Early Childhood Services
MISSION: To provide quality early education & community support to children and families throughout our area.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Renee Menefee, the Early Childhood Services (ECS) Department is the central access point to providing education and support services for children, families and early education professionals in various settings in Shasta County. ECS is a department of Instructional Services, and is composed of seven divisions: Health and Nutrition, Early Education and Instruction, Inclusive Early Education, Eligibility and Enrollment, Family and Community Engagement Services, Operational, and Fiscal Services. A few of the ECS programs include subsidized child care, resource and referral services, parent and provider trainings, part and full-day preschool programs, inclusion programs, the Early Intervention Program, Help Me Grow, Bridges to School Success, Quality Counts North State, the Local Child Care and Development Planning Council, and nutrition education.
Eligibility and Enrollment Services provide the Alternative Payment (AP) child care subsidy programs and the Emergency Foster Bridge program for both Shasta and Tehama counties. Subsidy programs help pay for child care services while parents work, seek work, or attend education programs. The Emergency Foster Bridge program provides child care vouchers for up to six months of care, to resource families (foster parents) who are working and need care for the foster child. The families and child care providers receive training in Trauma-Informed Practices, to better support the child’s mental health.
Located at: 43 Hilltop Drive, Redding CA 96003 • (530) 225-0999
Early Education and Observation Center
In October 2022, Early Childhood Services will open the Early Education and Observation Center (EEOC) at 43 Hilltop Drive. The EEOC will be multifunctional with a focus on increasing access to inclusive, high quality early learning environments for all children. As the central access point to early childhood services and supports, multiple programs and agencies will co-locate under one roof to streamline processes, coordinate systems and break down barriers for children and families. The facility includes one classroom for conducting assessments, one classroom for providing behavior supports, an observation classroom for college students earning their credentials/permits, and numerous spaces for training and support services.
Inclusive Early Education
The Inclusive Early Education supports young children, their families and providers to ensure ALL children are included and thrive in their home as well as early learning and care environments. Programs provide wrap-around services that support the child and all of their adults. These types of programs help build consistent and nurturing environments during a phase of life when little brains are growing rapidly.
Early Connections, our local early intervention program, is a trans-disciplinary team that provides in-home services to families of children with disabilities in coordination with Far Northern Regional Center. Bridges to School Success, a group of mental health clinicians, provides behavioral support services to children, families, and providers. Help Me Grow, a program funded by First 5 Shasta, provides free screening of children for parents who have questions or concerns about their child’s development, behavior, or learning. This program also links families to appropriate community-based resources. The Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program is increasing access to inclusive early learning and care programs, particularly in low-income and high-need areas, for children with disabilities.
Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)/ Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK)
California’s historic investments in early education have created new and expanded opportunities to provide equitable learning experiences for all young students. Universal prekindergarten (UPK) implementation will rely on a mixed-delivery system, supported by investments in universal transitional kindergarten (UTK), state preschool, and expanded learning, as well as comprehensive support for multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Critical to the collaboration of multiple programs: transitional kindergarten, state preschool, and the additional delivery options offered through programs such as Head Start, community-based preschool programs, family child care, and family, friend, and neighbor care.
Transitional Kindergarten will become universal (creating a new grade level) by 2025-26 school year. The phase-in model begins in the 2022–23 school year with following age eligibility for children enrolling in transitional kindergarten.
5th birthday between September 2–February 2
5th birthday between September 2–April 2
5th birthday between September 2–June 2
4th birthday by September 1
EARLY EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTION
The Early Education and Instructional Services Division provides programming and supervision for our high-quality California State Preschools located at thirteen locations throughout Shasta County. The classrooms are primarily located on district campuses, ensuring a smooth transition for children as they move to TK or Kindergarten. Our curriculum provides two year, nine month to five year-old students with hands-on learning experiences in health, math, science, literacy and social skills. We recognize each child as an individual and foster their learning style and development by providing multiple ways to learn new concepts. We value the uniqueness of each family and provide multiple ways for them to be involved. These include training, Parent Advisory Council and Parents for Teachers groups. We strive to serve every family with kindness and compassion.
Quality Counts North State
The objective of Quality Counts North State is to continue the work to improve the quality in early childhood education in the North State. Early Childhood Services and First 5 Shasta continue to work as lead agencies for a group of northern counties, including Shasta, Modoc, Trinity, Glenn, Tehama, and Lassen. The Quality Counts North State Consortium provides support and incentives for child care programs, teachers, and administrators in participating child care settings to improve the quality of early care and education. They can earn stipends for materials and can attend professional development opportunities free of charge by participating. This work is supported by the Quality Counts California grant funding from both California Department of Education and First 5 California.
As an incentive to Quality Counts North State, participating teachers, administrators, and early education substitutes may take advantage of the Quality Counts North State scholarship program. This scholarship opportunity was developed in coordination between Shasta College, Shasta County Office of Education, and First 5 Shasta. The intent is to provide educational funding for individuals to attend a local educational institution, including Shasta College, Lassen College, Butte College, College of the Siskiyous, and/or Southern Oregon University, with little to no out-of-pocket expenses. If an applicant desires to attend another university, the option for reimbursement exists.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION SERVICES
Health and Nutrition Services provide nutrition education to family child care and preschool providers. Our staff can assist families in applying for CalFresh dollars. We also provide current training in pediatric and adult CPR, First Aid, and the eight hour Health and Safety Certification. In addition, we provide support and training to early education programs through our on-site/on-call school nurse, as well as hearing and vision assessments for Shasta County Office of Education State Preschool students.
Local Child Care and Development Planning Council (LPC)
The Local Child Care and Development Planning Council (LPC) is actively involved in advocating for early care and education needs within Shasta County. The purpose of the Council is to plan for child care and development services based on the needs of families in the local community. The mission of Shasta County LPC is to involve the community in supporting inclusive, high quality early care and education through public outreach. The Council continues to lead efforts in the needs, services, quality, and systems that pertain to early care and education in our county.
With a focus on high-quality inclusive care, LPC is tasked with assessing local child care needs, developing a county-wide strategic plan, setting zip code priorities for use of state funds, collaborating with local entities to carry out child care staff retention initiatives, and facilitating the temporary and voluntary transfer of funds between state-funded agencies. The LPC’s membership is composed of 15 voting members, appointed by the County Board of Supervisors, the County Superintendent of Schools and other non-voting members. Voting members exercise decision-making responsibility for LPC functions. Additionally, the Council acts as the advisory group for local early learning and care grant initiatives, including Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program, Quality Counts California, and countywide implementation of Universal Prekindergarten (UPK). Current Council membership consists of managers and directors from agencies providing child care and support services, parents receiving child care services, and employees from local businesses. Some of the businesses or agencies represented on the Council include Cornerstone Community Bank, Shasta College, Shasta County Office of Education, Shasta Head Start, First 5 Shasta, and Shasta County Public Health. Non-voting members, or attending members, on the Council include representation from Shasta Family YMCA, Reach Higher Shasta, Columbia School District, and the City of Redding.
In collaboration with Quality Counts North State, the Council is offering professional development guidance and financial incentives to child care providers through the Workforce Pathways Grant funded by the California Department of Education. The purpose of the Workforce Pathways Grant is to support increased learning and healthy development of California’s young children by increasing the number of qualified early learning and care professionals and increasing the educational credentials, knowledge, and competencies of existing professionals across the state.