JRI/COVID-19 Navigator

Do you have a question about how JRI services, related to COVID-19 or otherwise?

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

11 min read

Talking about race and racism with young children

By Ellie Springer on June 8, 2020

Race and racism are tough for adults to talk about in this country, and many adults think that by not talking to children about race, they will grow up "color-blind" and not racist. But the truth is that children begin to notice racial differences as early as 6 months, and because racism and biases DO exist in our society, children see it and learn it. By the time they are preschool age, children can internalize racial biases

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4 min read

COVID 19 resources for parents

By Ellie Springer on March 19, 2020

We have a blog post with sites for you to find activities for your children, but what about the grown ups? We know this is a very stressful time, and you may be experiencing more anxiety than usual. You may also be wondering about the safest way to feed your baby, especially if you become sick. So we have put together some resources for parents: information about feeding your baby, talking to your children about

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4 min read

Quarantined with kids online resources

By Ellie Springer on March 18, 2020

I know there are a lot of posts on social media about websites, apps, videos, etc. to keep kids busy and learning during the coronavirus quarantine, but I wanted to put together a list of some of the best ones I found that were really good for young children. It is of course not comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you a place to start. And I would be remiss if I didn't say that nothing can

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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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7 min read

Transitions

By Ellie Springer on November 20, 2019

Transitions

You have probably heard about transitions being hard for young children. Or, if you haven’t heard this, you have probably noticed that some of the hardest times with your child are times when you are moving from one activity to another—getting out of the house, going to bed—or when any big changes happen in their lives. Transitions are hard for all children, and they can be especially difficult for some children, depending on their

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6 min read

All Feelings are Okay

By Ellie Springer on July 3, 2019

A teacher I know and respect very much says, "We don't stop happy, why do we stop sad?" I love this saying, as it highlights how we as adults often try to stop children from expressing "negative" emotions like sadness, fear, or anger. Our culture in general discourages us all from expressing those feelings. But we all have a range of emotions, and we can't be happy all the time!

To help children grow up to

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2 min read

Developmental Milestones

By Ellie Springer on May 30, 2019

I often come across websites and apps that detail what to expect as your child develops and give tips on how to promote healthy development. These websites can also give you ideas of when you might need to get additional screening for your child. I am collecting a list of these sites and apps here to make them easier to find.

CDC has a milestone tracker app and pamphlets:

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones-app.html

Mass.gov has videos about development

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5 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 4--Rewards and Punishment

By Ellie Springer on February 22, 2019

Is it better to use punishment or rewards to change your child's behavior? I read a great New York Times article last summer about how the best choice is really something else entirely. The article is a bit long, but it has a lot of helpful information and gives specific ideas of things you should say instead of just what not to say.

What it boils down to is this: neither punishment nor rewards is

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4 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 3: Time Outs

By Ellie Springer on December 14, 2018

What about time outs? I am not a big fan of time outs where you just put your child in a corner by himself for a specific amount of time--a minute for each year of his age is one I hear a lot. What is he learning there? That seems to me like punishment, not discipline. I once heard someone compare time outs athletes take during a game or practice to the ones we

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5 min read

Discipline for Young Children, Part 2

By Ellie Springer on December 8, 2018

This is my second post on discipline for young children. If you want more of an overview and some key points to keep in mind when developing an approach to discipline for your family, check out my first post.

One caveat to all this is that every family and every child is different. What works with one child may not work with another child, and what one parent is comfortable doing, another is not. And

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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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