Kids First

May is the Month of The Young Child!

Now is such a great time to celebrate with your children. The past year has certainly reinforced for us the importance and value of high quality early childhood education; and now it's even reaching the lawmakers ears. I am cautiously hopeful that will bring changes and funding to support our youngest citizens!

Here are some ways you can join the celebration. 

  • Virtual proclamation with the City of Aspen and PItkin County - May 11 and 12.
  • Read with Me - this year is simply you reading to your children, the library is open this week, so dig into your favorite books together.
  • Each childcare classroom will hold their own mini-parade so we can all still be safe - find out from them how you can participate, or take pictures and send them our way; ( we will put them all together in a virtual parade this year.

 Child Abuse Prevention  

We want to keep raising awareness that we all have a role to play to prevent child abuse, not just in April. If you see something that you wonder about, call 844-CO-4-Kids  or 844-264-5437. Local child and adult protection staff will investigate, and provide supports.

child laughingKids First is an early childhood resource center that supports quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen, Pitkin County, CO. We can help you choose childcare, see if you qualify for help to pay for childcare, and provide information about community resources for young children, their families and the early childhood education programs that care for them.

We can help you navigate the childcare system!

We have an inter-active map to help you locate childcare kids-first-childcare-map Opens in new windowprograms!  

Kids First does not recommend one program over another, it is up to you as a family to choose the best program for your child! We can help you navigate the system; contact us if you have questions. You can also click at the bottom of this page to search the Colorado Shines data base.

The list for school age summer camps is here - it changes often so please keep checking the link.

If you don’t find the information you are looking for here, please contact us. We also have a list of licensed childcare programs in our resource directory.


We continue to find our way through this pandemic, and it hasn't gotten any easier. Below are some community resources to give you ideas about what to do with and for the children while you are working.

Elementary-aged childcare: The Aspen Recreation Department (City Day Camp).  Visit for more information.
Middle school-aged child care: The Aspen Youth Center has spots available , families must reserve them in  advance. Visit for more information.
Babysitting: Need a couple of hours of respite a day? Aspen Family Connections will try to connect you with some trained high school babysitters for your younger children. AFC would prefer outdoor activities as to observe all Covid safety protocols. Contact AFC on 970-205 7025
Self-help: Consider teaming up with families whose children are in your child’s class or supervised learning cohort and make plans to switch out. Please check the public health guidelines, as these do change, but remember that the number of people who can gather is very limited.

●Recommend anyone needing Mental Health support to Mind Springs Health  or (970) 920-5555 and please call 1-877-519 7505 for if you need free mental health support. Please call this number if you need free mental health  support.
The Aspen mobile food distribution takes place every Wednesday from 12-2 pm at the Aspen Golf Course - we always try to have diapers in all sizes.
The Mid Valley mobile food distribution, thanks to the Aspen Ski Co, takes place every Thursday from 12-2 pm at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. During 
Lift Up in Aspen is open by appointment 970 544 2009. 
Pitkin County Human Services is here to support our community with connection to resources, economic and food assistance and much more. 
Kids First can help find childcare for children before they enter Kindergarten. We can also see if you qualify for funding to help pay for childcare. 970-920-5769 or

Are You a Child Advocate?

These organizations can help you navigate legislation at the state and national level:

Contact us if you have questions - 970-920-5363 or 

Childcare Financial Aid

The next deadline for Kids First Childcare Financial Aid is May 1,2021; you can fill out the application on-line! There are additional documents that you will need to email to us. You can also try out the calculator before you fill out the application to see if you qualify.

Kids Thrive

Kids Thrive is a page with services and information that helps strengthen families, prevent child abuse and neglect, and promote positive interactions.

Early Childhood Newsletter

Kids First publishes a newsletter for people working in early childhood programs, and community members who are interested in early childhood education - in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield, and Lake Counties.
If you would like to receive our newsletter, or if you already do, and you have suggestions - you can let us know here!

A Message from City of Aspen - Kids First on COVID-19 Recovery

We know that affordable, quality childcare is essential for a healthy community and economic vitality. The fact that childcare has reopened after the intensity of the first few months of Corona virus is significant.  It is an imperative service for the regeneration of Aspen’s economy.  Employers rely on childcare so their employees can work.  Parents rely on childcare so they can work.  Childcare in the community helps businesses provide reliability and consistency for their customers as well as contributes to operational strength and offers flexibility to working parents.  The City of Aspen has provided COVID-19 recovery support through a strategic program of initiatives to invigorate the economy.   You can read Council’s recovery objectives at

Some of the financial support Council has offered the community that facilitates families’ ability to get back to work is the dedication of emergency financial relief to childcare programs so they can open sooner with health and safety precautions in place.  To help your employees return to work, please know that the following programs are open and may have space available:  Aspen Mountain Tots, Aspen Sprouts, Early Learning Center, Growing Years, Little Red Schoolhouse, Wildwood, Woody Creek Kids, Playgroup, and NJS Hobby Farm. Also family childcare homes open: Rhoda Campbell and Hollyhock Cottage.

Please see the resources and headings below for more information.

You can reach us at or 970-920-5363.  We can talk to you about quality childcare that meets your needs and tuition assistance for qualifying families.

COVID 19 emergency childcare financial aid to families!

This is in addition to our regular financial aid program and is intended to help you return to work and secure a space in your childcare program at that time. Kids First goal is the recovery of our childcare programs so that families with young children are able to return to work. More information and the application are here.

During this period of social distancing, we want to let you know that Kids First staff is working from remote locations, but fully accessible. We will respond to you as quickly as we can, and we will find answers to your questions if we do not know!


Phones: 970-920-5363 - we are checking messages throughout the day and will return your call.

Shirley Ritter, Kids First Director: 970-920-5370

Find Child Care Resources
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