Early Childhood News May 2019
May 2019
Margie Carter Quote

Happy Spring!

I’ve recently participated in two events that have caused me to think about how we are with children. One was the FLIP-IT training sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council recently. One of the focus areas was building children’s resilience and spending more time building relationships with children to better recognize and understand their feelings. Imagine if we started there in all our interactions with children – and with adults! Observing, speaking about, and naming emotions is a great start.

The second event for me was a webinar that focused on the work of Margie Carter and Ann Pelo, and their new book “From Teaching to Thinking: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work.” They shared a quote from Peter Moss about early childhood education, “that blithely speaks of investing in the future or preparing children to succeed in the global race without interrogating what that future might be or the sustainability of that global race, that story just will not do.” Pretty lofty, but I think he’s right in that we need a new story that offers hope that another world is possible, a world that is more equal, democratic and sustainable, a world where surprise and wonder, diversity and complexity find their rightful place in early childhood education, indeed all education.

They shared the story of the beginnings of Regio Emilia, in 1945, rebuilding in northern Italy after WWII. The first teacher Loris Malaguzzi talked of having literally nothing left, but finding support to rebuild and change history. His quote “We are part of an ongoing story of men and women, ideals intact, who realize that history can be changed, and that it is changed starting with the future of children.” This is how he described the first teachers - Their thoughts were ample and greedy and their energy boundless. . . We felt both enthusiasm and fear . . . We were able to imagine the great challenge, but we did not yet know our own capabilities nor those of the children.” To learn about Regio Emilia, start

What convictions drive your work? What story are you making of your life? For what do you want to be known? Thank you to the early childhood leaders that inspire us!

Shirley Ritter
Director Kids First


Child sucking his thumb

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a reflex that comforts and relaxes babies and toddlers. Some children are more committed to the habit than others. Dentists prefer that children stop sucking their thumb or fingers between two and four years old. This is because aggressive or prolonged thumb or finger sucking can cause improper growth of the jaws and misaligned teeth. A pacifier is not a good
alternative for a finger or thumb sucking habit, as it can affect the teeth in the same way. If you would like suggestions on how to encourage your child to kick
the habit, ask your dentist or pediatrician.

Thumb Sucking information from All Kids Dental Pediatric Dentistry, GWS, CO

Eagle County Schools

Eagle County Schools is proud to announce Staff Accomplishments

Eagle County Schools Staff have been working hard this year. Below are their great accomplishments.


  • Yesenia Duran – Associate of Arts Degree
  • Monica Mendez – Associates Degree in ECE


  • Laura Alcaraz-Castillo
  • Marjean Montiel
  • Norma Gurrola (May 3)
  • Gaby Garcia

PDIS Levels - (PDIS is a State rating system that stands for Professional Development Information System, which monitors what level our Early Childhood Education teachers have reached).

  • Brooke Stone, Gaby Hernandez, Lorena Varela – Level 1
  • Brandee Cordova – Level 2
  • Norma Gurrola – Level 3 
  • Liz Hoeft – Level 4
  • Michelle Spencer – Level 6
  • Laura Alcaraz – Level 4
  • Tanya Vasquez – Level 6


Garfield County Logo

Licensing Corner

Greetings All. Here it is Spring Again; the time of refreshing the world and when the little ones seem to grow the most.  Call me Captain Obvious.

Soon those summer months will be upon us with increased outdoor activities.  Remember that sun protection is vital and MUST be applied (lotions) or initiated (clothing or shade structures).  Plenty of fluid is needed to prevent dehydration. Have signed sunscreen authorization on file.

If you are planning field trips, be sure to get the parents’ signatures on those permission slips and kept in the files.  Have your medication and first aid bag ready to go, along with the required safeguarded information in the event of an incident or emergency.  That may mean back packs for the staff or the dreaded fanny back.  (I think they are now called “waist packs”)

We need to bring up emergency preparedness. A bit of an update, in your policy and procedures cover all the drills types as defined by 7.701.100.  Remember that you must not only have them in a document of what to do but your staff have to be trained in their execution AND documented drills are held monthly to cover all the bases.  Just to recap have a fire drill monthly and then again in that month have another drill for the active shooter, lock down, and shelter in place.  In the event of inclement weather (high winds or intense storm) have a plan that is also practiced.  As usual always document your good efforts.

As I put this together I am reminded of a story I had the opportunity to hear from a seminar I took from Leo Buscaglia back in 1978.  Yes I am, old but I think this is still relevant, as it pertains to our child care world.

