Spring Newsletter
April, May and June 2018

Registration required for all programs: lmatthews@jri.org
Spring Parent Education Programs

Guest Speaker on Fatherhood
John Carr, LICSW, will speak with dads at this special presentation for fathers of young children. He is the author of "Becoming a Dad - The First Three Years", an adjunct professor at Boston College and has a private practice. John will speak on defining your role as a father, developmental milestones of young children, and developing a co-parenting strategy in the early years. All dads are welcome - bring your questions! John will speak for the first hour of the program and discussion will follow.  Please RSVP so we have an accurate head count for handouts: lmatthews@jri.org or 978-429-8284 x202.  John is the father of three. He specializes in working with expectant and new fathers, and 20- and 30-somethings. Held in the Trustees Room.  Tuesday, May 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Maynard Public Library, 77 Nason Street 

The following presentations are open to anyone and free of charge - if you are not already attending the playgroup or support group in which this topic is going to be presented, please email lmatthews@jri.org to let us know you're planning to join us so we have enough handouts and seating. 
We are grateful to the Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies professionals for their donation of time and expertise sharing important developmental information with our families. Thank you!

"Sensory Play" will be presented by Irene Gibbons, OTR/L, at St. Mark's Church in Westford on Tuesday, March 27, 2:00-2:30 p.m.

"Motor Development in the First 12 Months of Life" will be presented by Mary Evans, DPT, at Emerson Health Center in Westford on Tuesday, April 10, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Babies welcome!

"Picky Eating in Young Children" will be presented by Speech-Language Pathologist Marahu Falcon George at Concord Carousel Preschool in West Concord on Tuesday, June 12, 10-10:30. Childcare is available with advance reservations.

"Developing Self-Help Skills in Young Children" will be presented by Occupational Therapist Mary Tello at First Connections in Acton on Monday, June 11, 10-10:30.

"Parenting the Bilingual Child" was presented to parents last Fall - please read this very informative overview of the information shared by the speech-language pathologist if you are speaking more than one language in your home:

Brain Building in Progress Week!

Parent and Child Events 

To register, email lmatthews@jri.org with # and ages attending.


Friday, April 13, 10-11:30 focusing on 2-5 Year Olds

Nurturing Young Children's Literacy Development

Guest speaker: Sharon Ryan, Curriculum Specialist for Literacy and Social Studies, Acton-Boxborough Elementary Schools

"Emergent literacy starts in the everyday interactions of children in their homes, in their communities, and in their preschools. The environment plays an important role in how children become literate, and emergent literacy reinforces the notion that literacy is a social process." (Teal, 2017) Sharon will discuss ideas about the kinds of activities that families can enjoy together to nurture young children's literacy development. Parents can listen to Sharon while their children play in the playroom with supervision. There will be a circle time with parents and children after the discussion, handouts to bring home, and a new book for each child to choose. If you need childcare during the presentation, please request it when you register and arrive at 9:45 to transition your child before the talk begins. 

brain building Held at First Connections, Acton


Friday, April 13, 2-3:00 for 3-5 Year Olds

Nature Exploration for Families: Presentation and Tour by Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge

Come to an interactive presentation by educators from the ARNWR. Parents and children will learn about the plants and animals in our area and how you can look for signs of spring. Admission to the refuge is free (no dogs allowed), so you are welcome to stay after the presentation and explore the trails through the woods and around the wetlands and ponds. Limited to 20 children.

Held at 680 Hudson Road, Sudbury, in the Visitors' Center


Wednesday, April 18, 10-11:00 for 6-18 Months

Brain Building for Little Ones

Did you know your baby is making millions of new neural connections in his brain every day, every  hour? And you can help your young child make and strengthen those connections just by talking and playing with him. This program will introduce you to some information about babies' and toddlers' development and ways to promote brain building on your own. We will have fun activities to do here, including some messy sensory play, and will sing songs and read books together. Held at First Connections, Acton 

Last Chance to Register for

6-Week Raising Challenging Children  Aged 3-6
Facilitated by Patty Marquis, LICSW

