Families with Young Children – How can we Help You?

by Soren Gall, Infant, Toddler & Family Specialist, Denver’s Early Childhood Council 

Soren Gall

With increased focus on early childhood in the city of Denver as well as in the state of Colorado, Denver’s Early Childhood Council is continually looking at the impact we are making in the community. Since becoming an independent nonprofit organization in 2011, we have grown from a staff of four to 24 employees. Though our mission is to create a quality system that impacts the lives of children and families, we often don’t have the privilege of working directly with families. Rather, families mostly experience the benefit of our services in the form of child care homes and centers being supported with classroom coaching and professional development services. These services help ensure there are more qualified teachers, higher quality classroom environments, better teacher and director morale and developmentally appropriate materials being used in classrooms across Denver, to name a few.

As the Council continues to evolve and expand our services, we have begun hosting informational (and fun!) sessions for families in order to share ways to help children through developmental milestones, talk about our state’s new child care quality rating system (Colorado Shines), and to get feedback on what parents of young children want and need in Denver. Below are a few things we’d like to share!

Off to a Great Start- The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines

Created in 2011, the research-based Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines provide easy-access descriptions and tips for what a child can know and is able to do at each developmental stage so that everyone- including parents and caregivers- can help prepare children for a lifetime of success.

Materials are available in English and Spanish and are divided into age groups, beginning from birth through age 8. We encourage you to check them out at earlylearningco.org.

Colorado Shines for families

Research consistently shows that children who attend quality early care and learning programs are more likely to do well in school and less likely to drop out or need remedial education further into their school-age years.

You may have heard about Colorado Shines, the new quality rating and improvement system for Colorado’s licensed early care and learning programs. This system measures quality based on how an early learning program supports its children, families and the child care professionals who work there. CO_Shines_Logo-FINAL

The other neat thing about Colorado Shines is not only does it help programs improve their quality rating/level, but it also helps families who are looking for quality child care make informed decisions and connect with child care providers in their neighborhood.

Explanation of the levels:

Colorado Shines rates the quality of programs on a scale of levels 1 to 5. At level 1, a licensed child care program must at minimum meet Colorado’s licensing requirements for health and safety. Programs that are working on or have been rated Level 2 are recognized as “Participating in Quality Improvement.”

Child care programs rated at Levels 3, 4, or 5 are recognized as having achieved “High Quality.” Programs with higher ratings have strong classroom instruction, training for staff, and have family engagement efforts in place to support children’s success.

Learn more about how to find high quality child care at coloradoshines.com.

We want to meet you! Join us for these upcoming Family Fun & Resource Hour events!

Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Woodbury Library, 3265 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211

Saturday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Green Valley Ranch Library, 4856 Andes Court, Denver, CO 80249

Bring the little ones and join us for some fun activities, stories and games and get your questions answered about Colorado Shines and choosing quality child care. Learn how to use the Colorado Early Learning & Developmental Guidelines, and find out about other valuable resources in Denver available to your child and your family. You’ll also get a chance to connect with other parents in your neighborhood.

These events are free and open to the public. Snacks and activities will be provided by Denver’s Early Childhood Council and everyone will leave with a goody bag loaded with information, tools and toys.

We hope to see you there!

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