Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich children's lives through innovative support, education and enhanced family and provider services.

Our program puts families at the center of a community of support services.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Parenting 0-5 years: Getting to Know Your Child

During the past 8 weeks, Alpine First 5 hosted a parenting series, using Active Parenting curriculum presented by Carol Ledesma of Choices for Children, for parents of children 0-5 years old. We will be completing a blog series "Parenting 0-5 years" with a post on each of the classes in order to share some of the information presented in the sessions with those unable to attend.

Session 1 Getting to Know Your Child: Ages & Stages

Children grow leaps and bounds in the first five years and it is important to understand where children are developmentally for many reasons.

  • Learning the ages and stages of child development will help you understand what you can expect of your child now and in the near future. Knowing what to expect and how to provide children what they need in each stage can help reduce some of the stress associated with parenting.
  • If you are monitoring what is expected of children at different ages and stages, any delays can be brought to the attention of your child's physician much sooner. Since early intervention services are most effective the earlier they are started, catching delays sooner will help your child see the greatest growth. 
  • Knowing how your child learns during each stage can help you learn about which type of stimulating learning experiences to offer your child in order to promote the most learning and growth.  
  • Being aware of what your child is capable of understanding and what they are learning can help you guide behavior in a way that is sensitive to their current level of understanding and respond in the most effective way to incidents of misbehavior. 
I do come with instructions (sort of)

A summary of ages and stages:

Infants and 1 year old children learn by touching and tasting everything. As mobility increases with crawling and walking the more they are able to explore. During this stage you can help your child learn by keeping them safe while they explore. 

2 year old children learn how to get results through their actions, studying cause and effect. They begin to feel because they can make things happen. Help your child develop safe power within limits. Allow them to learn through their actions but say "no" when needed and teaching some basic rules. 

3 year old children begin developing an imagination and is more interested in spending time with other children. Pretending and make believe experiences will help them sort out the difference between reality and fantasy. Allow your child plenty of opportunities to spend time with other children and learn to share.

4 year old children are curious and begin to ask "Why?" and their interests expand exponentially. They are more ready to take risks and move faster. Help your child learn about safe risks and answer all the the "Why?" questions. 

5 year old children are discovering their world. They are becoming more independent and are better able to control their behavior since they are developing improved self-regulation. Support and encourage your child's developing interests. Help them work through social challenges rather than jumping in and rescuing. 

Children learn best through play. Be sure at each stage of development you give them plenty of time to explore their world in the way that interests them at the moment. You can be there to keep them safe and support learning by showing interest, answering any questions and playing along if they extend an invitation.

For more detailed information on child development milestones visit:
Center for Disease Control Milestones page
Center for Disease Control Positive Parenting Tips page
Children's Home Society Development Stages Wheel


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Egg Cup Birds in Nests

We enjoyed a beautiful spring day outside at Play Group today listening to the red winged blackbirds and scouting for lizards. This activity pairs nicely with the books "Are You My Mother" by P.D. Eastman or "No Roses for Harry" by Gene Zion.

You will need:
an empty paper egg carton
nesting materials
1 inch pom poms for birds and 1/2" pom poms or smaller for eggs.
googly eyes
yellow craft foam or felt

We discussed how birds collect small, soft items to make a comfortable nest for their eggs. The children worked on their fine motor skills by cutting the bits of scraps we had gathered. We used yarn, ribbon, string, tissue paper, shredded paper, sage brush, bits of fabric, dried leaves. hay, crepe paper and twine for nesting material.

Children chose a 1 inch pom pom for their bird and glued on eyes and then cut a piece of craft foam. We used a scrap of self-adhesive yellow craft foam.

Questions the children asked:
"Do the male birds sit on the eggs too?" (yes they male and female birds take turns)
"How long do the sit on the eggs before they hatch?" (about 2 weeks and they don't all hatch at once but over a few days)
And we talked about a huge hawk nest nearby.

Go for a walk with the children and see how many nests and different type of birds you can spot.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Going Out of Town and Need a Babysitter?

Traveling to new and exciting places can be fun for the whole family however, some activities which the fresh landscape offers may not appeal to every member of the family. This is especially true for families traveling with young children. With some pre-planning, you can use a babysitter at your travel spot to allow you to fully experience the local activities.

Before leaving, locate the Child Care Resource & Referral agency for that place you plan on traveling to by entering the zip code of your travel location at the CCCRR find child care page. California Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies are state funded non-profit agencies which provide FREE child care referrals. If traveling outside of California, locate the local Child Care Resource and Referral agency at Child Care Aware.

When calling the agency, let the referral specialist know when you anticipating needing care. They can provide you a list of child care centers or family child care home that take children as drop-ins. If you prefer having a babysitter come to your location, most agencies have a listing of babysitting agencies. Babysitting agencies usually charge an hourly rate plus a travel fee. In California, there is currently no state issued license for which babysitting agencies can apply and they operate only with a city business tax permit. This is not a child care license and no regulating agency monitors the activities of babysitting agencies. However, the babysitters are required by California State law to register with California's Trustline Registry. This registry process involves a thorough criminal background check of the individual. When using a babysitting agency, ask in advance the name of the babysitter and call Trustline at 1-800-822-8490 to verify the sitter's Trustline clearance.