"Challenging Children" are often very bright and interested in many things. They may also be uncooperative and have a hard time with basic tasks such as mealtimes, dressing and transitioning between activities. If you have read parenting books, been using ineffective discipline techniques, tried other parenting seminars or groups, or are wondering if there's more going on with your child than his peers, then this workshop may be helpful. Please read the full description of this program by clicking on "Challenging Child Workshop" at:
Fridays, 9:30-11:00, on April 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25, and June 1
Held at First Connections in Acton
To register, email lmatthews@jri.org for a questionnaire. There are no fees for this program.
Ask the Dentist!
A visit with Padma Jonnavithula, DMD, of North Acton Dental
Parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers often have questions around how and when to prepare their child for his/her first dental visit. What if your child falls and injures a tooth? How do you care for erupting teeth and the discomfort that may come with it for your infant/toddler? And don't forget about expectant mom's special dental needs. Our guest speaker graduated from Tufts Dental School in Boston, but she was a practicing dentist in India prior to that; and her childhood was spent in Zambia, Africa! Please join us for an informative discussion with this family dentist who draws on her exposure to different cultures and traditions to help and understand her patients better. To attend, email lmatthews@jri.org. Please request childcare when registering if needed during the presentation.
Held at First Connections in Acton
Wednesday, April 4, 10-11:00 a.m.

First-time Moms Group
6-Week group includes a different topic each week such as: Adjusting to your new role, Changes in relationships, Work/family life balance, Sleeping, feeding, crying and infant development. Facilitated by Mary Beilman, who is certified in lactation support. Please register for this program: lmatthews@jri.org or 978-429-8284.  
Meets on Mondays, May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 18, 1:00-2:30 p.m. 
Gleason Library, Carlisle

New Moms Group
Any mother with a pre-crawling baby is welcome to attend this ongoing weekly support group facilitated by Emerson Hospital and First Connections. This open discussion group is a forum for you to share experiences and resources, connect with other new mothers, and seek guidance about any concerns you might have. Facilitators are certified in lactation support.  No registration required. Directions can be emailed ( lmatthews@jri.org). A  Babywearing Demonstration will take place at the June 6 New Moms Group held at First Connections in Acton from 1-2:30 p.m.  Bring your slings and carriers and questions, or try out some of the different styles to see which one is right for you!
Every Wednesday, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
First Connections, 179 Great Road, #104A, Acton 

Emotional Well-being After Baby Group
Emotional challenges are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, yet mothers often feel isolated and ashamed if they are struggling. Mothers experiencing anxiety or depression or who are feeling overwhelmed in the postpartum year can come together for this supportive, nonjudgmental, confidential group to learn from each other and acquire coping and self-care strategies. While this is an ongoing, weekly group, before attending for the first time please contact the facilitator, Heather O'Brien, LICSW, at hobrien @jri.org or 978-429-8284, ext. 219. Childcare provided for older siblings with advance notice.
Every Thursday, 10-11:30 a.m., at First Connections, Acton
New Dads Group
Our new dads group meets monthly to allow dads to make connections with other fathers, ask questions, exchange tips, and share their experiences of parenthood. There are many adjustments when a new baby enters your home which can affect relationships with family, friends, and partners. A brief topic will be presented each month in addition to checking in with those who wish to participate in a discussion. Fathers are welcome to attend with or without babies. Facilitated by Heather O'Brien, LICSW.  If you'd like to be added to the monthly email reminder list which will announce the topic prior to each group, email hobrien@jri.org  
Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 p.m., April 11, May 15 (see guest speaker above), June 13

Do you Live in Acton or Boxborough 

and Have a New Baby?


If you have welcomed a child into your lives since May of 2017, are welcoming a new child in the coming months, or were unable to attend last spring's event, please join Acton-Boxborough Family Network for their New Baby Event! Enjoy a free music and movement class as well as admission to a beautiful indoor play space. The whole family is invited with siblings up to age 6 welcome to join the fun. Snacks will be provided along with information on community resources for families with infants. Prospective ABFN members may attend as space allows, so please email newbaby@abfamily.org for more information and to let them know you'd like to attend. Learn more at www.abfamily.org 

Sunday, May 20, 2:00-3:30 p.m., Jam Time, 86 Powder Mill Road, Maynard


Do You Live in Bedford and Have Become a New Mother by Birth or Adoption since April 1, 2017? 

