Monday, October 16, 2017

Help With Heat

Michigan winters are extremely unpredictable.  One day can be mild and the following day we may face a blizzard and below zero temperatures.  Because of this, many families become concerned over heating costs.  Do you ever find yourself falling behind on heating bills or are you beginning to feel anxious about upcoming costs?  Did you know there are many options in Jackson County for help?  You and your family do not need to suffer this fall and winter.  

Consumers Energy has partnered with United Way and Child Care Network to offer the CARE program (Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy).  This is for help with natural gas or electric heat expenses only, but also helps with outstanding bills as well as monthly payments.  The CARE program is based on income and has other eligibility requirements, so make sure to see if you qualify before beginning the application process. Open enrollment began October 9th, so apply soon - space is limited! Visit the United Way website to apply or call Brittany Nortley, Child Care Network Family Support Specialist, at (517) 817-0820 for help with the process.

If you have propane heat, there is help for you as well!  Both Community Action Agency's Heat a Home program and the Salvation Army offer help for all heating needs. For more information, please call Community Action Agency at (517) 784-4800 or the Salvation Army at (517) 782-7185.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ages and Stages Questionnaire

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) is a simple developmental screening tool for parents or caregivers to complete with young children. Parents are the experts on their children. ASQ research has found 93% agreement in scoring between parents and professionals.

The ASQ will provide you with the information you need to determine if your child needs further evaluation for developmental delays. The ASQ assesses five areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social. Six questions are asked in each of the five areas. Responses to the questions are yes, no, or sometimes. Screening identifies children developmentally on target and children who may benefit from support.

The Great Start Collaborative has made the Ages and Stages Questionnaire available through the Jackson County Health Department for Jackson County children up to 5 ½ years old. You can complete the free screening online here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Great Start Families December Community Fair

It is going to be tough to follow the wonderful Safety Community Fair in September but I think we're up to the challenge!

In September our kiddos were able to climb up in a firetruck, check out the inside of an ambulance and sit in the drivers seat of a police cruiser!  A K9 officer and his partner Hooch were there and showed off some of their skills.  The officers, firefighters and EMT's on hand snapped pictures, talked with the kids and parents and 2 special State Troopers completed child ID kits for parents to take home.  The 911 Emergency Dispatch, Red Cross and Jackson County Health Department shared important information with families and the addition of "Safetyville" was a favorite among our guests.  Everyone agreed lunch was wonderful and even though it was HOT it was a terrific day!

Mark your calendar for the next big thing from Great Start Families on Friday, December 1st from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Immanuel Lutheran Church across from the Westwood Mall.  We will be celebrating the Holiday Season with family crafting, balloon animal creations, a story corner with the Jackson District Library, family friendly dinner and maybe....just maybe.... a visit from the one and only St. Nick!

Watch our Facebook Page and this blog for details and how to preregister for the event to be entered in a drawing for Meijer gift cards and kids prizes too!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Books That Help Children Cope in Difficult Times

When it comes to tough life situations, children are often unequipped to deal with the strong emotions they feel.  It is hard for them to name their feelings and to express them in the correct way.  Children can act out when confused, talk back more often when sad, even have problems in school when angry about a situation at home.  Big changes are scary!  So how do we help our little ones understand their feelings when challenged with tough situations?

Books offer a fantastic way to explore the many trials that we all experience in life.  Whether it be a divorce, move to a new school, a personal illness, or a death in the family, there are several books that will help you and your child through a difficult time.  Here is a list of books that cover several different topics, all aimed to help your child understand that they are not alone in their feelings, as well as offering comfort and guidance.  Click on each picture for a direct link to Amazon for a complete description, or find these books in your local library.

Monday, September 18, 2017

And the Winner Is....

The poll for the Name the Newsletter Giveaway has now closed and the winner of the book bundle has been randomly selected.  The winner will be notified today and books will be mailed by the end of the week.  We had over 100 participants, thank you!  Out of eight different titles, 55% of participants chose the name - Little Bookworms - for the new literacy section of our Great Start newsletter - it won by a landslide!  We are excited; we loved that name too. 

Keep an eye on your inbox at then end of the month for the Great Start newsletter and if you haven't signed up to receive it yet, you can here.  Aside from literacy, the monthly newsletter gives you information on the happenings at the Great Start Collaborative, updates on our committees, child development tidbits, family-friendly community events taking place in Jackson County, and much more.  Check it out!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Playgroups Rock!

If you haven't heard, Rocks are all the rage right now in Jackson County, all across Michigan, and even across the country!  Everyone is painting rocks, hiding the rocks around in parks, downtown areas, restaurants, EVERYWHERE!  The point of it is to spread joy and get individuals and families out spending time together, while enjoying nature, and getting in some exercise.  We have an amazing group of people right here in Jackson County that are coming together as a community and posting their creations and findings on the Facebook group: Jackson County Rocks.  Since this is such a fun project, our craft for the month of August was creating rocks to be taken and hidden by our families. We all had a blast and I am thinking that this will be a craft again in the near future, especially since I asked my husband to pick up rocks for playgroups and he came home with a half yard/trailer full!

Check out Jackson Playgroups Facebook for all of the current info on dates, times, and locations.

Happy rock hunting!!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Parma Playgroups!

Hi everyone, I have exciting news!

We have a new location in Parma for playgroups!  Athleaderfit is a new boxing and strength training facility located at 415 N. Parma Road.  It is a large, open space, that is perfect for tumbling on our new climbing mats, doing crafts, eating snacks, playing with friends, and there is even a wonderful outside area to explore!  If you haven't had a chance to check out our new place in Parma, feel free to come out soon.  Playgroups are for children ages 0-5 and are held in Parma every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 10:00 am.  Check out the Jackson Playgroup Calendar for all of our scheduled dates, times, and locations and join our Facebook group here: Jackson Playgroups Facebook.  I hope to see you soon!