Connections 4 Kids trying to launch childcare course

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Connections 4 Kids Coordinator Barb West said her group is hoping to offer a learning course for childcare professionals.

But, the course needs teachers and students first.

“We’re looking for both, really,” West said. “We not only need a teaching team, but we need enough students so we can put it on.”

The course is the Expanding Quality Infant Toddler Initiative, or EQIT.

It is a 48-hour course that is taught in 16 three-hour modules, which include lessons on emotional development, responsive caregiving, healthy relationships, family partnering, safety, health, nutrition and more.

The class meets some licensing requirements for childcare professionals working in Colorado.

It can also be taken for college credit through Colorado North-

western Community College.

Connections 4 Kids, an early childhood council for Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, is hosting the course through grant money provided by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Childcare.

The course needs at least seven students.

“The state won’t teach a smaller number because of the expense,” West said.

There’s also the matter of finding teachers, she added.

“The teaching team has to be trained in Expanding Quality — there’s a specific curriculum,” she said.

West said the training requirement makes for few qualified applicants.

“They know who they are,” West said. “There’s only a few qualified teachers in the community. We have two trained teachers in Moffat (County), there’s at least one in Grand (County), there’s two or three in Routt (County).”

West said Connections 4 Kids would only accept requests for proposals from residents of Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties.

Connections 4 Kids will accept RFPs from qualified applicants and student enrollment applications through Feb. 11.

The dates, times and place for the course are to be determined.

EQIT was offered last spring.

Becky Ridings, a group leader at Angels and Outlaws Academy — a childcare center in Meeker — attended the course along with fellow employees.

“The class was great,” Ridings said. “I mean, it was something we all had to have in order to get our group leader qualifications, but the class was great.”

Ridings said the EQIT curriculum was common sense, for the most part.

“Actually, if you’re in the childcare industry, it all seemed like stuff we should already know,” Ridings said. “But, it’s required by the state.”

For more information on teaching or attending EQIT, contact Barb West at 824-8282, ext. 47. RFP forms are available at www.connections4kids.org.

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