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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

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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5 min read


By Ellie Springer on June 15, 2018

You hear parents and other adults telling kids all the time, "Share your toys!" But do kids always have to share? And when can they do it without help from an adult and/or throwing a tantrum? 

           See the source image

Well, it all depends. It depends on the  situation, on the toy or activity your child is being asked to share, and on your child's developmental stage. And you also get

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6 min read

Playgroup Songs

By Ellie Springer on June 8, 2018

Playgroup Songs:

See the source image

Willoughby Wallaby

Willoughby wallaby Wellie,

An elephant sat on Ellie;

Willoughby wallaby Wary,

An elephant sat on Mary.


Ellie, Ellie, bo bellie,

Banana fana fo fellie,

Me my mo mellie,


The Jumping Name Song:

There was a girl at playgroup today,

And Ellie was her name-o.

Jump, jump, Ellie, jump.

Jump, jump, Ellie, jump.

We're glad you're here today-o!


Galloop went the little green frog one day,

Galloop went the

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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.

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