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Little Feet Daycare: proud of its dedication to children

Aspen Times Staff Report

Kids First is using its weekly column to feature a local child-care center each week. There are 14 licensed child-care providers in Pitkin County. They all offer different programs with different philosophies.

Selecting the right program for your child is one of the most important decisions you can make. When choosing a daycare program, it is best to visit and ask questions.

Kids First can provide parents with a checklist of questions and things to look for in a caregiver. There is also a resource library in the Kids First office with plenty of information on early childhood development and parenting.

The atmosphere is always full of excitement and discovery at Little Feet Daycare, a nonprofit organization that provides early child care and education in the upper Roaring Fork Valley.

Artwork is proudly displayed throughout the center, from finger-painted images to more complex collages. Nameboards identify children and their birthdays. Words, signs and pictures give children lots of visuals to help with their learning.

Children are constantly engaged in activities and learning through play in a brightly colored playhouse. Located at 0405 Castle Creek Road, next to Aspen Valley Hospital, Little Feet is open Monday through Friday for care on a full- and part-time basis. Little Feet serves all children from the ages of six weeks to five years. There is an infant room, a toddler and a preschool program.

The philosophy of Little Feet is child-centered. The teachers believe in providing the right learning environment for children rather than having an over-structured program that may not meet the needs of the individual child. They believe strongly in parent participation and require each family to volunteer a minimum of 12 hours of their time per year or pay a fee in lieu of their time.

This winter, the preschool children are involved in many field trips throughout the week: skiing on Fridays and going to the library for storyhour on Tuesdays. They also go for long walks and trips to Aspen Highlands for hot chocolate.

All of the preschoolers are involved in an emergent literacy program and can write their names and recognize their friend’s names. With the teacher’s help, they write stories and poems and later act out their stories with classmates. There is also a cozy reading nook where children share books with one another and their teachers.

The big event in the toddler room right now is the construction of a new loft, creating more space for the children to play. The loft is being built by parent volunteer Richard Medina.

“It’s the nicest loft in town,” said Jeanette Hayworth, director at Little Feet. Hayworth works closely with her staff and is also in the classroom quite a bit. She is beginning work to get the center accreditation, which will mean more training and classes for the teachers.

She also works closely with a board of directors, implementing policy and overseeing operations.

“We are currently looking for new board members,” she said. “We would love to have anyone with an interest in early childhood care and education join.”

Anyone interested in being on the board should call Hayworth at 920-9000.

Kids First is a department of the city of Aspen funded by the affordable housing/day care tax. Kids First provides information and funding for early childhood programs. For information, contact Amy or Shirley at 920-5363 or kids_first@ci.aspen.co.us. The Kids First column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.

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