He said that at one time in life he owned a small dog.  He would let the dog out in the fenced backyard to do what dogs do outside.  He said it was his job to go clean up after the dog.  He described his backyard as fenced in with flowering shrubbery along the perimeter walls of the fence. He goes on to talk about it was almost a game with the dog as the dog would do it’s “business,” hide the evidence and then it was Leo’s job to go find it.  Leo said that in one of these ventures he was looking for the poop and was not successful so he started to look under the shrubbery.  He said that he was successful in finding it under a rose bush in a far corner of the yard.  As he was performing the task of collecting the ”deposit” he noticed a beautiful rose on the side of the bush that was up against the fence.  He said that this rose was not visible from the front in any way.  Leo described how it hit him that if he had not been looking for the poop, this beautiful rose would have grown, bloomed and then died off without anyone noticing it and committing it to memory or appreciating it. 

As providers with a child displaying challenging behaviors, we prepare a behavior program.  We sometimes forget as we are watching for the behavior to help guide that there may be a rose that pops up.  That may be the moment to bring out in the child to help them continue to bloom. We know that the day to day can get routine and sometimes harried, but remember to watch for those “teachable” moments and help the rose grow. 

This story has always stuck with me as I go through my duties of inspecting.  In some analogy, we as licensing specialists are looking for the “poop”.  We must not forget to also see and make note in some way of those roses that are there….We will commit to you to watch for the roses.

Happy Spring!
Mark, Sandy & Rebecca

Riverbridge logo

River Bridge Regional Center, where silence ends + healing begins


Presented by Meghan Hurley, RBRC therapist for sexual abuse survivors and their families. Meghan has identified 10 tips every parent should know to protect your child from sexual abuse based on her work with survivors and extensive training related to sexual abuse victimization. This presentation empowers parents by teaching specific skills to make their child a “least likely” victim, and opens up communication between parents and children on this difficult topic.

Set Up Your Presentation Today

Please contact Bridget Derkash to set up your presentation or class today: Bridget@riverbridgerc.org, 970-945-5195

Aspen Family Connection


The early years of a child’s life — from birth to age eight — are critically important for learning and development.

The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines provide practical tips and points of reference that anyone can use to help kids grow. This is a valuable tool to help you help the children in your care develop successfully.

The Guidelines were created from the bottom up by Coloradans who, like you, work with and on behalf of young children and families. For the first time, these early childhood advocates and experts have woven together research and knowledge about child growth and development from birth through age eight.

Whether we’re experts, early childhood teachers, first-time parents, or involved friends and neighbors, we all play a role in giving kids a strong, healthy start.

Go to the website to find more information about this great tool!

Rainbow fish project
Boy and man with books
Eagle county Schools logo

Breakfast and Books:

The Eagle County Schools Early Childhood Department is holding their annual Breakfast and Books event on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at all nine of their Preschool sites. The goal of this event is to increase the awareness and importance of reading as a family activity, and enable each family to foster a love of reading at home. Each site will provide nutritious breakfast snacks, story time by one or more of the teachers, and a new book is handed out to each child who attends.

Reading together
Teacher fun
Reading together

Early Childhood Sticker Campaign:

On behalf of the Buell Early Childhood Leaders Network, the Eagle County Schools Early Childhood Program recently sent stickers to early childcare providers in 11 counties in northwest Colorado to give to their childcare families to wear  the week of the Young Child, April 9-12th. One of the missions of the Buell Leaders Network is to advocate for Early Childhood issues. The stickers say "I am able to be at work today because I have access to quality Early Childhood Care."

We are hoping we can garner some local awareness for Early Childhood through this sticker campaign.  We will also be submitting letters to the editor in these areas letting them know about this project. 

The goal of this work is to make those without children, employers, co-workers, etc., aware of the importance of Early Childhood. 

Flip it logo


KIDS FIRST - Coaches

Last week we had the opportunity to attend a training that just might change the way we address challenging behavior. The FLIP IT! training was sponsored by our early childhood council, Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Council, Garfield County Dept of Human Services Child Care Program, Early Childhood Network out of Glenwood, and Kids First.

FLIP IT! was created by Rachel Wagner, MSW. She started her career working in preschools with children with special needs and children with multiple risk factors. The children in her classroom had hearing deficits AND were children in foster care. There were some severe behavior challenges. Rachel developed the FLIP IT! strategy in response to a lack of practical behavioral strategies for teachers. She worked with the DECA center (Devereaux Center for Resilient Behavior) and her strategies are among those recommended by the DECA program. They align well with the Pyramid Plus Approach strategies that many of our classrooms are already using. FLIP IT! helps to create an environment of respect and teaches the child that the adults around them believe in their competence.

