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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.

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JRI First Connections Blog

Articles related to: Play

4 min read

What to expect in a playgroup

By Ellie Springer on December 23, 2019

What should I (the caregiver) do during playgroup?

First, be present and engaged. Please do your best not to be on your phone.

Play with your child and talk to other adults in the group. Connect with other adults in the room, those you know and those you don’t yet—remember you are all caring for young children and may have ways to support one another.

Follow your child’s lead and let them show you what

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3 min read

Why Sensory Play

By Ellie Springer on August 10, 2018

Do you see posts everywhere about sensory play for babies and toddlers? Are you wondering what sensory play is, or why so many people are doing it? Do you just HATE a mess, and so you have avoided sensory play?

Even though it can be messy, sensory play (things like water, play dough, sand, bins of dry rice or pasta, or combinations thereof) is a great way for children to learn many important skills. It really has

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1 min read

Play Dough Recipe

By Ellie Springer on July 6, 2018

To make homemade play dough:

Mix:

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons cream of tartar

Add:

2 cups of very HOT water (almost boiling)

Food coloring

Mix until you get a good consistency. There may be some flour left in the bowl. If it is too runny, add some flour. If it is too dry, add a little water.

After it cools, your kids can play with it.

Store in an

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2 min read

Sensory Play Ideas

By Ellie Springer on June 22, 2018

Materials for a sensory tub:

(other than the standard sand or water)

  • Cornstarch and water
  • Cooked spaghetti noodles
  • Shaving cream
  • Cotton balls
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Paper to rip and/or shredded paper
  • Soapy water
  • Ice cubes
  • Snow
  • Ribbons
  • Jell-O
  • Uncooked pasta
  • Dry cereal
  • Tin foil
  • Grass, leaves, flowers

Tools to add:

  • Sponges—car, doll, or toy wash
  • Turkey baster, medicine dropper
  • Colander, sieve
  • Buckets, shovels
  • Measuring cups
  • Funnel
  • Hammer (for dry cereal or pasta)
  • Empty bottles or
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A Blog to Connect Families with Resources to Foster Healthy Parenting

Our mission at First Connections is to equip parents with tools, practical strategies, and connections to other families and their communities to foster healthy parenting and guide them through the first years of the parenting journey.

We offer support groups and play groups to families with children from birth to age 8 in the communities of Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hanscom AFB, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury, and Westford.

Featured Posts

Choosing a preschool or child care

The first time you drop your child off at school or child care can be full of mixed emotions--for you

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Dialogic Reading

What is Dialogic Reading?

Some of you may have heard or read about dialogic reading in materials from First Connections

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