February E-News from Connections For Children
February E-News from Connections For Children
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February 2016
Your Monthly Connections For Children E-Update
Celebrating 40 Years of Service
Dear  Friend,
February News from Connections For Children

Stronger than Ever:
Celebrating 40 Years
of Service 

In 1976, Connections For Children (CFC) was founded in Santa Monica as one of the first childcare and referral agencies in California. Now, 40 years later, CFC has helped tens of thousands of families meet their needs of childcare and early education.

Today, CFC helps more than 3,000 families annually of all income levels obtain quality child care arrangements, including free referrals, parent education and family development resources.

“Our mission has always been to build a stronger future for children, families and our communities through quality child care resources, education and guidance,” says Patti Oblath, executive director and 16-year employee.  “We thank our supporters for the past 40 years of success and look forward to a future of continued excellence, said the Santa Monica resident.

“40 years of service really adds up,” continued Oblath.  For example, we’ve fielded 165,000 requests for information and referrals; 35,000 children have benefitted from financial aid, and we’ve provided 37,500 hours of coaching for early educators.”  

The number we’re most proud of is how much we’ve added to the local economy and the small businesses that provide childcare.  In the past 40 years through child care referrals and financial assistance, it’s an impressive $185,000,000!” she exclaimed.  

Last year alone, CFC contributed an estimated $5,163,225 into the local economy, served 12% of Los Angeles’ population, as far north as Malibu and as far south as Rancho Palos Verdes, encompassing 14 cities on the Westside and South Bay.

“We’ve enjoyed many collaborations along the way,” said Board of Directors President Iao Katagiri.  “In our early days, real estate developer Doug Pardee made a significant donation to boost the program.   The City of Santa Monica also granted seed money to develop childcare resource and referral services with the City. 

“Later, we forged successful collaborations with UCLA , as well as with Santa Monica and El Camino Community Colleges, all committed to quality child care. In addition, we were one of the first organizations funded by First 5 LA, said Katagiri.   

The words of a parent whose son was able to start preschool while she went to work say it all: “Quite literally CFC saved my life.  It was the ray of hope and help and bridged the gap between barely surviving and enjoying a happy home!  Happy anniversary, Connections For Children!”

Helping Children Deal with Loss

by Joey Lamberti

At any age, coping with death is tough. Every individual uniquely processes death and grieving differently. When one individual is outwardly expressive over the loss of a loved one, another may internalize their feelings. Children are the same; although their current developmental stage and age may hint toward the need for a little more understanding and guidance. As death is perceived differently in each stage of a child's life, this piece will focus on how to speak to children about death, and what you may expect during the mourning and grieving periods in the preschool (ages 2-4) to early childhood (ages 4-7) years.

Between the preschool and early childhood years, children have a very literal perspective of the world. It’s always best to avoid abstract explanations and withdraw from using euphemisms when it comes to death. While euphemisms concerning death are easy for adults to understand, this is not the case with children. When explaining death to a child, What's Your Grief? (WYG) says that parents should never say “she’s in a better place”, “he kicked the bucket”, or “he’s sleeping forever.” With regard to the latter—he’s sleeping forever—WYG opines that because a child sleeps every night and is used to waking up in the morning, “you run the risk of them either believing the dead person will wake up, or making them terrified to ever fall asleep again (because they may not wake up).” Death is scary enough without adding more anxiety to your child's life. KidsHealth.org suggests that when a loved one dies, “you might explain that the person's body wasn't working anymore and the doctors couldn't fix it.” It’s really up to the parent to break the news to them in concrete, clear language without overstating the situation.

Customarily, some form of a funeral service occurs upon death. It's perfectly natural that you may be hesitant or question whether your child should be present at the funeral. The Dougy Center - The National Center for Grieving Children & Families indicates that in the interest of the children, it’s important that they do not feel left out when death occurs, and to give them the option of attending the funeral service. While children in the preschool may not be able to fully understand the situation and will unflinchingly agree to attend, you may get more resistance in the early childhood years. On the contrary, if your child decides not to attend, which they may later regret, they shouldn't be criticized for doing so. Emotions are at an all-time high at funerals, and quite often, parents will try to shield that emotion from their child. They should certainly be allowed to say goodbye in their own way. Kate Hilpern, in her article titled "Should Young Children go to Funerals?" relates that showcasing emotion is a "good thing because crying can help you feel better as a result of letting all the hard feelings out. By saying it’s OK for adults, it also gives permission for children to show emotion." Emotional expression at an early age, when compared to bottling up your feelings, is always a positive thing.

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Your gift today will help ensure that all children enter school healthy, happy and ready to learn and thrive!

For questions about how you can make a difference today,
please contact Patti Oblath by e-mail or phone at (310) 452-3325 Ext. 212.

Ready for School - Building Blocks for Kindergarten

Sharing and Caring  -  Supporting Social and Emotional Development 
Together with Santa Monica Cradle to Career partners, this month we are again beginning our regular feature on nurturing children for success. This month we explore tips to support healthy social and emotional development.
As children learn to identify and manage their feelings and emotions, it helps them to deal with changes and challenges that come up. They learn how focus, regulate themselves, and relate to others.
  • Set a good example for your child. He or she will imitate you. If you speak with an "inside voice," your child learns to speak with one too.
  • Help children talk about her or his feelings and to imagine what others are feeling. This helps them to understand and identify their feelings.
  • Give children positive support and feedback to help them know when they are on track.
  • Routines help children know what to expect and how to get ready for transitions.
  • Set limits for your child so they know their boundaries. Your child will feel safer and more self-confident.
For more great tips, read and download Building Blocks for Kindergarten
The Building Blocks for Kindergarten campaign is part of Santa Monica Cradle to Career, a collective impact initiative of the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Santa Monica College, service providers, and community members dedicated to making Santa Monica a place where every child has the ability to thrive.  Connections for Children is an active member of Cradle to Career and has helped lead the Building Blocks for Kindergarten campaign.

Seeking Financial Assistance for Child Care?

If you are in need of child care assistance (and the care will be provided in selected Westside and South Bay areas), you may qualify for our Parent Choice Program!

This program provides child care subsidy to cover costs at a:
  • Licensed child care center or preschool
  • Licensed Family Child Care Home, or
  • With a relative, friend, or neighbor
Click Here for More Information
Connections For Children
2701 Ocean Pk. Blvd. Ste. 253
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone (310)452-3325
E-mail info@cfc-ca.org
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