Early Childhood News  Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties


Eagle County Schools


Early Childhood Initiative
Eagle County

As part of Eagle County’s commitment to be a great place for all to live, expanding Early Childhood opportunities for their residents has been identified as a priority. This commitment led to the investment in the Early Childhood Roadmap project. This report was developed over a six month period with input from members of the Advisory Committee, Licensed Early Childhood Providers, Early Childhood Teachers from both public and private settings, The Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council, Health and Human Service Licensing Specialist, Parents from Early Head Start, Parent Mentors from Youth Power 365, Principals, Mountain Family Health Centers, Heartland Solutions and Eagle County Schools Staff. The Colorado Early Childhood Framework also informed the work.

The Eagle County Roadmap Committee is developing actionable recommendations that align to the Colorado Early Childhood Framework and address the areas of need identified in the Eagle County Roadmap study.  As the system to fully support Early Childhood in Eagle County is established, the following Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles will be utilized to inform the work.

Mission Statement:
Every child in Eagle County is healthy and has the skills to succeed in school and beyond.

The entire Eagle County community fully understands the importance of quality Early Childhood Care and Education and provides the resources to sustain a high quality system that fully supports families and their children, pre-natal through age five, to thrive.

The Eagle County Board of County Commissioners will receive, review and make recommendations for the final implementation report.  Once the final report is approved, then the coordinating agency will establish work groups to develop action plans for each recommendation. The plans will include timelines and goals with measurable outcomes that will be included in quarterly progress updates. 
While the formal recommendations have not yet been established, the project has already begun to have a positive impact on Early Care and Education in Eagle County. 

  • The provider network meetings, Caring for Kids, have been reestablished and will be held six times each year.
  • Two provider workshops have been held annually and attendance continues to be strong. All attendees report they feel these workshops are a good use of their time.
  • Our Community Foundation, in collaboration with Colorado Mountain College, is providing scholarships for individuals taking Early Childhood classes and covers the cost of the class, books, fees and childcare expenses.

We are excited by the focus and support Eagle County is providing Early Care and Education and know this work can establish a truly comprehensive Early Childhood System for our community.

Shelley Smith
Director Early Childhood Programs
Eagle County School District
(970) 328-3958

Ealge County Roadmap


Kids First Progress

Many of you remember when the sales tax passed in Aspen and Kids First was created, hint, it was 1989! For those of you that were not involved, I thought I would start this year with a brief history lesson.

  • The .45% sales tax dedicated to affordable housing and childcare passed for 10 years, in 1989, in 1998, and in 2008 it passed for 30 years with strong voter support!
  • Beginning in 1990, Kids First funded capital grants to childcare programs, grants for tuition assistance, funding for professional development, trainings for childcare staff, and started hosting director breakfast meetings.
  • 1990 was also the first year that Aspen childcare programs and Kids First collaboratively held the first “Month of the Young Child” children’s parade. 2017 made the 27th year for that annual parade!
  • When the tax renewed in 1998, Kids First was directed to increase programs and staff to better meet the community need for childcare. New programs, including the financial aid program, incentives, TEACH scholarships, resource teacher as a substitute, quality improvement funding, referrals to families, and infant-toddler funding all started about this time. The yellow brick building was also purchased for childcare use at this time.
  • Kids First Budget has grown over the years, 2017 revenues were budgeted for $2,087,800. A portion of that funding goes into a reserve fund, or is used for capital expenses, but nearly all is used to benefit families and childcare programs in the community.
  • Kids First staff has fielded questions about the sales tax and our programs from people in Telluride, Summit County, Estes Park, Houston, Chicago, Allegheny County, PA., Boulder, Early Learning Policy Group in North Carolina, and Pueblo.

We welcome your questions and hope we inspire your work in support of young children and their families!
Shirley Ritter – Director


Concerned about fever?
Which thermometers are best for the childcare setting?



Digital thermometers can be used orally or axillary (under the armpit).  This thermometer is not recommended for rectal use in the childcare setting unless taken by a person with specific health training in this procedure, insertion of the thermometer can cause internal injury if done incorrectly. Once a child is old enough to cooperate, usually at the age of 4 or older, oral temps are the most accurate method of reading a temperature. Axillary temps are less accurate.

