Newsletter January – February 2013

First 5 San Diego
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First 5 Commission of San Diego

Supervisor Ron Roberts, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Supervisor Ron Roberts
Supervisor Ron Roberts,
2013 Chair of the First 5
Commission of San Diego

For information on
Supervisor Roberts, click here.

Kim Medeiros The Director’s Corner
Kim Medeiros

Happy New Year! First, I’d like to thank Supervisor Bill Horn for his leadership of the First 5 Commission of San Diego in 2012, and welcome Supervisor Ron Roberts as the 2013 Chair! It seems like just yesterday when I joined the Commission and began working with our great Commissioners and staff in mapping out our road ahead. So far, it’s been an exciting journey and I couldn’t be more proud of all that we have accomplished.

One such accomplishment I am particularly thrilled about is the successful launch of the new First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI). QPI provides high-quality preschool services in 12 communities throughout San Diego County – Borrego Springs, Cajon Valley, Chula Vista, Escondido, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National City, Central San Diego, San Ysidro, South Bay, Valley Center/Pauma and Vista. We’ve worked long and hard at implementing a preschool system that ensures a high-quality early learning experience for children in San Diego County. To see this come to fruition is a dream a come true for the Commission, First 5 San Diego staff, and our partners at the San Diego County Office of Education. Our ultimate goal is to close the school readiness gap and improve student achievement.

This time of year is a common time for parents and caregivers to enroll their children in preschool for the 2013-2014 school year.  However, it’s not too early to start practicing certain skills so they enter preschool prepared, confident, and excited. Here are just a few things you can help your 3 or 4-year-old with to make sure they are ready to learn and achieve:

  • Help your child with language skills – By now, your child should be able to speak in sentences of five to six words, speak clearly enough for others to understand them, and tell stories. Read to your child everyday and have engaging conversations with them.
  • Exercise your child’s memory – Help your child name colors and learn how to count. Start with just a few colors and numbers (ie. red, blue, purple, green or 1, 2, 3) and add more as they master each level. During this time, your child should be able to use their imagination. Play “make-believe” or “role-play” games.
  • Practice hand and finger skills – Teach your child how to use child-friendly safety scissors, draw circles and squares, and begin to copy some capital letters of the alphabet.

Stay tuned for our campaign in the coming weeks, featuring more on preparing your child for preschool. To stay up-to-date on First 5 San Diego’s latest news, like us on Facebook.

For more information about First 5 San Diego’s Quality Preschool Initiative, visit www.first5.demosite.us/qpi. To find a QPI provider and to get help finding out your child’s eligibility, click here.

Cheers and a Happy New Year!

Kim Medeiros

The Importance of Choosing a High-Quality Preschool
The Importance of Choosing a High-Quality Preschool

Why is high-quality preschool important?

Studies have shown that children who participate in high-quality preschools have significantly better outcomes as adults. Children who attend a high-quality preschool score better on reading and math achievement tests, are less likely to be placed in special education, and less likely to drop out of high school. As adults, they are more likely to attend college, get good jobs, and are less likely to be involved in crime. Overall, high-quality preschool helps children lead the kind of successful, fulfilling lives we all aspire to follow.

What is high-quality preschool?

Quality early learning isn’t about textbooks – that comes later in schooling. One critical preschool feature focuses on developing social and emotional skills through songs, games, story time, and social interaction. High-quality preschool helps children develop life skills such as paying attention, showing persistence in finishing tasks, accepting new responsibilities and making friends. High-quality preschool also provides a language-rich environment that helps children develop early reading skills such as recognizing letters, consonant and vowel sounds.

As you begin your search for a preschool program for your young child, here are some key elements of a high-quality preschool provided by Preschool California:

  • Qualified Teachers and Program Directors – Teachers and assistant teachers should have received specialized training in early childhood education. They should also participate in ongoing professional development and have opportunities for reflective practice.
  • Family Engagement – A high-quality preschool program builds relationships with families, including respecting and supporting each family’s home language and at-home teaching efforts. Family members and teachers exchange information about each child’s learning progress. Families are engaged through parent-teacher conferences, opportunities to assist in the classroom and other activities. Parents are also offered information about nutrition, parenting and social services, when needed.
  • Quality Learning Environment – When you walk into a high-quality preschool classroom, you immediately see learning occurring. The preschool environment welcomes children of all ethnic and linguistic backgrounds in inclusive settings designed to meet individual needs. Classrooms have the supplies, materials and equipment that support learning. Each classroom should have at least one teacher and one assistant teacher. There should be at least one teacher for every 10 children.
  • Proactive Curriculum The curriculum should evaluate children’s progress through ongoing monitoring and evaluation, set goals specific to preschool learning expectations and use learning and developmental foundations that are research-based, age-appropriate and aligned with the state’s K-12 standards. Preschool should provide learning opportunities in a wide range of areas and a variety of settings including physical activities, work in small groups and individual interactions with the teacher. The curriculum should build on each child’s interests and support the needs of English learners.
  • Comprehensive Care Programs should provide vision, hearing and general health screenings to identify children’s special needs early and provide appropriate supports and referrals. If meals and/or snacks are provided, the preschool should offer a variety of nutritious choices.

