources can be made available.  I have personally seen this screening process work several times over where children are connected to activities and resources to help them grow and flourish.
Children are our future!  They are our most precious resource!  Working with families to help ensure their children's futures are successful remains a number one priority!!


Get Involved! 

Would you like to improve the quality of care you offer to children in your family child care home, preschool setting, or other early learning environment?

Give us a call at First 5 and find out about the many resources (and incentives!) available to you, (209) 257-1092.
Creating Trauma Informed Early Learning Environments

Wednesday, February 21, 10 am to 11:30 am

Lori Chelius and Regan Overholt will discuss a caregiver's role in a trauma-informed strategy. They will address the harmful effects of exclusionary discipline practices on racial, ethnic, and gender disparities, and other children with high ACE scores. They will offer strategies on how to create a resilience building/trauma-informed early learning environment.  Intended Audience: childcare providers, preschools, early learning centers, family resource centers, child service providers, anyone who works with families and children.

Sign up for the webinar HERE!

Healthy QUICK TIPS of the MONTH

One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kidshealthy and safe, is to read with them. That means starting when they are newborns and not even able to talk, and continuing well beyond the years that they can read by themselves. Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to
 speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world.

So, on that note... have you read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle yet!?!

It's a must on everyone's early years reading list! And now, a fun, healthy snack as well!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Snack

Here's where the fun comes in, what do you have in your fridge? ANYTHING can become a caterpillar! Let your imagination take over. And be sure to ask your child what THEY think a caterpillar should be made of. Have them help you choose the (healthy) ingredients.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

For the body, sliced in half circles:


For the red head:

half a radish
a slice of tomato
cherry tomato
half a red apple
a  strawberry

For the eyes:

dried cranberries
small bits of any part from the ideas for the body

For the feet:

Cut up bits of raisins or dried cranberries or any dried fruit

Happy snacking!

One day, California's success 
will be measured by the 
well-being of its youngest children.

   ILibaryCalling all children 0 to 5 years of age.   
Join Amador's favorite reading club!
Imagination Library Logo
Over 800 Amador kids and counting! Get free books for your children! Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book every month from the Imagination Library! This is a free program,
available to all Amador County children aged 0-4
(from birth until their 5th birthday).
All you have to do is read to your child!   

                             For more information click here. 
It's Our Job as Adults to Keep Kids Safe

Stay up to date on all the news and information about keeping our kids safe from abuse and neglect. Sign up for the Amador Child Abuse Prevention Council's monthly e-newsletter HERE!
First 5 Amador | (209) 257-1092 |
First 5 Amador supports and designs programs for children 0-5 years old and their Families. 
For more information call us at (209) 257-1092, visit our website,and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
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First 5 Amador, PO Box 815 / 975 Broadway, Jackson, CA 95642