Last year our five First 5 Centers served about 1,600 families and provided 260 different classes. This year, families will still find the great variety of services offered, along with some notable additions.
Here’s a list of the top 5 new things coming your way at the First 5 Centers:
1. New Saturday hours! The Centers are open six days a week now that they’ve added Saturday programming. We heard from families, especially working families, about the need for increased weekend programming. It’s here.
2. More classes for dads. In recent years, we’ve seen the participation of dads increase due in part to the recession. In fact, last year there was a 34% increase in men participating compared to the previous year. Recognizing this, Centers are offering classes just for dads and their children as well as father support groups and parenting classes.
3. Enhanced school readiness activities. A goal of the Centers is to help children start kindergarten fully prepared to learn. Over the years, parents have asked for help with particular school readiness issues, which new programming will now address. Topics include helping parents understand what is expected of their children in kindergarten, how to successfully transition to preschool or kindergarten settings, and school readiness activities parents can do with their children at home. Families will also receive help with preschool and kindergarten enrollment.
4. More robust focus on financial education. Some of the Centers have been engaged in financial self-sufficiency efforts, such as Bay Point’s partnership with the Sparkpoint East County site and Antioch and West County hosting free tax prep services during the annual Earn It! Keep It! Save It! campaign. Now all five sites will soon offer help with financial basics: how to develop a budget, open a savings account, and better manage money.
5. Routine orientations. We’re making a more intentional effort to introduce families to all of the services First 5 Centers provide – the classes, links to community services, developmental screening for children – by providing ongoing orientations for new families. Parents will learn about the registration process, meet the staff, and learn why the programs are focused on children during their first five years.
Learn more about what’s happening at your local First 5 Center!