Children First

Birch Has a New Classmate!

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The kiddos are so excited so meet their new classmate….a spotted gecko!

Pets in a classroom have so many benefits, including…

” • Observing and caring for an animal instills a sense of responsibility and respect for life.
• A pet brings increased sensitivity and awareness of the feelings and needs of others—both animals and humans.
• Kids learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival.
• Students will see directly how their behavior and actions affect others.
• Studies show that the presence of animals tends to lessen tension in the classroom.”

December Weather 2021

My Facebook memories show that last year at this time we had snow….not this year! Our children have been wearing their snowgear to protect themselves from the mud, if even wearing them at all in the 50 degree weather! Yesterday they made some surprising discoveries.

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What’s Hiding Under the Rock in Our Mudkitchen Area?
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No matter the weather, we try to be outside. Mud play is so important to children’s development, you can check out many resources why at this website. (Even though I’d rather have tons of snow this time of year for us to play in!!)

We are so blessed her at Children First that we have plenty of opportunities for the children to play in mud, and even an area on our playground called the mudkitchen, where a small stream flows through.

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1000 Hours Outside

Starting in 2021, each classroom here at Children First took the pledge to get the kids outside as much as possible….and we tracked those hours. The Mulberry classroom just reached 500 hours in December….and we’re going to try to do even more next year. Why?

“The entire purpose of 1000 Hours Outside is to attempt to match nature time with screen time. If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average then the time is there and at least some of it can and should be shifted towards a more productive and healthy outcome!” –

Children Should Be Outside for 4-6 Hours Every Day!

Please join us this year and track your own hours outside. Add them to the hours your child is getting here at CF (ask your child’s teacher for how many we did that week). And check out these BEAUTIFUL trackers.

5 A Day Challenge!

We are dedicated to our policy of promoting early healthy eating habits, best seen in our “morning snack” policy and our annual/semiannual “Five A Day Challenge.” Why are we so insistent on this?

  • We know that healthy habits are rooted in our early years.
  • We know that the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables provide the following benefits:
    • Promote good health and protect against disease, both now and in the future.
    • Ensure the child’s healthy growth and development.
    • Strengthen a child’s immune system and help fight illnesses. There is strong evidence to show that the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables can prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases.
    • The high-fiber content can aid in the proper function of the digestive system and prevent constipation.

All of these things are really important and NOW is the time to work toward establishing these healthy habits! To help children and families work on this commitment, we will soon be launching our “Five A Day Challenge.” We are challenging all family members to eat 5 Fruits and Vegetables a Day! Please expect more communication from your child’s classroom teachers about celebrating fruits and veggies in lunchboxes!

“Scientists analyzed data from more than 2 million people in the United States and dozens of other countries and found that eating about five servings of fruits and vegetables a day was associated with the lowest risk of early death, and that the optimal balance was two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day.

Compared to people who had two servings of fruits and vegetables a day, those who had five servings a day had a: 13% lower risk of death from all causes; a 12% lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke; a 10% lower risk of death from cancer, and a 35% lower risk of death from respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

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Our toddlers are enjoying some friend during our Halloween celebration!

Website updates and more!

Please bear with us while we work on updating the website! It’s been a naptime effort, so it’s a little slow going, but I’m excited for our vision to finally start to take shape! Along with updates that are happening in our school, we plan on making a family resource page for you to use whenever needed and links to helpful articles or websites.

The first order of business is to remind families of our Halloween parties that are coming up! Please check the date with your teachers if you are not sure, all information should be on your child’s private Facebook group and if you need to bring anything. I can’t wait to see everyone in costume, I’ll make sure I share some pictures here. – Katie, Mulberry Teacher

Look at the Spooky Ghosts we had last year in the Mulberry Room! (Along with a ladybug and astronaut!)

Currently Enrolling for Fall 2021

We are currently enrolling for the Fall of 2021 in all of our preschool classrooms, ages 2.9 to 5 years. If you are interested, please fill out our intake form and we will get back to you. Thank you.

For All Families Who Are Looking to Find Childcare

While Children First continues to be stable and strong, it is with such a heavy heart that we heard of yet another provider in our area closing. The pandemic has been very hard on our industry, and South Hadley alone has experienced serious capacity loss. Children First will not have the capacity to meet the increased demands of so many in need.

To get on CF’s Wait List, please complete the on-line intake form here found on our website. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER for any future correspondence from us. Once you are on our Wait List, you will remain there until you ask to be removed or do not respond to both an email and a phone attempt to contact you.

Please note that our enrolled families are using a texting app to communicate with us and that the phones are not always staffed since administrators are wearing many hats right now. Email communication for the Wait List is preferred at this time.

CF does not offer infant care, and our toddler classroom is already enrolled for the upcoming year (2021-2022). We are working on enrolling our preschool classrooms for 2021-2022. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE!

We also urge every family to use the childcare finder on the State website as well:

Annual lead & Copper Compliance Results

Our System was at or below the lead and copper action levels.

90th Percentile

Public Notice

Florence Bank Customers’ Choice Community Grants


This year, with big help from Katie Myslinski, Children First was awarded $1,239.00 by Florence Bank Customers’ Choice Community Grant.  This year we will be using this money to expand our “Outdoor Musical Garden”.

Here is how you can help us win even more next year :

1.)  Vote online – Visit to view the online voting site.

2.)  Paper Ballots – Visit any Florence Bank branch location and cast your vote while you do your banking.

REMEMBER – You have to be a Florence Bank customer and can only vote for 1 non-profit per year.  VOTING CONTINUES ALL YEAR LONG AND ENDS 12/31/19!

Messy Weather

Messy weather is coming!

Messy weather does not typically impact our toddler or preschool programs but can have a big impact on our school-age programs. Please see below for (rare) early release or closure information.

  • In the event of expected severe weather that still allows us to open, each family will be asked to share their expected pick-up time and best contact info. Administrators monitor weather conditions and will determine our closing time based on safety factors.


    • Notification will be on our 24/7 voice mail (467-2345) and our Children First Facebook page. We will also send out a REMIND to all families and post on Channels 22 News.
    • We close only when it is deemed unsafe for travel, the Governor declares a State of Emergency, or Children First experiences a system failure (like a power outage) that necessitates our closure.
    • Children First will have staff will provide care from 6:30 AM (unless otherwise noted) until the bus arrives. ALL CURRENTLY ENROLLED CF STUDENTS are eligible to attend the delayed opening, whether they normally attend on that day or not. Contact CF to ensure a slot (phone (467-2345)/Remind app/email).
    • You will be billed $4.00 (1-hour school delay) or $8.00 (2-hour school delay). (In addition to the regular before school amount of $8.75*)


    • Children First will be notified by the Granby public school and will have staff available to care for the school-agers, who will arrive by school bus, where our closing time will be determined based on safety factors. Only those holding a contracted slot are guaranteed care – all others need to contact CF to ensure a slot.


    • We will open for our regular hours (6:30 AM to 6:00 PM) unless safety factors necessitate an adjustment in hours.
    • ALL REGISTERED CF STUDENTS are eligible to attend the snow day coverage, whether they normally attend or not. Contact CF to ensure a slot (phone (467-2345)/Remind app/email).
    • Children MUST have snow pants, boots, hats and mittens on these days (as staff will take children out for outdoor play unless conditions are severe).
    • Children MUST also have a lunch, snacks, and a water bottle.
    • Please ensure that we have current LIFE SAVING MEDICATION (inhaler/epipen/etc) if your child your child does not normally attend with us and meds are not at the center.

Messy Weather 2018