Early Childhood Educators Receive a Mindful Professional Development Day   

The YMCA of the Rockies offered a beautiful setting for the EVICS 9th Annual Estes Park Early Childhood Conference on April 21. The day focused on mental health, wellness, and mindfulness for Early Childhood Professionals and the children in their care, encouraging providers to take care of themselves so they can care for children. Forecasts for heavy snow made travels worrisome but did not deter the nearly 60 early childhood professionals from Estes Park and across the Front Range, who braved the weather and came together for a day of learning, networking, reflection, and fun. Conference keynote speaker, Kelly Burns, set the tone for the day discussing sustainable mindfulness practices for the classroom. Kelly offered an experiential understanding of the latest neuroscience on mindfulness in the classroom. Many educators and childcare providers reach burn out because they do not have practices like Kelly discussed, including reflection, meditation, and being present throughout the day. Integrating mindfulness techniques into your day provides sustainable and manageable leadership in the childcare or teaching setting.  Additional presenters throughout the day built upon this message and included play therapists, mental health professionals, nutritionists, and teachers and instructional coaches. Morning yoga and lunch time meditation allowed attendees to take time to take care of themselves throughout the day.

Attendees ranged from infant and toddler family child care providers to elementary school teachers and other specialists. Conference evaluations clearly indicated that the Estes Park Conference was a big success this year!  Many thanks to the YMCA of the Rockies for their partnership and generous donation of beautiful meeting facilities, and to Poppy’s Restaurant, the Donut Haus, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for providing excellent food and treats. Thanks also goes out to the many Estes Park businesses that donated great door prizes, including the Ridgeline Hotel and Latitude 105 and Rock Cut Brewing Company- a long standing and popular tradition of this conference!

Estes Valley Investment in Childhood Success (EVICS) is a non-profit agency working to support and promote quality early care and education for all children in the Estes Valley.  Donations to the organization are 100% tax deductible and volunteers are needed for a variety of activities and committees.  For more information please contact EVICS: office@evics.org   970-586-3055

Be Ready for Kindergarten!

EVICS, Estes Valley Library, and Estes Park School District come together to prepare children for kindergarten!

School starts August 22, 2018!  Do you have a child who will be going to kindergarten? EVICS has begun passing out Be Ready backpacks to local preschools for all children heading to kindergarten. These Be Ready backpacks include information about school readiness, as well as some essentials for kindergarten. Be Ready is a countywide initiative to ensure that all young children in Larimer County are prepared and ready for school success. School readiness begins at birth! Be Ready strives to engage the broader community in its efforts to provide consistent and reliable information to all parents of young children. Be Ready provides a “Ready Set Kindergarten” guide for each 4-year old entering school that provides fun activities for making friends and getting along in the classroom, tips to get ready for reading, writing, and math, as well as a month by month guide to keep your family on track with kindergarten registration, vaccinations, and more!  This guide is available at EVICS, online at www.bereadylarimercounty.org and is in each Be Ready backpack provided to your preschooler. If your child does not attend a local preschool, but is preparing for going to school, please contact EVICS at cbangs@evics.org or stop by the office to receive a backpack and other school readiness information.

EVICS is partnering with Estes Park School District and the Estes Valley Library for a Be Ready School Readiness Fair on Saturday, April 7 that will include children’s activities, professional “ask” the experts, community resources, developmental screening information, and more! This free event is for all children 0-6 years old and their families! We hope to see you there!


Playgroups Move to Community Center

Estes Valley Investment in Childhood Success (EVICS) has some exciting changes happening with their weekly playgroups. Playgroups occur every Wednesday from 10-11 throughout the year. Over time we have changed the format and location based off parent and staff feedback. Currently we are averaging 10 families (with their children) each week and we hope our groups continue to grow! Playgroups provide a critical opportunity for social connections between parents and their kids ages 0-5. We offer rotating themes focusing on certain developmental domains to enhance your child’s growth and development and not to mention they are A LOT of fun!

Starting in March we have formed a new partnership with the Estes Valley Community Center. Playgroups will continue to be offered on Wednesdays from 10-11 at our new location-The Community Center. There may be some special exceptions to that schedule, and we will make sure to share that through our email list as well as Facebook page. Each week we will rotate through the Community Center amenities. The schedule for March is as follows: 7th-The pool, 14th-gym, 21st-pool and there will be no playgroup on March 28th. On pool days please bring a towel and on gym days please wear non marking sole shoes.

Strollers are welcome in the gym space. Attending our playgroups will not require membership or a daily pass fee. They will continue to be a free community service for any family with children ages 0-5 participating in our program. This is not a drop off program, and caregivers are required to stay and actively engage in the activities with their children each week.

For more information on this program, or other EVICS programming please contact Kristen Berg at kberg@evics.org or call the office at 970-586-3055.