Further questions to ask the babysitting agencies:

  • What are the hiring policies and employment requirements of the agencies?
  • Are the sitters trained in pediatric CPR & First Aid?
  • Are the sitters bonded individually or through the agency? (Being bonded is not a child care issue. This is only to insure your monetary reimbursement in case of theft.)
  • Do sitters bring along age-appropriate toys, games, etc. in order to interact with your children?
  • Can the agency provide a sitter to meet your specific need? (i.e. some experienced in infant care or a child with special needs)
  • If possible, get the name of the sitter before they arrive so you can call Trustline to verify their clearance. Tell the agency you expect the sitter to provide a picture ID (i.e. driver's license) and proof of their Trustline registry clearance (if you are unable to check in advance).

For more information on Trustline Registry visit our post:
Hiring a Babysitter
or Trustline.org

Happy and safe travels for you and your family!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tissue Paper Flowers

spring crafts for kids, mother's day gifts, homemade gifts kids can make, homemade flowers

This is a very easy and low cost activity for kids that produces bright and beautiful flowers for months of enjoyment.

You will need:
tissue paper
pipe cleaners

Save tissue paper from gifts you receive to create lasting flowers, which you can even attach to the next gift you give.....or give as a gift themselves...as a thank-you or for anyone in your life you want to show is special to you. It doesn't matter if the tissue paper is wrinkled because you will be purposefully crushing the flowers to add texture and body.

Begin by folding a piece of tissue paper so you have roughly 10 layers. Cut the paper into a stack of circles.

Continue to do this for other colors of tissue paper, varying your sizes.

Pierce a hole through the layer of tissue paper circle to make way for the pipe cleaner. We used the point of a large paperclip. 

Do this for the next two layers of the flower, being sure to choose a smaller stack of circles each time. 

Thread the pipe cleaner through each stack of tissue papers and twist on the end to secure the papers. Do this for the back of the flower as well. 

Wrinkle the layer of paper by crushing the flower and then spread the flower out flat.

Arrange in an empty bottle or jar and you have a timeless bouquet!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Treasure Slime

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, we took Growing a Jeweled Rose's great idea and made Treasure Slime at our play group today.

st patrick's day crafts for kids, no borax slime

You will need:
2 - 5 oz. bottles of clear school glue
1 cup of liquid starch (look for Sta-flo in the laundry aisle)
glitter (we used large gold confetti and fine green glitter)

Get a big container. We upcycled an empty ice cream bucket.
Empty both bottles of glue in the bucket.

Measure 1 cup of liquid starch and pour over glue.

Add glitter.....

and treasures for your pot of gold!

Mix with your hands....or a spoon for those who are sensory sensitive.

Keep your pot of gold sealed to "stretch" out the fun!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Peas: Fruit / Vegetable of the Month

Peas are one of the oldest known cultivated crops. Because of their long history, you can find peas in the cuisine of nearly all cultures. Peas have been discovered in an Egyptian Tomb at Thebes. The Anglo-Saxon (400-1000 AD) term for peas was 'pease'. You may recognize the nursery rhyme "pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot nine days old". Nowadays we call pease porridge, split pea soup.

Before the invention of freezing, most peas were dried for later use. Peas have a very short harvest, spring and late summer, when the weather is cool. Only 5% of all peas grown are enjoyed fresh from the vine, with the majority dried, canned or frozen. If you ever locate fresh peas for sale, get them while you can or plant some of your own- before St. Patrick's Day is the general rule- to enjoy a harvest prior to the summer heat.

Peas which will be eaten fresh, frozen or canned are picked earlier and often called an 'early pea'. Peas that grow to maturity are usually dried and split. Canned peas are cooked and are a duller green as some chlorophyll is destroyed by cooking. Frozen peas are blanched and flash frozen so they maintain their bright color. Freezing does however change the texture. Frozen and fresh peas can be enjoyed uncooked. If you are going to cook peas, do so briefly with steam or a small amount of water. This will keep them tender and sweet.

Peas are an excellent source of vitamins A & K. Vitamin A is needed not only for healthy vision but it also supports bone health and the immune system. Vitamin K also supports bone health. Peas are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and the B vitamins, thiamin and folate. Peas are also a great source of protein.

Enjoy peas with pasta and Parmesan, sprinkle on salads, toss into soups, casseroles, stir fries and rice. You can always make pease porridge and serve hot or cold.

We love a pea salad with our favorite vinaigrette, sliced red peppers, chopped celery, sliced green onions, roasted cashews and crumbled bacon.

Blend thawed peas with olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, mint, salt and pepper and spread on toast or crackers.

If you are child care provider in California you can receive cash reimbursements for providing healthy food to the children in your care. If you are a child care provider in El Dorado, Alpine, Placer, Nevada or Mono county our agency can help you enroll in the California Child Care Food Program.

Recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables varies with age.
Children ages 2-3 need   1- 1.5 cups of fruits and 1- 1.5 cups of vegetables each day.
Children ages 4-8 need   1-2     cups of fruits and 1.5-2.5 cups of vegetables each day. 
Children ages 9-13 need 1.5-2  cups of fruits and 1.5-3.5 cups of vegetables each day.
Teens ages   14-18 need   1.5 -2.5 cups of fruits and 2.5-4 cups of vegetables each day.

Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimum growth and development. Check out  CDC's fruit and vegetable calculator for an more accurate recommendation based upon age, sex, and activity levels.

Remember your plate.......