Please Join Bedford Family Connections for their Annual New Moms Brunch! Every Spring BFC welcomes and celebrates all Bedford moms of babies under 1 year (whether it's your first or tenth!). It's a great way to meet local moms.Open to all moms - you need not be a BFC member. If you know someone with a baby or have had a baby yourself, please email us as soon as possible with your name, address, email, phone number, child's name and date of birth so we can mail you the official invitation with details: newmomsbrunch@bfctoday.com. Learn more at www.BFCToday.com  

Saturday, May 5, 11:00-1:00


Concord Family Network Spring Egg Hunt 

is Open to All!

This year's egg hunt will take place at the Old Manse, 269 Monument Street in Concord. There will be 3 hunts based on age: 5-8 years at 3:30, 3-4 years at 3:45, and 0-2 years at 4:00. Crafts, refreshments and a chance to meet other families with young children! RSVP required on CFN's website: www.concordfamilynetwork.org 

Saturday, March 31, 3-5:00 p.m. 


The last Babies & Books Free Saturday Event on March 31 will feature local award-winning author Linda Booth Sweeney! Doors open at 10:00 and storytime begins at 10:30. All families with children 0-24 months are welcome. Please bring a blanket for your little ones to lie on. Donations to Open Table Food Pantry (www.opentable.org) will be collected - the most requested items are: Diapers sizes 4/5/6, grape jelly or strawberry jam, or dried beans. Please RSVP if you would like to attend Babies & Books: lyndaferrari@gmail.com 


Weekend Family Playgroup Open to All 

 Westford Young Child Network has scheduled a Sunday afternoon playgroup for families with children 6 and under. Playtime takes place at Roudenbush's Frost School thanks to Roudenbush Community Center's donation of space! For any questions or to sign up to attend, please email westfordyoungchildnetwork@gmail.com or find out more at https://www.facebook.com/westfordyoungchildnetwork/ 

April 8, April 22, May 6, 3:30-4:30

Play is a child's work. Play creates pathways in a child's developing brain that are critical for receiving information and learning. Our spring programs provide quality play time that can actually alter and enhance the brains of children who participate in a positive, permanent way. Registration is required by emailing lmatthews@jri.org or calling 978-429-8284. Playgroups are free of charge and require an adult participant - MOMS, DADS, GRANDPARENTS, CAREGIVERS. Your child should be registered for a playgroup that includes his/her age on the day the group begins.  Families may sign up for one weekly group per child. Grant funding necessitates prioritizing registration for families living in our 11-town catchment area for children 12 months and older. Supplemental funding allows participation from any town in our first-year-of-life programs.   

3-11 Month Baby Playgroup
This group includes developmental discussions and handouts, playtime, circle time with finger plays, rhymes and songs. Based on the Parents Interacting With Infants model. Open to parents residing in any town. This group is for babies who are 3-9 months, and those 10-11 months who are not actively crawling. Limited to 12. Begins April 26.
Meets Thursdays, 10:30-11:30, at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough 

10-20 Months Young Toddler Literacy Playgroup
This group is for babies who are just about to be toddlers and toddlers who have just stopped being babies. There will be free play time at the beginning, and stories and songs at the end. The facilitator will be available to talk to and answer questions, but we won't have the same structured adult talking time as in baby playgroup because the children are starting to move around. Each family will borrow a book bag each week; Based on the Reading Rockets model. 
Meets Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00, at First Connections in Acton. Begins April 25
Toddler Art-Literacy Playgroup for One Year Olds
This group is for confidently walking toddlers and will include free play in a preschool classroom with time to work on social skills such as sharing and waiting for a turn. Some art and sensory activities may be messy or wet so don't wear your best clothes! Circle time and Reading Rockets handouts will help continue learning at home. Begins May 4. Appropriate for ages 12-23 months.
Meets Fridays at Village Nursery School in Harvard, 10:00-11:00

