Newsletter August 2011

First 5 San Diego

First 5 Commission of San Diego
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice-Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Oral Heath
Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

First 5 San Diego’s ultimate goal is that all children in San Diego County ages 0 through 5 are healthy, loved, nurtured, and enter school as active learners. As such, we are committed to offering early childhood programs throughout the County to serve the needs of our youngest population and their families. Our programs include healthy development services, health care access, oral health and early childhood education. Supporting the healthy development of young children is an invaluable investment in their futures and that of our communities.

First 5 San Diego is a strong supporter of early childhood education, and preschool plays a key role. It sets the foundation for children’s school experience and helps them develop skills for later in life. Children who attend preschool often do better in reading and math in kindergarten and are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college. Preschool is also important for children’s emotional development and social skills. Research has shown that when children go to preschool, society benefits from a skilled work force and reduced crime rates.

But not all preschool programs are equal. Quality preschool programs provide children with an enriching experience that will prepare them for a successful transition into kindergarten. Key components of quality preschool programs include: highly qualified and experienced teachers, comprehensive curriculum, small class sizes with low teacher-child ratios, professional development for teaching staff, and community and parent engagement. Quality preschool curricula teach children the basic school readiness skills for language development, early literacy, and early math. Additionally, quality preschool programs provide a variety of activities suited for children’s developmental stages and needs.

First 5 San Diego’s Preschool for All (PFA) Demonstration Project provides free, quality, half-day preschool programs for families in 11 San Diego communities: Borrego Springs, Cajon Valley, Chula Vista, Escondido, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National City, San Ysidro, South Bay, Valley Center/Pauma, and Vista. PFA focuses on quality enhancement of preschool programs and includes the following key elements:

  • Classroom quality
  • Professional development for teachers and administrators
  • Parent engagement
  • Screening and early identification of developmental delays
  • Inclusion of children with special needs
  • Community partnerships

For information about First 5 San Diego’s PFA program and/or other services, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit

Barbara Jiménez

Preparing for Preschool
Preparing For Preschool

For three- and four-year-old children, starting preschool can be an exciting experience and often a little scary. Fortunately, parents can prepare their children to enter preschool by helping them learn what to expect. As their children’s first and best teachers, parents can encourage their children’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development before they step foot into a preschool classroom.

Parent Preschool Prep Tips

  • Read to your child
    • Reading aloud to your child everyday helps them to develop vocabulary skills and a love for reading. Research shows that children who spend time reading with their parent or caregiver are better prepared for school.
  • Talk with your child
    • Talk with your child about what preschool involves, such as a classroom, teacher, other children, activities, and rules. Discuss how your child’s daily schedule will change once they begin preschool. Inform your child about the importance of listening and following directions while at preschool.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children
    • It is important for your child to meet and play with other children. This will help your child learn how to share, take turns, socialize with others, and will contribute to your child’s success in school.
  • Bond with your child
    • Spend time engaging in fun learning activities with your child. As a parent, you don’t have to teach your child how to read and write before they enter preschool but you can help prepare them for the classroom with activities like coloring, drawing, playing games, and introducing them to letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.
  • Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date
    • The California School Immunization Law requires children to have certain vaccines by the time they enter kindergarten. Often, child care providers and preschools also require vaccinations before enrollment. Check with your doctor or health provider to make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date and on schedule. For children ages 0 to 5 who do not have health insurance or access to regular doctor visits and immunizations, parents can call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit
  • Don’t forget about your child’s oral health
    • Since 2006, a California law requires that children have a dental check-up before entering kindergarten or first grade. Children should actually receive their first dental screening by their first birthday. Regular dental check-ups for children are important for their healthy development and performance in school. During preschool, parents are advised to take their child to the dentist to give him or her a good start for when they enter kindergarten. For information on First 5 San Diego’s oral health services, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit
Preschool Prep Activity

A fun, parent-child activity that can help prepare children for preschool can be as simple as reading books or singing songs with rhyming words in them.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, rhymes help preschool age children pay attention to the sounds in words and are important in learning to read. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to read nursery rhymes to their child. While reading to their child, parents can ask their child to fill in rhyming words of the story. Around the home, parents can point to objects and say their names, for example, door. Then parents can ask their child to say as many words as possible that rhyme with the name. Examples of some easily rhymed words are ball, rug, clock and bread.


