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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Spanking Doesn't Work

Spanking children began in the Victorian Era (mid 1800's) as a way to remove sins from the child, a common practice in churches at the time. Over time, spanking children changed into a method adults used to manage children's behavior. Talk about spanking can bring out strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Mounting research on the issue shows that spanking, as a form of behavior management is both ineffective and harmful.

Here is what researchers have learned about spanking...

  • Spanking fails to teach the child a better way of behaving. This is because the physical punishment does not relate to the misbehavior. 
  • Even if the spanking comes with dialogue about why they are being spanked and what they should have done, spanking causes an increase in the body's cortisol response interfering with the message. 
  • Spanking becomes less effective over time, especially as children get older and bigger. 
  • Children look to the important adults in their lives to provide provide protection and help them feel safe. Spanking can create fear and distrust in children toward the adults they depend upon. Spanking can degrade the child-parent bond.
  • Physical punishment depends on an outside source to guide behavior. Children learn they will be punished if they misbehave. Consequently, if they can avoid being caught, they can continue the behavior. Children who are spanked don't learn to develop self-control and the ability to see how their actions affect others. 
  • Physical punishment may create rebellious, revenge seeking children who may lie or blame others for their misdeeds, as well as children who are withdrawn or over-pleasers. 
  • Spanking is associated with increase aggression, disobedience and anti-social behavior.
  • Corporal punishment has been linked to juvenile delinquency, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use and lower income. The harm is not immediately evident (like smoking) but can reveal itself years later.
  • Spanking may happen when the adult has run out of "tools" and is feeling angry and frustrated and may then physically hurt the child far more than intended, even to the point of abuse. 
  • Spanking may teach children to link violence with loving relationships. 

For a comprehensive analysis on the research read the "Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children" by Elizabeth T. Gershoff, PhD

Additionally view our posts on discipline to learn about effective guidance methods.
Really? Punishment is "Out'
Five Critical Emotional Needs
Children Need to Feel Secure
Children Need to Feel Respected
Decoding Misbehavior
Teach....Don't Tell or Yell
True Discipline Takes Time
Choose Democratic Parenting

Our agency also has number of great books and DVD's in our Resource Libraries on guidance such as:
"Raising Emotionally Healthy Children" by Dr. Gerald Newmark
"Positive Discipline" by Dr. Jane Nelsen
"Love and Limits" by Elizabeth Crary
"Redirecting Children's Behavior" by Kathryn Kvols
"Unconditional Parenting" DVD with Alfie Kohn


Monday, February 23, 2015

Pointillism Shamrocks

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This is a very relaxing art project for kids that involves blending different colors of paint to make varying colors of green.

You will need:
white paper
yellow, blue, green and white paint
pencil with fresh, flat eraser

Begin by mixing paint colors which will result in green shades.
We used one shade of yellow, a teal blue, dark blue, two shades of green and white.

Lightly draw or trace a shamrock on a piece of white paper.

Children may want a piece of wax paper or white paper to dab the eraser after dipping to avoid large clumps of paint depositing on the paper after dipping in paint. Wax paper will also allow them to make even more shades of green by slowly mixing the 6 shades together in varying steps. 

This project takes patience to cover most of the white space within the clover. 
For younger children or those with challenges focusing or sitting, draw a smaller clover. 
Smaller clover, less white space to fill :)


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spinach: Fruit / Vegetable of the Month

Spinach consumption in the United States increased 66% between 1992 and 2002. This is due to the availability of cleaned and bagged spinach.

Spinach is believed by most to have originated in Persia. Folklore also claims Queen Catherine de Medici, a native of Florence, requested spinach at most meal resulting in a new culinary term "Florentine" which is still used and generally means "with spinach".

Contrary to folklore, spinach is not a good source of iron. In order to earn the title of "good", one serving of a food must contain at least 10% of the Daily Reference Intakes (DRI's). One cup of spinach contains only 5% of the DRI for iron. However, spinach is an excellent source (> 20 % of DRI) of vitamins K and A and a good source of vitamin C, folic acid and manganese. Spinach is also packed with beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous effects in the body.

