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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine's Hug Cards

hand print crafts for kids, hug crafts for kids

Last week play group at the Library was on National Hug Day. We read "Hug" by Jez Alborough. In honor of this day and the upcoming love holiday, we created Valentine's Hug cards courtesy of Joyfully Thriving.

Together, parents and children created a personalized Valentine for someone in their child's life.

You will need:
thick white paper
red paint
paint brushes (we used small foam brushes)
hole punch
yarn or string
colored paper for the card

We printed cards with the sentiment:

We cut and glued the poems on a slightly larger piece of construction paper. We used various colors of paper: red, purple and pink.
We also have a nice border craft punch so we dressed up the edges and glued onto the colored paper.

Apply paint on one hand at a time and press onto a heavy white piece of paper. A four year old was able to paint her hand while the 2 and 3 years old children needed some help.
Be sure to have a wet cloth and/or sink ready. 

Repeat with the other hand.

While the paint is drying. Read the poem and have your child stretch their arms out when you say, "I love you this much!"

Cut the yarn or string the distance from their wrist to wrist. We offered pink, purple, red and white yarn.

Cut out hand prints when dry. Hole punch the card and both hand prints near the heel of the hand and tie onto the string.

If your child shies away from painting their hand, trace their hand with a red pencil or pen and have them paint or color the inside.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finding Quality Child Care for Your Child

Are you searching for child care for your child? 

It can be hard to know where to begin your search and how to choose one among many options.

Local Child Care Resource & Referral agencies, such as Choices for Children, keep databases of child care providers in the areas they serve. Resource & Referral agencies can provide you a list of child care providers in your area, that meet the needs of your family: ages of your children, type of care you prefer, location, hours, as well as other more detailed information. Our databases are updated on a regular basis and referral services are always free.

Choices for Children is the Resource & Referral agency in El Dorado and Alpine Counties in California. If you reside in another county or state, check NACCRA's site using your zip code to find the Resource & Referral agency in your area.

Child care referrals are not recommendations. Parents are the only ones who can and should decide who will care for their child. Once you receive a list of providers from you local Resource & Referral agency, you can begin calling and scheduling visits with providers that appear to be a good match.
Below you will find our publication on Selecting Quality Child Care which you can use as a road map for choosing quality child care.

References to Title 22 refer to regulations governing child care facilities in California. Additionally, the phone number listed in box 5 is for the River City Child Care Regional office serving:  Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Tuolumne, and Yolo Counties. If you reside in another county in California you can get your local licensing number from your local Resource & Referral agency.

Use this Quality Child Care checklist to guide your observations and compare programs during your child care search.

California Community Care Licensing recently launched a "transparency website" where parents can search for a Licensed Child Care Facility and receive immediate information on when the facility was last inspected as well as if the facility received any citations or complaints. This is a great tool for parents to use once they have narrowed down their choices and want to focus on the licensing history of those facilities.

If you are looking for child care.....give your local Resource & Referral agency a call. We are here to help:)


Monday, January 19, 2015

Snow Birds

In some circles "Snow Birds" refers to humans who flee the snow to warmer places, a lot like birds migrating south for the winter. Some birds do stay through the snow such chickadees, jays, cardinals, and woodpeckers . How do they survive the cold winter? Wonderopolis shares their survival techniques.

winter crafts for kids, steller's jay crafts for kids, aspen crafts for kids

This art activity is a great extension to a winter bird watching excursion and a discussion on how birds stay warm during the winter.

You will need: 
colored construction paper
white paper
black and/or brown oil pastels or crayons
white oil or white paint
paint brush or cotton swab
tempera or water color paints

Begin by deciding the color of the bird OR let creativity rather than science be the focus and enjoy painting with any and all colors, focusing on covering the white space of the page in either case. Both tempera and watercolors will work.

Covering most of the paper helps, but this painting still worked well for creating a Steller's Jay
Cut shapes to create a bird: body, head, wing and beak

Glue the shapes into a bird onto your colored paper.