This strategy can help us get to the root of the challenging behavior, which means addressing the feelings that are underneath the behavior. According to Rachel, FLIP IT!  “engages children’s brains in becoming emotionally aware problem solvers who develop coping skills that will last a lifetime”. The FLIP IT! 4 steps are research based and supported by the University of Miami in Oxford Ohio. The research showed that resilience and protective factors (Attachment, Self-control and Initiative) increased for children whose parents used the FLIP IT! strategy.

Here are the 4 FLIP IT! steps:

#1 Feel

Gently talk with the child about their feelings. Tell the child what you see and hear as a result of the emotions Help the child to identify the root feelings causing the behavior. “I can see that you want the car that Jill has, that must be frustrating!”

2 limits

Remind the child of the positive limits and expectations you have for their behavior. Loving and simple limits help surround children with a sense of consistency, safety and trust. “Jill has the car in her hands so it’s still her turn”

3 inquiries

Encourage the child to think about solutions to their challenges. Ask questions that promote problem-solving and healthy coping skills. Inquiries invite children to think, learn, and gain self-control. “What could you do so that you could have a turn with the car?”

4 Prompts

Provide creative cues, clues, and suggestions for the child who is having difficulty. Enthusiastic, bright ideas can lead the way to better problem-solving skills. “Yes! You could ask for a turn or wait until she’s finished using it”

Put it all together to FLIP IT!:

“I can see that you want the car that Jill has, that must be frustrating! Jill has the car in her hands so it’s still her turn. What could you do so that you could have a turn with the car? Yes! you could ask for a turn or wait until she’s finished using it.”
For more information go to : https://centerforresilientchildren.org/dcrc-shop/flip-it/

Pip Award congrats
Children jumping


Environmental Hazards in Child Care

13,000,000 children in child care nationally spend up to 10 hours/day, 5 days a week at their child care program.  Every day we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals found in our air, water, food, homes, workplaces and even in our child care programs. Creating an environmentally healthy space for children to learn and play in is key to the health of each new generation.

Children are at risk from environmental hazards because their bodies are developing at a rapid rate, because they are closer to the ground spending time playing and crawling where pollutants and pesticides concentrate, and have behaviors such as hand-to-mouth and object-to-mouth exploration that increase their exposure.  New research links chemicals commonly found in child care settings to childhood allergies, asthma, developmental disabilities and cancer. 

What can child cares do to make their program a safer environment for all? 

Eco-Healthy Child Care is a national program managed by the Children’s Environmental Health Network which partners with child care professionals to eliminate or reduce environmental health hazards found in and around child care facilities.  Their organization offers fact sheets about toxins that can be found in the child care environment, how children are exposed, products to avoid, health concerns around toxins and tips for free and low cost ways to reduce environmental hazards in child care facilities and homes.

Eco-Healthy Child Care also offers a check list of environmental health best practices (which comply with Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards) around areas such as: plastics and plastic toys, art supplies, pesticides and pest prevention, air quality, furniture, carpets, lead, radon, arsenic and mercury, with a goal for child cares to meet 24 of the 30 best practice standards. 

Go to Eco-Healthy Child Care at www.cehn.org/ehcc to find fact sheets, the checklist and information about endorsement for becoming an Eco-Healthy Child Care environment.  Changes that are made to improve the child care environment immediately benefit the well-being of young children, so take a look and see what you are already doing and ways you can improve the environmental health of your child care program!

Robin Strecker RN
Child Care Health Consultant
Kids First

Early Childhood Network logo

Spring has sprung! 

Here at Early Childhood Network (ECN) we are all hopping around to get all the end of the school year coaching completed…. ECERS, DECAs, FCCRS, Co Shines, ITERS, BAS, CLASS, Playground Inspections and all the other paraphernalia that help our teachers grow. Please contact us if you need weeding and new fertilizer.  We will get the bugs out and help you obtain new tools for your wheelbarrow.  As you thaw to new ideas, we can help sow those seeds to help you grow in your professional development.
Additionally, this Spring, we are birthing new coaches, office babies and starting new initiatives.  In the next newsletter we will introduce them to you!
Most importantly, we are seeing children bloom in our valley because of the efforts of our early childhood teachers. Thank you for all you do!
We love this time of year…….
The ECN Staff

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