First 5 San Diego’s Quality Preschool Initiative offers no cost high-quality preschool, regardless of income, in 12 communities throughout San Diego County. To get connected, visit www.first5.demosite.us or call 1-888-5 FIRST 5. If you do not reside in one of these communities, the YMCA Childcare Resource Service is San Diego’s primary resource for affordable childcare and preschool. They may be reached at 1-800-481-2151 or their website www.crs.ymca.org.

Consistent Bedtime Routines Make for Sweet Dreams
Consistent Bedtime Routines Make for Sweet Dreams

Babies like their routines. The sooner you establish a bedtime routine, in particular, the better. When your baby is as young as 6 or 8 weeks old, start following a set pattern every night. She’ll quickly come to appreciate the consistency and predictability. A bedtime ritual is often good for parents, too. It’s a special time set aside for you to spend with your baby, something you can look forward to.

How to establish a good bedtime routine?

Make sure to start early enough in the evening so you have time to get through the sequence before bedtime. For young babies especially, you may find that it’s best to keep it short and simple: washing up, diaper and jammies and a story or song in the rocking chair.

And while you can certainly start your ritual in the bathroom or the living room, it should end in your baby’s bedroom. It’s important to teach your baby that her room is a nice place to be.

According to babycenter.com, the following bedtime routine ideas may help you create a routine that works for your family.

  • Let off some steam. Sometimes it helps to let your baby get any pent-up energy out of her system before you try to settle her down for the night. Dance, bounce, crawl, jump. Follow up rowdy play with something calmer and quieter.
  • Bath time. Getting your baby warm and clean is a great way to ease her into bedtime. A bath is also a wonderful way for your partner to spend some special time with the baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding and your partner can’t help as much with meals.
  • Getting-ready-for-bed routine. After the bath, wipe her gums or brush her teeth, put on a clean diaper and get into pajamas. It’s particularly important to start the habit of teeth brushing at a young age so your baby gets used to it.
  • Pillow talk. Bedtime is a nice chance for parents to spend some time talking to their baby. You don’t have to wait until your baby’s old enough to give you a narrative of the day’s events. Simply review her day for her.
  • Read, read, read. It is important to read to your baby every day, and bedtime is a perfect opportunity. Not only are you spending time, you are reinforcing the value of reading, improving her vocabulary and getting her sleepy. Not only will your baby learn to recognize new words — studies have shown that language skills and even intelligence can depend on a baby’s daily exposure to a large vocabulary — but she’ll also benefit from time spent with you.

You and your baby will settle into a bedtime routine that suits your needs and your baby’s as well. Above all, this will prove to be the most meaningful part of both of your days.

First 5 San Diego provides parenting resources to help parents and caregivers raise happy and healthy children, including educational classes and workshops that offer support, advice and materials for families. For more information, visit www.first5.demosite.us or call 1-888-5 FIRST 5.

SMILE, SAN DIEGO!
SMILE, SAN DIEGO!

February is National Dental Health Month. First 5 San Diego takes this opportunity to remind parents and caregivers that a healthy mouth, including teeth and gums, is essential to the overall health of infants, children and adults.

Dental disease can have serious and expensive consequences for children if left untreated, including pain, infections, difficulty eating, and tooth loss. Children with dental disease may also have trouble sleeping, talking, and concentrating.

Good dental health is important for pregnant women, too. The bacteria from the mother’s tooth decay can affect the health of her unborn child.

Here are some tips to keep your little one’s smile healthy and happy:

Infants

  • Clean your infant’s gums.
  • Take your infant to the dentist by age 1.
  • Brush your infant’s baby teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Wean your infant from the bottle by 18 months of age.
  • Watch for baby bottle tooth decay, signs of teething and excessive pacifier use.

Toddlers

  • Floss teeth as soon as they grow in and begin to touch each other.
  • If your child eats sweets, chips, crackers or juice, brush their teeth or rinse their teeth with water.
  • What your child eats can affect his/her dental health.
  • Give healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, cheese and yogurt. Avoid sweet and sticky drinks and food that can cause cavities.

Preschool

  • An adult needs to help children brush until around age 7.
  • Ask your child’s doctor or dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth. This is another great way to protect your child’s teeth from cavities.

Pregnant Women

  • Moms-to-be are prone to gum disease.
  • Continue to brush, floss and eat well.
  • See a dentist while you are pregnant.
  • Continue to visit the dentist twice a year during pregnancy.
  • Watch out for pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease.

First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Initiative (OHI) provides no cost dental checkups for young children and pregnant women. OHI services include dental checkups for young children ages 5 and under and pregnant women as well as oral health education for parents and caregivers, and dental/medical providers.

To get connected to dental services supported by First 5 San Diego call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).

First 5 California Welcomes Camille Maben as New Executive Director
First 5 California Welcomes Camille Maben as New Executive Director

First 5 California welcomes Camille Maben as its new Executive Director, effective December 17, 2012.