Cut strips of white paper for the aspen trees and glue on paper.

Draw black lines and dots on aspen trunks along with leafless branches.

Be sure your bird has somewhere to perch. We added a branch.

Draw eyes and feet.
Create falling snow by drawing with white oil pastels or using drops of white paint.

Wishing for snow

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Glitter Fans for Chinese New Year

glitter paper fans, paper fan crafts, chinese new year crafts for kids

We made two versions of paper fans in celebration of Chinese New Year. 

The first activity involves gluing a decorated paper fan to colorful paper and painting the support lines.

The second activity requires gluing wooden stick and attaching the decorated paper to the wooden fan supports.

Choose the version based upon the level of adult support available to each child. 

Version one (easiest)
You will need:
colored paper
paper for fan (we used SF World Journal newsprint)
glitter glue or glitter paint
paint brush
black paint or black marker

Version two 
You will need: 
4 wooden coffee stirrers or skinny craft sticks
paper for fan (we used SF World Journal newsprint)
glitter glue or glitter paint
paint brush
hot glue or school glue

fan template

You don't have to use the template provided above. Our template is an example. You may choose to create a smaller or bigger fan or one with a slightly different shape.

Cut out a fan shape from the paper you have chosen for the fan. Choose something that will allow the glitter paint or glitter glue to shine through.

Offer glitter glue or glitter paint with a paint brush to allow children to decorate their fan. We used a variety of colors of glitter glue and red glitter paint.

This fan was made with Colorations Confetti Glitter Glue.

Version one: Glue the decorated fan paper to the colored paper. Allow children to paint the fan supports with black paint or black marker.

Version two: Use your fan paper to help guide you on how wide you will glue your wooden sticks. Using hot glue requires an adult for each fan support but it dries almost instantly and can be less frustrating than holding school glue in place until it sets.

After gluing the supports, use hot glue or school glue to attach the fan paper to the wooden supports.
Some of ours curled up on the edges after drying.

This isn't likely to be an issue since you will be gluing them to the sticks. If it is an issue, use a book and time to press the paper into a flatter position. Place a dap of hot glue on in two places near the middle of each of the four support sticks and press the paper on top.

chinese fans, japanese fans, paper fans

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Butternut Squash: Fruit / Vegetable of the Month

Butternut squash is technically a vine fruit but is treated as a vegetable in the culinary world. Butternut squash is one of many winter squash varieties. Winter squash are actually harvested in the late summer/fall but are called winter squash because they keep for a couple of months when kept in a cool dark place and can be enjoyed in winter. The tough rind which can be difficult to cut is what keeps it protected for storage. Commercially, butternut squash can be purchased pre-cubed in the produce area or in the frozen vegetable section.

Butternut squash are an excellent source (20% or more of recommended daily amount) of vitamin A and vitamin C, both powerful antioxidants. They are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin B6 (10% or more of recommended daily amount). Butternut squash, like all fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in fiber, containing around 60 calories per cup.

Butternut squash are quite large. Ours was 13" tall! Choose a butternut squash which is heavy for its size, free of blemishes and cuts. You will need a large, sharp knife and cutting board to safely cut your squash. You can cut down the middle as we did or lay down and cut into rounds and then split each piece down the middle. Peel the skin with a knife or peeler. Scoop the seeds out and bake as large pieces or cut into cubes.

Butternut squash has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and smooth texture which children will appreciate. Butternut squash pairs well with a number of spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, mace, anise seed, cardamom, star anise, cayenne pepper, paprika, sage, savory, thyme and turmeric.

Roast whole or cubed. Bake with ham and apples or pears. Mash with ginger and cinnamon. Serve roasted with pecans and cranberries or even coconut. You can also substitute butternut squash in any recipe calling for pumpkin.

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.......


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

December 2014 Child Care Referral Data

See what kind of child care parents in El Dorado County were looking for in the month of December -based upon data collected when parents contacted us during this time frame.

If total percentages exceed 100% it is because more than one response or category was recorded for some clients.