Multilingual Raising a Reader Playgroup for Ages 1 1/2 thru 5
This group is specifically for families who are conversing in a language other than English as part of their family culture and daily life. The group will include a Read & Rise monthly parent discussion topic, led by a parent educator, centering on how culture, traditions, and everyday fun family experiences can help foster your child's literacy and language development. Each family will bring home a different bag of books to read each week. Please bring a snack for your child and let us know of any anaphylactic allergies so we can alert the rest of the group. If you are new to the group, please let us know what language other than English is spoken at home on a daily basis. 
Meets Mondays, 9:30-11:00 at First Connections, Acton. Begins April 23
Social and Emotional Skills Playgroup for 2 & 3 Year Olds
This playgroup will use the Mass. Early Learning Standards and Approaches to Play and Learning for social and emotional development. The group will include free play, a weekly learning activity, snack time, story and circle time. Please bring a snack and inform us during registration if your child has an anaphylactic food allergy. Infant siblings in carriers welcome.
Meets Tuesdays, 9:30-11:00 at Concord Carousel Preschool. Begins April 24.
Meets Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00 at Roudenbush Preschool in Westford. Begins April 24.
Outdoor Explorations Group for Ages 3 thru 5
Spring brings with it many changes so we're heading outside to explore nature trails, the river and woods. We'll read a different book each week and children will be encouraged to talk about any discoveries they've made during the week in their own back yards. We will be exploring a new conservation area - Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, using the Sudbury entrance where there is a great hands-on visitor's learning center with plenty of parking. Babies are welcome in a carrier/sling/backpack. Some areas are stroller-friendly, but to get close to the water and explore the trails we may encounter places where strollers cannot maneuver.
Meets Fridays, 1:30-2:30 at 680 Hudson Road. Begins May 4

Sibling Playgroup for Ages 2-5 (baby siblings welcome)
Children will explore art, sensory, STEM and literacy activities as well as have free play and circle time with songs and stories. This is a great chance for children of different ages to play together and learn from each other. Reading Rocket handouts will help continue learning at home. Begins April 25.
Meets Wednesdays, 1:30-2:30 at First Parish Church in Bedford Center
Sing and Play in Spanish Group for Ages 1-5 -
New Members Welcome!
This playgroup is for parents and children who already speak or understand Spanish as all songs, stories and conversation will be in Spanish. Led by our super volunteer, Ibeliza Jaffe, a Venezuelan Montessori Teacher. Families who are currently in this group should confirm they are continuing so we know how many openings there are for new participants. Does not meet weekly, so can be combined with another group. Email lmatthews@jri.org to sign up for reminders. 
Meets at Gleason Library in Carlisle on Fridays, April 13, May 4 & 18, June 1, 1:30-3:00   
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Free Monthly Support Group h eld at Acton Senior Center
Come share the rewards and challenges of raising your grandchildren. Learn from other grandparents and experts about legal strategies and resources. Discover ways to relieve the stress. Benefit from the knowledge available through the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and hear about State agencies which can provide assistance. Contact Joe O'Leary with questions: 978-760-0360 or j.j.oleary@comcast.net  
Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 11:00-12:00, 30 Sudbury Road, Rear, Acton
This spring the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren will be presenting 3-hour workshops for grandparents free of charge throughout the state. In addition to topic presenters, there will be representatives from DCF, DTA, MassHealth, WIC, and Elder Services to provide resources. 

April 4: The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Haverhill YMCA, 81 Winter Street, 9:30-12:30
May 24: Internet Safety/Cyberbullying
The Athol Senior Center, 82 Freedom Street, 9:30-12:30
May 30: Grief and Loss for Children and Families
Sandwich YMCA Camp Lyndon, 117 Stowe Road, 5:30-8 p.m.

Childcare is available for all 3 workshops - please request it when you register by contacting Colleen Pritoni, 617-748-2454 or emailing colleen.pritoni@state.ma.us .

The 8th Annual Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference will take place on June 6 in Marlborough. This program is open to grandparents as well as professionals. For details and to register, http://massgrg.com/web/index.html  
Acton-Boxborough-Harvard-Littleton Early Childhood Council
offers workshops throughout the school year to parents, educators and administrators on a variety of important topics, open to anyone interested in the growth and development of young children and families. 

"Flashing Screen and the Case FOR 
Children's Media"
presented by Meghan McGinley Crowe, M.Ed.
Tuesday, April 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Held at Mt. Calvary Preschool, Acton 
For more information and to register, go to the Events page at:
or email ABHLearlychildhoodcouncil@gmail.com

Preschool Scholarships
The Council also provides partial preschool scholarships to low- and moderate-income working families with children who are 4 years old, have never been to preschool, are residents of one of the 4 towns, and will be entering kindergarten the following year. Use the above email  to inquire about applying to this fund.  