Spinach is also very low in calories. There are only 7 calories in an entire cup of fresh spinach. Spinach is a high moisture vegetable, sauteing or steaming a cup of spinach will result in only 1/4 cup of cooked spinach. Raw spinach has a mild, tender and slightly peppery taste. Baby spinach is more tender. Raw spinach tastes great paired with fruit (mandarins, apples, strawberries and dried fruits) and a light vinaigrette. Add a handful of raw spinach to smoothies or substitute raw spinach for lettuce in salads or sandwiches. Spinach flavor is best when it is in season March-May and September-October. Children are more likely to embrace spinach raw as the tastes become more complex as it is cooked and changes the texture.

Be sure not to overcook spinach to avoid creating a metallic taste. Saute or steam lightly, before the leaves fully wilt. Cooked spinach pairs nicely with nutmeg, garlic or balsamic vinegar. Add a small amount of spinach to omelettes, frittatas, soups and stews to acclimate children to the taste and texture.

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.......

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aboriginal Inspired Art for Kids

pointillism art for kids, storytelling art for kids

This is a very simple project that reflects an art style created in Australia many thousands of years ago on rocks or tree bark. Only recently have paintings been completed on boards. Aboriginal art was created as a way for this group of peopel to tell their stories since they had no written language. They also used only natural materials to create their visual stories such as clay, bark, burnt sticks and rocks.

For this project we will up-cycle a piece of cardboard or paper sack and use tempera paints.

You will need:
a piece of cardboard or paper sack
a pencil
black paint
bright or natural colored paints
paint brush
cotton swab or pencil eraser for creating dots

Begin by drawing a symbol for your story. Our artist chose a turtle.
She also colored her turtle with black watercolor pencil and applied a layer of water with a paintbrush. You could use black tempera paint instead. Wait for the black paint to dry and then apply your dots.

Select a palette of colors and apply dots to the symbol's surface with cotton swaps or pencil erasers. This style of painting is called pointillism. Try to space the dots evenly. 

Create dots to border the outside of your symbol working your way out.

What story does your picture tell? Share your story.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tape Resist Painted Valentine's

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This is a great way for toddlers to create beautiful Valentine's, with minimal adult prep.

You will need:
paint (tempera, watercolors or finger paints)
thick art paper
painters tape or heart stickers

We used tempera paint and nice art paper.

We made a large piece of tape "paper" by slightly overlapping pieces of paint tape. In order for each Valentine to be unique, we cut hearts from each tape "paper" free hand and placed them in different configurations on the 5 1/2" x 7" page.

Watercolors work great too!

valentine's crafts for toddlers, valentine's crafts for kids, valentine's craft for pre K, valentine's crafts for preschoolers, tape resist valentine's

Add a sentiment on the back and share with your Valentine.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness and Happiness

February 9-15 is International Random Acts of Kindness Week.

random acts of kindness and happiness

What great timing as we just finished viewing the documentary "Happy" by Roko Belic. Within the documentary, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky of UC Irvine discussed how random acts of kindness can improve the happiness of the person performing the kind act.

According to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, 50% of our happiness level is genetically determined and is what she call a "happiness set point". It may surprising to hear that only 10% of happiness is associated with life's circumstances (money, lifestyle, materials, job, etc.) She speculates that up to 40% of our happiness is under our control and can be increased through intentional activities.

Dr. Lyubomirsky has researched how committing random acts of kindness influences a person's happiness. Research conducted which tracked random acts of kindness suggests that the randomness of the acts has a greater influence on sustaining happiness levels than doing the same kind act(s) regularly. Dr. Lyubomirsky shares that our body has a way of diminishing our responses over time to the same or similar stimuli. Doing the same act of kindness on regular basis won't produce the same amount of happiness as a novel random act of kindness will.

In another study, they had the participants perform 5 random acts of kindness each week. The people who performed all 5 in one day had a greater increase in happiness than those who performed one per day. Her theory is that the people who performed 5 in one day were very intentional about performing a random act and those who spread them over the week may have seen the kind act as part of their normal daily behavior.

So get out there with your kids this week and test Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky's theory! Practice many random acts of kindness and increase you and your children's feelings of happiness.