Children First

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.”

May be an image of child and indoor
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



Dear Parent/Guardian,
Your child is busy exploring the outdoors each day here at Children First. Over time, you may notice that they are healthier, happier, and even more focused and attentive! They certainly may be more tired at the end of a day of active play and exploration! Research shows that increases in outdoor play time can have a deeply beneficial effect on our children. Thank you for supporting your child to have these experiences! Please remember to help your child get the most out of these experiences by: having them dress for the weather, pack an extra set of clothes (and mittens in season), apply sunscreen before or upon arrival, send a water bottle for hydration, hats/sunglasses for sun protection, and a lunchbox filled with lots of healthy food choices.
Beyond sun and cold, there are some insects that we must contend with as we share their habitat with them. Please ensure that we have an epi-pen and the appropriate medical paperwork if your child has an allergy to bees. For mosquitoes, appropriate clothing and bug spray are the best defenses (some people have found success with the wearable repellant jewelry – make sure to tell staff if your child will wearing these).
The insect that may cause the most concern is ticks. While ticks are most active from April – September, they can be found any time of year. We want to advise you of what to look for each time your child plays outside (here at CF or anywhere). This information has been taken from the Center for Disease Control’s web site. While most ticks are harmless and don’t require medical treatment, some ticks (like the deer tick, lone star tick and others) can carry harmful germs and cause diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and Ehrlichiosis. The deer tick is tiny, and no larger than a pencil point. Other ticks are larger and easier to find on the skin.
Think Prevention
 Wear appropriate clothing: please see attached page for more information.
 Conduct a full-body tick check DAILY: Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
 Examine clothes and gear. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine coats, and day packs. Tumbling clothes in a dryer on the highest heat for at least one hour may help kill remaining ticks.
 Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.
 Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and they can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply this product to their child before school, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
What to do if you find a tick attached:
If the tick is still attached to the skin, remove it:
 Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the head of the tick close to the skin.
 Firmly and steadily pull the tick straight out of the skin.
 Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side while removing it.
 Put tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag and save it to show the doctor if your child becomes ill.
 Do not use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove the tick.
 Wash area with soap and water or swab the area with rubbing alcohol.
Signs & Symptoms of Tick-Related Diseases:
 Fever/chills: With all tickborne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
 Aches and pains: Tickborne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. With Lyme disease you may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient’s personal tolerance level.
 Rash
Tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if your child may have been bitten by a tick and experiences any of the symptoms described above.
Seek Medical Care if:
 The tick might have been on the skin for more than 6-8 hours.
 Part of the tick remains in the skin after attempted removal.
 A rash of any kind develops (especially the red-ringed bull’s eye rash or red dots on wrists and ankles).
 The bite area looks infected (increasing redness, warmth, swelling, pain or oozing pus).
 Symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, chills, stiff neck or back or muscle or joint aches develop.
For more informatin about ticks, visit the Center for Disease Control Site


Call Us                                                413-467-2345

Fax Us                                                 413-467-1451

Email Miss Donna                  

Email Miss Heather               

Email Miss Beckie                  

***Please note, you will receive an email response from an administrator typically within a few days.  Please check your spam or junk folders, as we often get sent there.***


CF History

The History

In the spring of 1999, a privately owned child care company in Granby was being subsumed in a share-holders’ dispute. The loss of that center would mean the loss of child care for almost thirty Granby families and the loss of many jobs.  Staff spent countless hours working to solve this problem. They asked parents and community members for help, formed a volunteer Board of Directors, and, by September, 1999, formed a new, non-profit [501(c)(3)] child care corporation: “Children First EnterprisesInc.” named because we wanted our company to “put children first.”  Donna Denette was one of the original co-creators.

We went through several organizational changes during the first two years, but finally settled on having an Executive Director to oversee the administration of the company in the spring of 2001.  Since then we have grown and improved both our pre-school program and our school age programs  In 2004 our pre-school became accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) [], an honor of which we were quite proud.  We also converted the barn on the property into a summer-use-only “clubhouse” for the school-agers to attend summer camp (some of our school-age programs function for the academic year out of the West St. School cafeteria which we rent from the Granby Public Schools).  As we grew and our reputation for providing excellent care and curriculum by a caring, educated, consistent staff grew with us, we OUTGREW our space. In 2006 we made a commitment to expand our facility. We were accepted into Building Stronger Centers, a program offered by the Children’s Investment Fund to help non-profit childcare companies expand and/or improve their services. We purchased 3.5 acres of land and the buildings that we had previously rented. We worked with an architect who specialized in the design of child care facilities as well as a local landscape architect. The result is our magical and wonderful Children First Center!

Our history is based on goal-setting, and each year we are committed to improving.  Our Grand Opening for our expansion was over six years ago, and we are already working with an architect for expansion II.  With this new expansion, we will dedicate one side of our building (the West Wing) to our School Agers.  This amazing space will be designed around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).  We will also be opening a 3rd preschool classroom, as we have already outgrown our waitlist with only two.  And lastely, we are opening a room for younger 2 year olds (Toddlers).



This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at<>.