Do Something.

Remember those annoying camp songs you sang every year, particularly the ones that repeated themselves with the ending, “Same song, different verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse?”

Welcome to the state of America’s children.

As this article clearly states, our future isn’t looking any better than it was a few years ago (no, we don’t need shades for this one).  The number of children living below the poverty line is increasing; families are having an even harder time raising tomorrow’s leaders.

How can we expect great things to happen here when parents spend 30% of their income on child care alone? Child care which, for the most part, isn’t even exceptional, isn’t really preparing our children for the task of starting school.

We live in a society where people will stand in line for hours just to be among the first to buy the newest smart phone, yet we won’t stand up for providing the best early care and education for our children.

We should all adhere to Frederick Douglass’s insight: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

How long will it take us to realize that we are only hurting ourselves? We don’t need to focus so much on amending the problem as we do in preventing it.

Here’s my challenge to you: do one thing this month for our children. For five minutes, get off your social network, put down your smart phone, press “pause” on your DVR. Take a few minutes to take the first step in creating a better economic future for Alabama. Here are some suggestions: {links to all will be given}

There is no better time than now: what are you waiting for?

“Oh, the thinks you can think!”

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” 
― Dr. Seuss
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Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Celebrate the beloved children’s author today by simply reading to your child.
Take the literacy experience deeper with these ideas:
  • Talk about the pictures. “What do you see?” “Where else have you seen that?” “What color is the car?”
  • Ask questions about the story. “Why did she do that?” “What do you think will happen next?”
  • Point to the text as you read it.
Need books to read? Visit your local library in Blount CountyJefferson County, Shelby County, or Walker County.
Want more fun? Visit Seussville for more fun ideas!
While you are at it, check out our Dr. Seuss Pinterest board too!
Leave a comment and let us know how you celebrated today. Or, even better, post a picture to our Facebook page!
And remember: “When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really PLAYED.” 

― Dr. Seuss

Three Words: FREE Family FUN!

Now that the rush of back to school has died down, I’m sure you’ve had an opportunity to take a deep breath and unwind a little.

Back to school can bring lots of stress: getting the right school supplies, meeting new teachers, learning new rules and, of course, new expectations.

Childcare Resources believes that all children should have the opportunity to succeed.  We believe that family literacy is a great way to teach a variety of skills to prepare children for school.

That’s why Childcare Resources is proud to again participate in Read and Romp! Birmingham. Join us on Saturday, September 15th at Railroad Park from 9 am – 12 pm. Families with children ages 3 – 5 years will enjoy activities ranging from arts and crafts to physical activities, all which revolve around book themes. At the end of your fun, collect a free bag of books to enjoy at home!

Still not convinced it’s worth your time? Check out some of the fun from last year below!

Childcare Resources volunteers provided face paining to all attendees.Families participate in activities together at tables sponsored by various organizations.

Last year, our book was My First Book of Sign Language. We decorated hands with glitter, crayons, markers and stickers and learned simple signs. This year, our book is Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! Come find out what fun we’ll have to go along with it!

See you next Saturday!

Read and Romp! Birmingham 2012 is sponsored by United Way Success by 6, The Community Foundation of Birmingham, BAM!, Infinity Auto Insurance and Reach Out and Read Alabama.

It’s the Day Before the Ball!

The land of Fairy Tales is in a frenzy today; everyone is busy taking care of last minute details for the Fairy Tale Ball.  Fairies are polishing their wings; princesses are inspecting their dresses; superheroes are testing their powers; and wizards are perfecting their spells.

Childcare Resources’ Junior Board and staff members are busy as well, loading supplies, finalizing plans, and making decorations. A lot of time and effort has gone into preparations, and we can’t wait for you to see it! We appreciate all the support we have had from corporations, such as Alabama Power. (It takes quite a bit of energy to put on a Ball!)

What are you doing? Are you still thinking about attending? Have you purchased your family pack of tickets? Has your princess decided which dress to wear?

We hope these are some of the questions you are contemplating today. Moreover, we hope you have learned more about Childcare Resources, our mission and our work as we have prepared for the Ball. We’d love to share this experience with you and your family!

Remember: tickets may also be purchased at the door!

We Need a Contest Winner!

The Fairy Tale Ball is only two days away, and Princess Merida is busy sharpening her skills for the dance floor.  (Hey, she’s already a great shot at archery, why not?)

She has also been practicing her signature and stocking up on pens, since every child receives a souvenir book with plenty of room for autographs. She just knows she’ll be the talk of the Ball and sign more autographs than any other character! After all, all of the children will have the opportunity to play in her enchanted forest and play games.

Speaking of stocking up on pens, Childcare Resources Resource and Referral team keeps a large quantity on hand too! Our Supplemental Child Care Program (SCCP) assists eligible parents with paying for the cost of child care. Based on a sliding scale related to family size and income, parents pay a portion of the cost of care and Childcare Resources pays the rest.  Lots of pens are needed to complete all of the applications necessary to apply, but it is well worth the time and effort!

Helping local families afford quality child care is a vital aspect of Childcare Resources.  Many working families turn to us to assist their needs, but when funding is low, our services are limited.  Due to decreases in government funding for SCCP, as of May 15, 2012, we have suspended further applications for this vital program.

Your ticket purchase to the Fairy Tale Ball provides the support needed to sustain and grow the programs offered by Childcare Resources – programs that help give our children the best start in life.

Birmingham was recently named the third largest metro area for charitable giving. We hope you will consider contributing to our area’s generosity by attending the Ball and making memories with your family!

You never know, you might end up on television.  Our good friends at CBS 42 are a generous supporter and will be there to check out all the fun too!

Contest Alert!

It’s always great to look your best if you appear on television, right? Make sure you princess or wizard is ready by entering our hairstyle contest! You must be a verified guest (meaning you need to have purchased tickets in advance) to enter. The winner will be chosen tomorrow at 12:00 pm. Don’t miss out on another fun experience to add to your family’s Fairy Tale Ball memories!

A special thanks goes out to XCell Academy for sponsoring the contest!

What’s the llama doing Six Days before the Ball

Yes, I said llama. “But wait,” you say, “I don’t recall a fairy tale featuring a llama.”

Neither can I. (But I’m sure there were lots of llamas roaming around in the background of fairy tales. . . ).

Childcare Resources supports family activities. We believe that children learn best from their parents through daily interactions and shared experiences.  Our work supports parents in their role as their child’s first and most important teacher by offering resources, programs and “Parenting Counts” workshops.

Childcare Resources’ experienced child development consultants are eager to provide these services for you—contact us to schedule a session!

One easy way to spend time together every day is reading books.  In fact, we will be encouraging this activity at the Fairy Tale Ball.  Guess who will also be there?

You guessed it: a llama!  Make sure to visit the “Llama Llama Read-a-Rama” area during the Fairy Tale Ball. Stop by to read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and meet Tatoo  (courtesy of AlaLlama Llama Farm – Steele). He might even pose for a picture or two!

So, as I asked before, with six days to go until the Fairy Tale Ball, what’s the llama doing?

“Llama llama
red pajama
waiting waiting
for his mama.

Will she take him
to the Ball?
baby llama
starts to bawl.

Llama llama
red pajama
begs oh pretty
please dear mama!

Baby llama,
what a fuss!
I will take you
but you must hush!

Please stop all this
llama drama
and be grateful
for your mama.

Llama llama
red pajama
quietly says thank you
to his mama.”

(Inspired by Llama Llama Red Pajama)