First 5 turns 20 this year ~ where has the time gone!?
In celebration all year,
we will be sharing a variety of articles and reflections on what First 5 means, some of the accomplishments, and also, where we are heading for our kids and for our future.
This article first appeared in Capitol Weekly and was written by well know movie director and actor (among other things) Rob Reiner, who chaired the successful campaign to approve Proposition 10 of 1998, which created the First 5 network in California, dedicated to advocating for children prenatal to age 5.
He served as the first chairman of First 5 California from 1999 to 2006.
In the past 20 years, a lot has happened in California to give young children a better start in life. Since voters made their voices heard and passed Proposition 10, the tobacco tax that created First 5 commissions in every county, great things have happened.
First 5's have funded preschool opportunities; helped create a dental program for young children that become a model for the state; and they have supported scores of state and federal bills to improve equity and well-being for children, from prenatal care through age five.
More recently, First 5's have pushed for policy in Sacramento, yielding new statewide investments in early childhood. And with its allies, First 5's have amplified the power of county partnerships, helping to craft and advance child abuse prevention plans by expanding home visiting for thousands of new mothers. It has also built broad support for early childhood by promoting collaboration across sectors, from business to education to public health.
I'm proud of the way First 5 has evolved to meet the needs of our young kids and families throughout the state. But there is more work to be done. Despite having the fifth largest economy in the world, California has the highest child poverty rate in the country. One in seven of our kids is reported for abuse or neglect before age five. And three out of four aren't properly screened for developmental delays.
Science has shown us that how a child's brain develops in the early years has a profound effect on their path in life. Kids who receive high-quality care and early learning do better in school, are more likely to attend college, and are better prepared for the workforce. Yet almost 90% of our babies and toddlers don't even have access to a licensed early learning opportunity.
In the past 20 years, First 5 has learned and grown in ways that many of its architects - including me - never imagined. And I'm confident First 5 will continue to blaze a path of innovation for the next 20 years. But it can't be done alone. No one organization can single-handedly ensure our kids are safe, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and life. The responsibility belongs to all of us.
Even if you don't have kids, remember kids grow up. And the cost of not caring for them now will result in higher taxes for prisons, police protection, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy. If you want a safer, more secure society, kids are the best investment you can make.
Today's toddlers are tomorrow's nurses, farmers, teachers, computer scientists, and artists. They are our future workforce, and a healthy start will insure that California will continue to fuel innovation and compete in a global economy.
I'm calling on mayors, city councils, county supervisors and our new governor to make the critical investments in quality preschool, quality childcare, and access to healthcare.
And for citizens, here's how you can help. Support the young children in your life by encouraging their development: talk to them, read to them, sing to them. Volunteer to read to little kids at the library or a preschool.
If you work, encourage your employer to adopt family-friendly policies, like paid family leave and flexible work schedules. Pay attention to local, state, and federal legislation that could affect services for children, and be an advocate.
If our children succeed, we all succeed.
Dad and Me Every Month!
Celebrate being a dad (or uncle, or grandpa...) every month at our Dad and Me outings, held at fun venues around the county!
Save the fourth Saturday of every month for more outings held at fun venues around the county. Story time, a snack and a free book are provided each month!
Calling all Child Care Providers
& Preschool Teachers!
How can you give kids the best start in life?
... by taking your children to well-child and dental check ups and also, by doing an "ASQ."
The Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) is a way to make sure your child is "on track." The screening tools are designed to be completed by parents or primary caregivers, that encourage parent-caregiver involvement.
Each questionnaire can be completed in 10-20 minutes, and is divided into five areas: Communication, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Problem Solving, and Personal-Social.
The benefit for all children and families is so that parents/caregivers know which areas they can focus on at home with their children.
For more information, please call First 5 Amador at 257-1092.
Would you like to improve the quality of care you offer to children in your family child care home, preschool setting, or other early learning environment?
Give us a call at First 5 and find out about the many resources (and incentives!) available to you, (209) 257-1092.
1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour (also called golden wholegrain flour)
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats(jumbo rolled oats)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds(milled flax seeds)
1 small apple- grated with peel
2 medium eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter- melted
1/2 small apple - chopped into 1/2-cm pieces
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Grease or line a 12-hole muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and flax seeds. Fold in the grated apples.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the milk and butter. Add the chopped apple pieces and the cinnamon.
Pour the egg mixture into the batter, and fold together, being careful not to over mix.
Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked in the middle and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
Tips for Raising Great Kids!
Here are some great tips for raising fit kids:
Participate in a variety of age-appropriate activities with your kids such as follow the leader or hide and seek
Set a regular schedule for physical activity like taking a walk after dinner each night.
Make being active a part of daily life, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, so you'll be a positive role model for your family.
Be active together as a family.
Keep it fun, so your kids will come back for more!
Have you ever felt that taking care of yourself comes last? Many parents feel guilty when making time to take care of themselves because they think they should prioritize their family, job, and everything else before taking time for themselves. By the time everyone is fed, teeth are brushed, homework is done, bills are paid, and dishes are done, you may feel that you don't have much energy left for taking care of yourself. You are not alone in feeling this way.
These tips can be done even if you only have 5 minutes to spare!
For Your Body:
Stretch ~ Touch your toes; reach your fingers to the sky; with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward floor, wrap your arms around backs of your legs... You can find more ideas by searching the internet for "quick stretches."
Thank you to Yolo Kids for sharing these fabulous tips!
One day, California's success
will be measured by the
well-being of its youngest children.
Calling all children 0 to 5 years of age.
Join Amador's favorite reading club!
Get free books for your children!
Currently 825Amador kids are receiving books!
Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book every
month from the Imagination Library! This is a free program, paid for by First 5 Amador and donations from local individuals and service organizations locally. Books are available to all Amador County children aged 0-4 (from birth until their 5th birthday).