Ear/tympanic thermometers measure the temperature inside the ear canal using infrared and should only be used in children older than 4 months or in a child whose ear canal is large enough to insert the probe into. Earwax and insertion technique can interfere with the accuracy of this method as the ear must be gently pulled out in order to obtain the proper probe fit. 


Forehead/temporal artery thermometers use infrared to measure the heat waves released by the temporal artery.  This artery is located between the outside edge of the eye brow and the hairline. This method is least invasive and can be used on children starting at birth. 

Safety concerns

  • Read the instructions for proper use and test on yourself to be familiar with thermometer before using on a child
  • Use probe covers and clean the thermometer with an alcohol swab between uses
  • Glass mercury thermometers are no longer recommended for use anywhere because they can break and lead to mercury toxicity and neurologic damage Always use separate thermometers for oral and rectal use (if using this route) and label as such
  • Digital pacifier thermometers and fever strips are not recommended
  Robin Strecker RN
  Child Care Health Consultant
  Kids First/City of Aspen

Thank you, thank you......

to classroom teachers who bring Raising A Reader to the families of 1,800 children in the region.  We are especially appreciative of those teachers who enthusiastically encourage parent participation. Often, it’s not the books that make a critical difference, it’s the reminder to parents to spend extra time at home fostering family bonds of love, learning and literacy. Moreover, when parents get excited about something from the classroom – the weekly book bag – kids internalize love of school and learning. Please let us know what else we can do to support your classroom literacy goals.
BEST WISHING for a Wonderful 2018

Man reading
Woman reading
Raising a Reader logo

Women Soothing

Teachers can be Emotion Coaches,too!

5 Steps of Emotional Coaching
As identified by John Gottman and The Talaris Institute

  1. Be aware of your emotions- this means pay attention and take notice of your own  feelings, remember having feelings is normal and children can’t control how they feel. Let the children in your class feel their emotions so they can learn to understand them
  2. Connect with each child-remember to interact with the children in your group, respond to each child’s needs consistently, touch, hold and communicate with them regularly, respond with empathy. Put down your phone.
  3. Listen to the child-Really listen, try to see the child’s perspective.
  4. Name emotions-Identify the emotions going on in your-self and the children in your classroom. By identifying emotions during the moment, we validate the child’s experience.  Example:  “I see you’re smiling you look happy”… “I see you’re clenching your fists, you look angry”.
  5. Find solutions-Feelings are normal, what’s important is how we react to them. That’s where solutions come in.  It’s our job as educators to teach our children appropriate ways to react to emotions. So, if I said, “I see you’re clenching your fists, you look mad”. Then I could say, “What is going on?” Then we get to help the child come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Emotion coaching instills positive beliefs about emotions and teaches children how to manage their emotions and self.

Great Leaders

We all have been around them, and have wished that we could be around them more, but what are some of the basic factors that make a Leader great? Great leaders are invested in the process of leading and who understand the need to share, encourage, communicate, understand, shepherd, foster, reward and promote change.  Early Childhood leaders come in all shapes and sizes.  Directors lead the team; team leaders or lead teachers lead the classroom team; and the classroom teams lead the children and their families.

In Early Childhood we all are blessed with the opportunity to lead in one way or another.  We each bring our own styles, trainings, life experiences, and opinions to table.  There are many articles on the subject with each of them offering new ideas to consider. In the January/February 2017 Exchange there was an article about Whole Leadership. They suggest using the framework of combining Pedagogical Leadership, Administrative Leadership and Leadership Essentials to create the concept of Whole Leade

Whole Leadership Framework

When leading your Childcare team, it is valuable to use the strengths of individuals, while encouraging and shepherding the team member’s growth. The article, The Best Way to Building a Strengths Coaching Culture will provide you with a  quick look at this concept. To implement a strength based culture the program starts with building an awareness of the strengths concept.  Using individual strengths to unite a team to one goal, one philosophy, one concept or one service is a fundamental skill. To encourage a shared strength outlook, managers infuse strength into the daily workflow of each member of their team.  Managers structure work flow to reflect individual preferences and strengths; creating a team that will succeed, and in the end a team who trust and encourage each other.  Your efforts to foster growth in your team members lead to shared success and growth.