Camille brings a wealth of knowledge in the field of child development. She comes from the California Department of Education where she’s worked in various capacities for more than 16 years. She most recently served as Director of Child Development where she Co-Chairs the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care, and where she also helped win and implement the $52.6 million federal Race-to-the-Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. Prior to her work at CDE, Camille served as Chief of Staff to the Office of the Secretary of Education. In this capacity, she was appointed to represent the Secretary and Governor on their education policy agenda. Camille has also worked in the Assembly serving as a Consultant to the Education Committee.

“Camille’s proven experience and knowledge about the needs and diversity of California’s children will help lead us into the next chapter as we continue to produce programs that support families, caregivers and teachers for the benefit of our children,” said Patrick Duterte, First 5 California’s Vice Chair. “I’d also like to thank Interim Executive Director Reneé Webster-Hawkins for her leadership the past few months. We are thankful to have her as an integral part of our team.”

First 5 California supports the funding of education, health and childcare programs for children aged 0 to 5 and their families. Also known as the California Children and Families Commission, First 5 California was created through Proposition 10, a voter-approved initiative that recognized the importance of early childhood health and education in a child’s future.

First 5 California also partners statewide with 58 First 5 county commissions, which includes San Diego, to ensure that programs are developed and implemented in a way that meets the diverse needs of all California communities.

For more information about First 5 California, visit www.ccfc.ca.gov.

Transition Begins for Families in Healthy Families Program (HFP) to Medi-Cal
Transition Begins for Families in Healthy Families Program (HFP) to Medi-Cal

On January 1, 2013, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began its first phase of transitioning over 875,000 low income children from the Healthy Families Program (HFP) to Medi-Cal. The transition, proposed by Governor Brown and passed by the Legislature as part of a larger plan to close the budget deficit, is expected to save about $64 million this year. DHCS began sending out general notices to families on November 1, 2012.

The transition process for the over 71,000 children enrolled in HFP in San Diego County will occur over a twelve-month period in four phases. In the first two phases, HFP children will move to Medi-Cal, but will continue to be covered by the same plan. These children will not have to choose a different plan.

The following table provides the framework of the transition from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal:

Phase

Phase Begins

Description of Phase

1

January 1, 2013

HFP children in a plan which is also a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan will move to Medi-Cal, but will stay in the same plan.

2

April 1, 2013

HFP children in a plan that subcontracts with a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan will move to Medi-Cal, but will stay in the same plan.

3

August 1, 2013

HFP children in a plan which is not a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan or subcontractor of a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan will need to select a new Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan.

4

September 1, 2013

HFP children not living in a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan county will move into a Fee-for-Service (FFS) Plan. However, if a Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan is established in a FFS county prior to Phase 4, HFP children will need to select a new Medi-Cal Managed Care Health Plan, if more than one plan is available.

To find additional details on the Healthy Families to Medi-Cal transition, visit www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/HealthyFamiliesTransition.aspx. DHCS has also created a list of frequently asked questions, available at www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/hf/Pages/HFPFAQ.aspx.

Sponsorship Support Available for FY 2012-2013
Sponsorship Support Available for FY 2012-2013

Do you have a community or professional education event taking place prior to June 30, 2013? Working with community partners to create a community that is supportive of the health and development of young children is a top priority for First 5 San Diego. That’s why the Commission identifies funds to support community events and professional education symposia, for up to $5,000 per event.

Types of events eligible for sponsorship include health fairs, education and resource fairs, and other local community events. The event must be consistent with Commission goals and the Commission’s Strategic Plan.

If your event meets our minimum criteria, you are welcome to apply. Visit www.first5.demosite.us/sponsorship-community-events.

First 5 High Fives
Classroom at Glen View Preschool

First 5 High Fives

At Glen View Preschool, huge windows fill the classroom with natural light. The large room is also filled with many opportunities for playful learning and interest area which promote small group and individual activities.

Each morning and afternoon class, taught by Guadalupe Munoz, provides three hours of a high-quality early learning experience to 18-20 four-year-old students Monday through Friday.

To help ensure high quality, Glen View takes a whole-child approach, characteristic of a First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI) preschool provider. For example, Glen View focuses on professional development to maintain high-quality instruction. In addition, parent engagement is critical, as parents are a child’s first and best teachers.

“We have wonderful parents and they often volunteer in the classroom,” said Munoz.

Collaboration is essential to Glen View’s seamless system of care. To help ease the transition for preschool students into kindergarten, Glen View has built a strong partnership between the preschool and kindergarten classes. With classrooms sitting side by side, they share a common work area. The combination also promotes each child’s understanding of social interactions.

Glen View Preschool is one of 51 preschool providers participating in the QPI program and has been a preschool provider since the inception of First 5 San Diego’s Preschool for All Demonstration Project (PFA) in 2006. It is located on the campus of Glen View Elementary School and is part of the Escondido Union School District. To find out if there are any QPI spots available at Glen View Preschool or to contact them, please call (760) 489-4131.

 
Add Your Event to Our Website

Our website features an enhanced community calendar. Do you have a community event that you would like to add to the First 5 San Diego calendar? If your event focuses on children ages 0-5, parents, caregivers and/or expectant parents, offered at no or low cost, and sponsored by a non-profit organization, we want to share your event. Fill out our Community Event Listing Request Form.

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