Making Families Grand: Is your child ready? |

Making Families Grand: Is your child ready?

Have you ever heard that a parent is a child’s first teacher? Do you ever wish your child or the children you cared for came with an instruction manual on how to be their first teacher?

There is a lot to raising and caring for young children and we don’t always know the best way to teach them the skills they will need to be ready for school and successful in life. The good news is parents and caregivers really are their child’s first and most important teacher and there is an instruction manual that can help you make the most of your time with your child.

With the support of local partners, private foundations, and state funding, Grand Beginnings is excited to be offering a new family education program, Ready! For Kindergarten. Free, 90 minute classes will be offered throughout Grand County for parents and caregivers of infants through preschool aged children. Classes will provide parents and caregivers with hands on activities, tools, and $65 worth of toys that will support a child’s development and learning across the early years.

The county-wide launch of Ready! For Kindergarten is in collaboration with several community partners including the school districts, libraries, early childhood programs, and Mountain Family Center. As part of the Prepared to Learn Initiative, this research based program was chosen in response to the community asking for more opportunities for families to engage in their child’s learning and to promote skills that would prepare Grand County children to be learners in the 21 century.

Helen Sedlar, Mountain Family Center (MFC) executive director, noted, “As both agencies strive to create opportunities to enrich the lives for families living in Grand County, the partnership just made perfect sense. From birth to age 5, a child learns faster than at any other time in his or her life. Those early learning experiences influence success in school and every other facet of life. MFC programs and services touch many families, some 1,800 people a year. The collaboration was a creative way to share the Ready for Kindergarten resources with families that already experience obstacles because of lower wages, lack of transportation and affordable housing.”

Research tells us that every year four out of every ten children start kindergarten behind their peers and school expectations. For those that start behind, even hard work, may not be enough to catch up to their peers and by third grade they are often still behind.

Ready! For Kindergarten provides key activities at each age level for parents and caregivers to do every day with young children. Ready! For Kindergarten promotes developmentally appropriate skills in all areas of learning, including, math and reasoning, language and literacy, and social and emotional development. Whether you are the parent, grandparent or caregiver for children under five years of age, you are able to help grow and develop your child’s brain and Ready! For Kindergarten can help!

To learn more about Ready! for Kindergarten or what you can do to nurture a child’s development in the early years contact Grand Beginnings at 970.725.3391 or Or check out our website at

Jess Smolleck is School Readiness and Family Engagement Coordinator for Grand Beginnings.

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