First 5 Centers Put On Graduation Ceremony Parade for Families with Preschoolers

After a year-long Kindergarten readiness class taught at the Delta and Antioch First 5 Center, families lined up in their cars decorated with hand-made signs while graduation music played, bubbles floated in the air, and celebrated their accomplishment in a unique, yet memorable way.

In previous years, a large and intimate celebration was held at the end of the class to honor the parents and children’s achievement, as well as to show appreciation for spending the year with the First Center staff to learn the different aspects of school readiness for their children. However, this year with the current shelter-in-place order, families and staff needed to get creative and pull-together to create something special.

Leading up to graduation day, staff sent families a cap and gown and were encouraged to decorate it with their preschooler. Families were then instructed to line-up in their cars while staff held up individual signs of celebration for each child who then received a backpack filled with school supplies, a Potter the Otter Kindergarten book, other goodies, and a certificate of completion.

“It was nice to see everyone, the families and our staff, and it gave us that familiar feeling of closeness,” said Shalila Melvin of the Antioch/Delta First 5 Center. “It also brought a sense of culmination and celebration for the families that will be moving on.”

In a weekly class called Road Map to Kindergarten©, an evidence-based tool that First 5 adopted for the centers, parents learn about how difficult it can be for them to be separated from their child. While parents learn how to support their child’s transition to Kindergarten, the children portion is titled “Bridge to Kindergarten” where they participate in classes that strengthen their social emotional development.

During this current time of virtual interactions and distance learning, the ceremony was also shared on Facebook LIVE so that friends and family members could share in the joy. Click here to view the ceremony on the Antioch First 5 Center Facebook page, and click here to view the ceremony held at the Delta First 5 Center.

To learn more about Kindergarten readiness classes, or about other First 5 Center classes, please click here to contact your local First 5 Center.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier Visits East County First 5 Center to Discuss Early Screening and Intervention with Parents

 

Last week, First 5 Contra Costa was thrilled to meet with Congressman Mark DeSaulnier for a tour of the East County First 5 Center in Pittsburg, and a discussion of our “Help Me Grow” program to improve early screening and intervention. Rep. DeSaulnier is carrying a bill this year that would significantly increase federal funding for developmental services, so children in our counties and others who need help are identified sooner, and helped faster.

Far too often, children arrive at their first day of kindergarten with signs of obvious developmental, behavioral or social challenges. In many cases, this can be prevented through timely developmental screening and early intervention, one of the most important things we can do to promote children’s health in their first years. Yet only 29% of California children receive timely developmental screenings.

First 5 Contra Costa has worked hard to ensure every pediatric provider in our county uses a standard developmental screening tool at recommended intervals. The County’s 211 information and referral service now has trained developmental specialists available to navigate parents to the programs and resources their child needs. And each of our five First 5 Centers—including the one Rep. DeSaulnier visited–has regular developmental playgroups for children with mild to moderate delays and their parents.

But children with more intensive conditions need more intensive services, and those remain harder to access. California’s Regional Center system and school districts are not sufficiently funded to meet the needs of children with autism and other significant developmental conditions. That’s why we’re so excited about Congressman DeSaulnier’s bill.

 

 

The  bill—The Funding Early Intervention is the Right IDEA Act (HR4107)would increase funding in two parts of existing law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA), over ten years. The IDEA makes free and appropriate education available to eligible children with disabilities from birth to 21 years of age. The DeSaulnier bill would increase funding for Part C of the IDEA, which gives states early intervention funds for infants and toddlers. It would also increase funding for preschool programs serving children with disabilities. Funding levels in both of these areas have eroded to the point that per-child spending is now only about 35% what it was more than two decades ago. Every year, 1 in 4 California children is at moderate or high risk for developmental, behavioral or social delays.

In Contra Costa we’re doing all we can to meet the needs of these children, their families and communities so that every child has their chance to develop to their full potential. But to do so, we’ll need help from our state and federal governments to ensure early childhood programs are fully funded. Congressman DeSaulnier’s bill is a strong step in the right direction.

 

For more information on Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, please visit:
https://desaulnier.house.gov/

For more information on the Help Me Grow program and early intervention and screening, please visit:
https://helpmegrowcoco.org/

For more information on your local First 5 Center and upcoming programs and activities, please visit:
http://www.first5coco.org/funded-programs/first-5-centers/

A New Home for the Antioch First 5 Center!

The Antioch First 5 Center will soon have a new home! Located at 300 H Street in downtown Antioch, the new site is about 2700 square feet and just around the corner from the former First 5 Center location.

We expect to open in a few months after completing some minor tenant improvements. In the meantime, First 5 Center classes and activities will occur in Antioch at nearby locations in February and March:

  • Find First 5 Center classes and activities happening in Antioch here.
  • Antioch families are welcome to sign up for classes at other First 5 Centers as well. Class calendars for each site are here.
  • Families who want a developmental screening for their child, or who have questions about Help Me Grow developmental playgroups, should call the Antioch/Delta First 5 Center (925) 516-3880.
  • The East County Regional Group is holding its monthly meetings in downtown Antioch. Contact Alejandra Plascencia (925) 771-7338 for location information.

Get the latest information on our First 5 Center site updates webpage.

Antioch Getting New First 5 Center

Exciting changes are underway for First 5 Center services in Antioch!

The Center is moving to a new location in downtown Antioch, and will open soon. Until then, First 5 Center classes and activities will take place at nearby locations in January and February 2018:

  • Find First 5 Center classes and activities happening in Antioch here.
  • Antioch families are welcome to sign up for classes at other First 5 Centers as well. Class calendars for each site are here.
  • Families who want a developmental screening for their child, or who have questions about Help Me Grow developmental playgroups, should call the Antioch/Delta First 5 Center (925) 516-3880.
  • The East County Regional Group will still hold meetings in downtown Antioch. Contact Alejandra Plascencia (925) 771-7338 for location information.

Long-term, First 5 Contra Costa plans to open a much larger regional First 5 Center in Antioch in order to serve more families. We’ve already started meeting with a group of Antioch parents to consult us on locations and will have more community input sessions in 2018.

Another change to note is that starting January 1, the nonprofit Aspiranet will provide First 5 Center services in Antioch. This agency also runs First 5 Centers in Brentwood, Concord, and Bay Point. We thank Brighter Beginnings for their many years of service operating the Antioch First 5 Center.

See updates about First 5 Centers in East County here on our website.