PTO Summer Camp Fair and
Sports Equipment Sale
Tuesday, March 27
6:30-8:30 pm
Carlisle Public Schools Dining Hall,  83 School Street
At least 24 summer camps and activities will be present to answer your questions and learn about opportunities for your children this summer. Come and see what might be a good match for your child - from traditional to technology, theater to music. Raffles and prizes every 15 minutes too!
See the list of camps attending at: www.carlislemapto.org
Doli Atamian Campership Applications
Income eligible families living in Acton and Boxboro who require financial assistance in order for their child to be able to participate in a summer camp program this year, can apply  for a $250 scholarship by visiting this website:
If you have any concerns about your 3 or 4 year old's development, your public school can provide a free screening which will show your child's strengths and weaknesses in areas such as speech, language, fine and gross motor development, vision, hearing, and social growth and development. Contacts for each of our catchment towns are listed below.

Smoothing the Transition to Kindergarten: 
Ways Families Can Best Support 
School Readiness
Free and Open to All
Guest Speaker: Jeanine Fitzgerald
Monday, May 14, 7:00 p.m.
Thoreau Elementary School Auditorium, 29 Prairie St., Concord
For more information: www.centerforparentsandteachers.org 

Concord Public Schools
Kindergarten Registration Dates
Alcott: April 24 or May 1,  1-3:00 p.m. 
Thoreau:  April 10, 1:15 p.m. 
Willard: April 24 or 26, 1-3:00 p.m. 
If you haven't received a registration packet, please call your school

To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact Janet O'Shea:
joshea@concordps.org or 978-202-1147 

Bedford Kindergarten Registration 
If your child will be 5 by 8/31/17 and you have not registered for kindergarten, email: Kelly_Anderson@bedfordps.org  
Include your child's name, address, and date of birth. T o request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, call 781-275-1700 x4402.
Sudbury's Kindergarten
Orientation Day is June 5, 2018
Please confirm the exact time:
Loring School: 978-443-0870
Nixon School: 978-443-1080
Haynes School: 978-443-1093
Noyes School: 978-443-1085
If your child will be 5 by 10/1/17 and you have not registered, contact michele_horan@sudbury.k12.ma.us

To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact Stephanie_Juriansz@sudbury.k12.ma.us or call 978-639-3204
Carlisle Public Schools Kindergarten Information Night for Parents
May 3, 2018
Held in the school auditorium from 7-8:00
  Kindergarten Screenings will take place
May 21  
all day by appointment. For more information call 978-369-6550 or email asmack@carlisle.k12.ma.us  
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact Will Verbits, 978-369-3758
Lincoln Public Schools
Parents of children who will turn 5 by October 1, 2018, should fill out the Kindergarten Intent to Register Form located at: https://www.lincnet.org/Page/5051
To schedule a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, call 781-259-9403.

Maynard's Green Meadow School  Kindergarten Screenings
April 26 & 27, 2018
Kindergarten screenings are for children who will be 5 before September 1, 2017 and have registered for kindergarten.  
Spanish Immersion Registrations are due April 6. Questions? 978-897-6700
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, call 978-897-2138.  

Acton-Boxborough Kindergarten Night 2018
If you missed it, the video is posted at:
Pre-kindergarten Assessment Forms are due May 31st.  
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact jgibowicz@abschools.org   
Acton-Boxboro Family Network
Kindergarten Social
Saturday, June 10, 2018  
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Goward Playground at Acton Library
RSVP required including your name and # of family members attending: kindysocial@abfamily.org.
Come meet  your classmates with color-coded name tags for kids and parents. Free and open to all Acton & Boxboro families with a 2018 Kindergarten student. Beverages provided. 
Hildreth Elem. School, Harvard 
Children who will be 5 by 8/31/17 and have not registered for kindergarten should contact jdrennen@psharvard.org.  
Kindergarten Connection  
If you have not joined Harvard Family Association's Kindergarten Connection yet, email harvardfamily@gmail.com to be added to the list of opportunities for your child to get to know his/her classmates before school begins. Free program! 
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact Dr. Marie Harrington, 978-456-4143. 
Westford Kindergarten Information Nights for Parents
Nabnasset: May 7 , 6:30 p.m.
Screenings take place May 10 & 11 
Miller: 978-392-4476
Robinson: 978-692-5586
Kindergarten screenings take place in May.
Full-day kindergarten lottery will be held on  March 27.  www.westfordk12.us
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, call Nichole Cailler,  978-692-5560 x2132
Littleton Public Schools Kindergarten Screenings
March 27 & 28 by appt.
Contact Shaker Lane School if your child will be 5 by 9/1/16 and you have not registered for kindergarten yet:  978-486-3959. 
To request a developmental screening for your 3 or 4 year old, contact rcotter@littletonps.org  



Meet Bunnies & Guinea Pigs in Westford

Thursday, March 29

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Fletcher Library

50 Main Street

4-H club members will be in the meeting room to answer questions and introduce you to their pets. Free. All ages welcome. No registration.



