KIds Expo 2012

County Office of Education: Celebrating the joy of play

By From page D2 | April 11, 2012

Children of all ages love to play! In fact, play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. Play gives children the opportunity to develop an enjoyment of the outdoors, understand and make sense of their world, interact with others, express and control emotions and practice their emerging skills. As educators it is important to recognize that play needs to be integrated into the daily plan for learning. Regular play and exercise is an essential element of cognitive growth. Research shows the links between play and capacities such as memory, self-regulation, oral language, social skills and overall success in school. As parents, engaging in children’s play offers a unique opportunity to see the world from the child’s point of view, understand their interests and frustrations and watch creative ideas unfold. It helps strengthen parent/child relationships, builds brain development and its fun! Go ahead…let them play and play with them!

The El Dorado County Office of Education Child Development Programs provide services to children birth to age 5 and their families, assuring them the best start possible before entering kindergarten. Programs include State Preschool, Head Start, Early Head Start and the Teen Parenting Program. These programs are funded by the California Department of Education, Child Development Division, parent fees and the Department of Health and Human Services through the Federal Government. Each program provides comprehensive early care and education services. Programs take into account that social, emotional, cognitive and physical development are all interrelated within the child’s daily experiences. A strong foundation in the early years assists children with later success in school. Program enrollment also includes children identified with special needs.

The El Dorado County Office of Education Charter Extended Day program, in cooperation with local schools, offer on-campus supervised and enriched child care programs before, during, and after school, Monday through Friday. The program is available to kindergarten through eighth-grade children at 20 school sites in El Dorado County. The instructors provide a variety of enriching and creative age-appropriate activities, including academic and tutorial assistance and organized playground activities. Extended Day services are offered year-round and on all staff development days, minimum days and selected holidays with sufficient enrollment.

The El Dorado Early Care and Education Planning Council is a public private partnership of business, education, community and government whose mission is to serve as the focal point for the planning and development of accessible, affordable, quality early care and education programs for children and families in El Dorado County. Our current projects include the Workforce Development, Advocacy and Education, and Needs Assessment Committees. Our Council also administers the CARES Plus Professional Development Program which is an incentive program to support early educators in El Dorado County. Early care and education staff receive incentives and supports for professional development, training and unit bearing coursework towards a degree or Child Development Permit. We also partner with California State University, Sacramento to offer a local Bachelor’s Degree program in Early Development Care and Education for working professionals. These programs increase teacher retention and professional development which directly impacts the care and education children receive.

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is comprised of parents of children with special needs and agency representatives. They meet the third Monday of every month and provide support, information, training and advocacy for parents of children with special needs. Please contact Dubravka Tomazin, program liaison, for more information at 530-295-2463.

For more information on programs offered through the Office of Education please stop by our booth at Kids’ Expo or contact the El Dorado County Office of Education, Child Development Programs at (530) 295-2270 or 295-2276, Charter Extended Day at 295-2298 or 295-2268, or the Special Services Department, Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) at 295-2289.

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