Leadership quote

Interesting tidbits…

  • The Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council is a regional council who represents Eagle, Garfield, Lake, and Pitkin counties.  We are continually building strong local partnerships to assure young children and their families have access to high quality health, mental health, early care and learning systems, and family supports. The RMECC is a coalition of community members and agencies working together to create a high quality, comprehensive early childhood system to benefit all young children and families.
  • Some statistics about the Council work with Colorado Shines
    • The Council currently has one of the highest rates of participation in the Colorado Shines Quality Improvement Initiative!
    • 41% of our total programs (126) meet eligibility requirements for funding.  Most other Councils have fewer than 25% who qualify!
    • 96% of eligible programs are receiving Colorado Shines Quality Improvement funds for FY18!
    • 56% of our licensed programs in the 4 county region currently have CCAP contracts!  This is so important to make sure children and families who qualify for CCAP have access to high quality programs and have choice about where their children attend school!
    • 51% of all licensed programs are at a Level 2 or higher in Colorado Shines!
Children in care

Total Programs Rated -- 71 Centers, 55 Homes

  • Level 1     27 Centers,     35 Homes
  • Level 2     17 Centers,     14 Homes
  • Level 3      9 Centers,        0 Homes
  • Level 4     18 Centers,       4 Homes
  • Level 5       0 Centers,       2 Homes

If you would like more information about the Council or how to participate in CO Shines or other grant projects, please call Stacy Petty, Council Coordinator for the RMECC at 719-486-7273 or email her at rmecc@mtnvalley.org for more information

Happy New Year with fireworks

A Headline

Early Childhood Network is ringing in 2018 with a new
look.You are invited to our open house on
January 24th, 2018 at
our new location:
1317 Grand Ave. Suite 125
Glenwood Springs Co 81601

Drop in from 6:00pm to 8:00pm for drinks and hor'deurves  Come see why we are excited about the
new possibilities 2018

Early Childhhod Council

ECN Logo

Twas the Holiday Season ....

Twas the Holiday Season and all through the land
All the Licensing Specialists had rule books in hand
Rebecca in her office and Mark at his nest
Sandy was flitting around with the best.
When out in the world there arose such a clatter
We spring to computers to see what is the matter.
The writing on the screens of the computers we read
“The rules have all changed for the providers’” we said
On General, On School Age, and On to the Camps
The rules have been modified with Clarifications and revamps
General Rules for the homes are once again in the show
Call Rebecca OR Sandy Or Mark, the numbers below
In the 7.701’s the fees and definitions have changed
With the 7.712’s number all re-arranged.
And then in a twinkling we heard thru the vines
Three years of ROI’s will be open thru Shines
As we were scratching our heads and turning around
Out came more changes by leaps and by bounds.
Twenty Eighteen bells will have rung in the air
A final wish we say “Have good fortune to spare.”
As a group we commit to remain near to home
If you have any questions, please call on the phone.
Rebecca               Sandy                    Mark
970-987-7524     720-660-7136     970-319-3570


Garfield County Childcare News

Books and Children’s Emotions

Children in our early childhood programs may be dealing with lots of different stressors in their lives. Sometimes we are unsure how to reach out to these children. Books are a wonderful way to help young children deal with emotions and special circumstances. Following is a short list of books to address different emotions:

General Emotions:
The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain
Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, by Jamie Lee Curtis
My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss      
When Sophie Gets Angry, by Molly Garrett
How I Feel Frustrated, by Marcia Leonard
How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad, by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
The Ten Good Things About Barney, by Judith Viorst
Badger’s Parting Gifts, by Susan Varley
Lifetimes, The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
Envy and Jealousy:
Nobody Asked Me If I Wanted a Baby Sister, by Martha Alexander
Best Friends, by Steven Kellogg
It’s Not Fair, by Charlotte Zolotow
Bear Feels Sick, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Can You Tell How Someone Feels, by Nita Everly
Understand and Care, by Cheri Maude
Scared or Worried:
How I Feel Scared, by Marcia Leonard
Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes
Silly Billy, by Anthony Browne
Some of these picture books are available through our resource van. I am happy to locate, deliver and read books from this list or other books that may resonate with children in your program.
Keep your eyes open for a training that Donna Ward and I will be offering on this topic in the New Year!
Deb Bair, Garfield County Child Care Consultant 
dbair@garfield-county  (970) 945-9191 Ext. 3065

Garfield training
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