Have you heard of MyPlate?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently introduced the nutrition guide called MyPlate. The colorful new food guide helps to remind families about how to build a healthy plate at meal times. MyPlate replaces the old food pyramid guide and is a much easier tool for understanding the general dietary guidelines for Americans. Within the next year, MyPlate will be updated to outline specific food guidelines for specific populations including pregnant women and preschoolers.

MyPlate emphasizes five basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. From the icon, half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. The other half of the plate contains grains and protein. The dairy symbol next to the plate represents calcium rich foods.

Description of the MyPlate Food Groups

  • Fruits – fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruits, and fruit juices.
    Examples: apples, bananas, grapes, raisins, and orange juice.
  • Vegetables – fresh, frozen, and canned including legumes.
    Examples: broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and corn.
  • Grains – whole grains and enriched grains.
    Examples: whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and enriched grain cereals.
  • Protein – meat, poultry, seafood eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
    Examples: lean or low-fat meat and unsalted nuts.
  • Dairy – milk, yogurt, and/or cheese. Fat-free or low-fat dairy products are strongly recommended for children over the age of two.
    Examples: low-fat yogurt, fortified soy milk, and low-fat string cheese.

A key to healthy nutrition is knowing how much food children should eat at mealtimes. In addition to good nutrition, daily exercise is also important for healthy children and families.

Below are daily recommended servings* for children ages 1 through 5 according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for babies until age 1.








1 cup

3/4 cup

2 oz

1.5 oz

2 cups


1 cup

1 cup

3 oz

2 oz

2 cups


1 cup

1 ½ cup

4 oz

3 oz

2 ½ cups

*Recommended servings are related to calorie estimates based on a sedentary lifestyle or light physical activity. Children who have increased levels of physical activity will require additional calories: by 0-200 kcal/d if moderately physically active; and by 200-400 kcal/d if very physically active.
**Recommended servings for children age 1 are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

For more information about MyPlate, visit

Fruit Kabobs
Fruit Kabobs

Recipe: Fruit Kabobs

Looking for a way to add fruits and dairy to your child’s plate? Then try this fun recipe from It’s a healthy treat that your whole family will enjoy.


  • 4 melon slices (e.g. watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew); Pick your favorite.
  • 4 pineapple slices
  • ½ cup grapes
  • 1 piece or 1 ounce low-fat string cheese
  • 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt
  • Popsicle sticks


  • Cut the melon, pineapple, and low-fat string cheese into small cubes.
  • Slice the grapes in half.
  • Place melon chunks, pineapple wedges, and grapes on a wooden popsicle stick and alternate fruit with low-fat string cheese.
  • Use low-fat yogurt for dipping.
Fallbrook Community Health Fair

On Friday, August 5, 2011, First 5 San Diego will participate in the Community Health Fair hosted by our community partner, the Jack E. Johns Fallbrook Family Health Center. The Jack E. Johns Fallbrook Family Health Center is one of our Oral Health Initiative (OHI) partners in North County that provides pregnant women and young children in need with free dental screenings and treatment. In celebration of the National Health Center Week, the health fair will offer families and children of all ages with free health screenings, entertainment, raffle prizes, and information on local community resources. The health fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. families can meet with the health center’s providers and light refreshments will be provided.

For more information about this event, please call 760-451-4723 or visit

We Can't Wait - ECMH

Early Childhood Mental Health Advocacy Day:
Caring for Complex Children 0-5

First 5 San Diego will co-sponsor the Early Childhood Mental Health Advocacy Day II: Caring for Complex Children 0-5 on Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South San Diego, CA 92108. The conference is designed for professionals who work with young children ages 0 to 5 and their families. The second annual conference aims to increase awareness about early childhood mental health and educate professionals who work with children with multiple developmental challenges and their families. Workshop topics will include the impact of trauma, care giver and child relationships, complications of treatment, early childhood aggression, and considerations for treatment plans.

For more information or to register, please email

Summer of a Million Books Campaign
Reach Out and Read

Summer of a Million Books Campaign

Reach Out and Read San Diego, a pediatric literacy program sponsored by our community partner, the American Academy of Pediatrics, is presenting the Summer of a Million Books Campaign. The campaign strives to put one million brand-new books in the hands of American children before International Literacy Day on September 8, 2011. This summer, families can help Reach Out and Read San Diego meet its goal by donating a brand-new children’s book for a child in San Diego County. For information about how to make a donation, please email

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.

For more information about First 5 San Diego services call 1-888-5 First 5. For updates from First 5 San Diego, please join us on Facebook.