Free Baby Sign Language Class

Thursday, April 12


Fowler Library, Concord

For ages 2 months thru pre-verbal. Baby sign lets babies and toddlers communicate their needs to caregivers so they don't need to cry or become frustrated. Taught with songs, stories, games, play and more with a caregiver.

Registration required: www.concordlibrary.org 


Free Baby Sign Language Class

Thursdays, 10:30-11:15 April 5 & June 7

Gleason Library, Carlisle

Drop in workshop provides the benefits, research and ways to teach your baby many American Sign Language signs.



Classes at both libraries taught by Sheryl White of www.babykneads.com 


Bilingual Chinese/English Storytime at Bedford Library

Fridays, 10:30-11:00

April 13, June 8 

and Saturday, May 5

Stories, songs and poems in both languages. All welcome.



Free Tinkergarten Classes in Acton

Mondays, April 2 or 9


Tinkergarten provides high quality early childhood learning outdoors! Play-based classes help develop core life skills while having fun. Sign up:




Musketaquid Earth Day
Saturday, April 28


Parade to the River with giant puppets 10:30-11:30.

Arts & Environment Festival at The Old Manse in Concord 

12:00-2:00. Free!

http://theumbrellaarts.o rg  

Heroes and Villians Day at Worcester Art Museum

Sunday, April 15, 10-4:00

Special family day program includes visitors from a galaxy far, far, away and other historical and art-related activities. Ages 3 & under free. 



Fruitlands Museum Fairy Festival

Friday, April 20

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Non-member children $10, Adults FREE.

Don your wings and grab your crowns. Special activities at 1:30 and 3:30 - make a fairy wand and build a fairy house.  


Also join the Wonderings Nature Playgroup on April 11, May 9 and June 13, 10:30-11:30 - free with admission. More info:



First Friday Nights Free at The Discovery Museum, Acton

Visit the NEW! museum from 4:30-8:00 on the following dates:

April 6, May 4, June 1


2018 Fairies, Gnomes & Elves Festival

Sunday, June 17

9:00-12 Noon

Creative activities around the farm include building fairy houses, gnome homes, making a magic want and crown, drink fairy tea, visit chickens and rabbits, hear stories, play games. Backpack babies free. $10/child for nonmembers.

Lands Sake Farm, Weston


"Sensory Integration"
presented by Lisa Hamilton-Goscombe, PT
Come learn about sensory integration and how it impacts your child's ability to meet the demands of the school, play, and home environment.Free  https://gdsepac.wordpress.com 
Held on Thursday, April 26, 6:30-8:00 at Groton-Dunstable High School, 703 Chicopee Row, Groton
"Friendship & Social Coaching: Helping Kids Make & Keep Friends"   presented by Donna Shea, Founder of the Peter Pan Center
Free workshop for parents and professionals exploring barriers that may be preventing children aged 7-12 from having positive peer relationships. Will address how adults can recognize barriers and use social coaching and simple language changes in many settings to allow children to attain, maintain, and sustain positive peer relationships and friendships.  Registration: dshea.peterpancenter@gmail.com 
Saturday, April 7, 10:30-12:00, The Peter Pan Center for Social & Emotional Growth, Boxboro. 

"Inspire: 6-Week Parent Support Group for Parents of Children Age 4-6 With a Special Need"
Small group format facilitated by Patty Marquis, LICSW. Learn coping strategies, nurture your individual identity beyond "mom", reduce the stress of relentless advocacy, create positive connections with others, and gain perspective on having more satisfying interactions with your child. Register: www.centerforparentsandteachers.org 
Held in Concord, April 2-May 14, 9:30-11:00 

"Addiction in the Family: What Loved Ones Need to Know"  facilitated by Jon Cohan, CADC, Gabrielle Dean, MSW, MPH and Diana Clark, JD, MA
This workshop is designed to educate and guide attendees through the many challenges faced when a loved one is immersed in the complex world of addiction. Full description at: www.joncohancounseling.com/family-workshop.html 
Held on Saturdays, April 7 or May 5, 9:30-12:30 

