Kids First - Childcare Resource Center administers programs and allocates funding to benefit early childhood programs and families in Pitkin County. Because we benefit from a dedicated .45% sales tax in the City of Aspen, we are able to provide services, programming, and support that is unique across the country! Kids First staff can answer questions, refer you to specialists, and put you in contact with resources in our community.
Kids First Programs
• FINANCIAL AID
Kids First offers Financial Aid for qualifying families to help pay for any child age 5 or under attending licensed childcare in Pitkin County. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must live or work within the Aspen Urban Growth boundry, must be working during childcare hours on the days you receive assistance, and must use licensed childcare in Pitkin County.
• CHILDCARE PROGRAM FUNDING
Kids First awards funding to licensed childcare programs in Pitkin County including annual awards for quality improvements, professional development, infant and toddler program operational support, and childcare start-up costs.
• TRAININGS & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Kids First coordinates learning opportunities for childcare providers. We produce a newsletter with information about trainings, new research, and other information to keep childcare providers up to date. We sponsor workshops for non-profit childcare boards, directors’ administration training, and in-service training for all childcare staff. Kids First provides training for new staff or people who want to substitute in childcare programs yearly with “Caring for Kids” and offers hand washing and diaper changing workshops as needed to all childcare staff.
• T.E.A.C.H. & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
T.E.A.C.H. scholarships are available for anyone who works in a licensed childcare program through Qualistar - http://www.qualistar.org/professionals/teach.php. Kids First contributes funding annually for these scholarships to ensure that they are available for Pitkin County early childhood staff to take classes that increase their skills and advance their professional learning.
Kids First staff offers coordination for early childhood providers; working with childcare programs to identify needs and disseminate information on classes offered. We also work closely with CMC to offer classes needed and recruit participants: http://www.coloradomtn.edu/
• TEACHER INCENTIVES
Education and Health Wellness incentives are awarded once a year to childcare staff members who meet the qualifications. The deadline is at the beginning March. More information and applications are available at Kids First.
• GRANT WRITING SUPPORT
Kids First can help with childcare programs grant writing and resource development with outside funding opportunities or by proof reading your application before you send it off. We write many successful grants every year for additional funding and have a wealth of experience.
• RESOURCE TEACHER
Kids First resource teacher is available to substitute in all licensed childcare programs in Pitkin County; also to find information and resources for parents and childcare programs.
• QUALITY IMPROVEMENT COACHING
Kids First quality improvement coach is certified in environmental rating scales (ECERS and ITERS) and is available to help improve quality in childcare programs and to help prioritize your quality improvement plan. This might include arranging the environment and daily schedule, offering ideas for family participation, or working on daily health and safety practices. Kids First staff has the expertise, training and certification to provide coaching and assistance on a one-to-one basis to address specific needs.