Support Group for Parents of Children with Any Special Need meets at Pediatrics West, 133 Littleton Rd, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Westford from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, Thursday, May 17, and Tuesday, June 12. For more information contact Alison, 978-577-0464. Free. www.pediatricswest.com

Wayside Parent Groups for Families with A Child with Mental Health Challenges
Daytime and evening groups held in Framingham (Ann_Killion@waysideyouth.org) and Waltham (Kelley_Daron@waysideyouth.org) 

Collaborative Familying Parent Support Group
Would you like to have less conflict in your family, increase your child's self esteem and learn some strategies to help your family get along better? This new group will include a 30-min. topic followed by individual discussion. Learn more at www.simplysocialkids.com Nadine Briggs, 978-764-2758
Held at 1 Industrial Way, Unit 4, Tyngsboro

"OCD and the Family: A Two-Way Street"
Presentation by Laura Stamboni, LICSW from McLean Hospital. Free program takes place in the DeMarneffe Cafeteria Bldg, Rm. 132, 115 Mill St., Belmont  on April 3, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
"Looking at Children's Behavior Changes Through a New Lens: PANDAS/PANS"
Presentation by Kim Turgeon of Central MA PANDAS/PANS Education and Support Group. Free program takes place at Lazare Auditorium Room S1-607 at U. Mass. Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester on April 12, 6-7:00 p.m. 
For more information: 
  www.ocdmassachusetts.org  Free.

Adoptive Families Together Support Group
meets April 17, 7:30-9:00 p.m. at Maynard Public Library in the Cullen Conference Room, 77 Nason Street. Contact kristy.bouley@gmail.com for more information or visit.  www.mspcc.org/aft/  Free. Continues monthly.

"The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success In School and in Life"
presented by Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Bestselling author and international speaker, Dr. Thompson reminds parents that school is about more than academics - it is an emotional journey all children must take in order to grow and develop. Free.
Held at Stony Brook Middle School, April 26, 7:00 pm

"Toilet Training with Tender Loving Care"
Presented by Jennifer Gillette, MA
Wondering if it's time to start? Which potty chair to use? Rewards-praise-sticker charts? Pull-ups or underwear? This program aims to sort out well-meaning but often contradictory advice to help you find the best method for your unique child and family. Plenty of time for questions. $30.90
The Loved Child, Belmont, Wednesday, April 4, 7-9:00 

"The State of Early Education in Massachusetts"
presented by Amy O'Leary, Director of Early Education for All
Access to quality early education is key for children to achieve success in school and life. Learn about the state of early education in Massachusetts, and the role our legislature, elections, budget and initiatives have at the national, state and local levels. Free. Prof. development hrs. available $18.
Thursday, April 12, 6:30-8:30, Discovery Museum, 177 Main Street, Acton.  Register at: www.discoveryacton.org  

English Conversation Groups meet in Maynard
Free English conversation groups facilitated by the Hudson Maynard Adult Learning Center meet in Maynard.
Beginners: Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30 at Open Table, 33 Main St.
Advanced: Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 at Maynard Library
For more information contact: jeffloeb46@gmail.com  

Good News about Childcare Subsidies!
At a recent First Connections Advisory Council meeting a representative from one of the regional Child Care Resource & Referral agencies let us know that families who signed up for a child care voucher in April 2017 or earlier should have been contacted to make an appointment for verification. If you have moved or changed your phone or email address be sure to keep the office that processed your application up to date:
Bedford, Carlisle & Lincoln : 800-660-2868
Maynard & Sudbury:  508-796-1838
Acton, Boxboro, Concord, Harvard, Littleton, Westford: 978-602-8650

INTERFACE Mental Health Free Referral Service
is available to assist families in the following towns with the process of finding a mental health service provider that matches their needs and insurance: Acton, Ayer, Ashby, Boxboro,Chelmsford, Concord, Carlisle, Dunstable, Groton, Leominster, Lincoln, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Sudbury, Townsend, Waltham and Westford, among other towns not near our catchment area. This is a free service staffed by trained clinicians, paid for by your town. www.interface.williamjames.edu or 1-888-244-6843 x1411

First Connections is a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant program primarily funded by the Mass. Dept. of Early Education and Care through Justice Resource Institute. Learn more at  www.firstconnections.org