Community Connections: Family Development Center
The Family Development Center hopes to have children experience joy, laughter and a sense of wonder and adventure every day. One of the best ways to assure this happens is to provide parent education opportunities. Currently, one of the center programs, Newborn Network, is accepting registrations for “Play and Learn” in South Routt.
Newborn Network is just about to begin the second year of Play and Learn, a parent/caregiver and child activity program for families with children birth to age 3 who live in South Routt. The free Play and Learn group meets twice weekly for a two-hour, adult-child activity session during the school year and for eight field trips during the summer.
This is a joint parent/caregiver-child session and is not to be confused with child care. The parent/caregiver will stay and engage their children in activities such as reading, singing, art, pretend play and movement activities. Children also get to play with other children and practice friendship skills. Planned activities are based on the age and developmental stages of the participating children. Additionally, parents/caregivers and children are supported by a trained facilitator during activity sessions and at parent/caregiver meetings.
These sessions are not limited to parents and their children. Anyone that has children from birth to 3 years of age in their care is invited. Besides parents this may include grandparents; aunts; foster families; or family, friend and neighbor caregivers. And again – Play and Learn is offered free to families.
• Parent/caregiver meetings: Information from the Play & Learn sessions will be expanded in eight monthly meetings on specific child development, parenting and community resource topics. Community experts will be invited to present on topics such as nutrition and stress management. These meetings will happen during the Play and Learn scheduled sessions.
• Family support services: Families are assisted in accessing community services based on individual needs such as job training, ESL classes, health services, recreation and cultural opportunities. Play and Learn sessions and parent/caregiver meetings provide participating adults with social connections and peer support from other families in their neighborhood. As children become age-eligible, families are encouraged and helped with enrolling in high-quality, center-based preschool programs. Play and Learn staff also supports families in connecting with teachers in the receiving preschools to foster continued parent/caregiver involvement.
The South Routt Play and Learn sessions are scheduled at 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sessions for this school year start on Sept. 4. A registration session is set for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Aug. 28 at the Let’s Dance Studio in Oak Creek.
We are partnering with the Let’s Dance Studio to hold the sessions on the second floor of 117 E. Main Street, Oak Creek. Other funding support is provided by Buell Foundation, Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation and Family Development Center funders, including Routt County, United Way, Yampa Valley Community Foundation and individual donors.
To register or find out more information, contact Sharon Butler, Play and Learn facilitator, at 970-879-7330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tami Havener has served as executive director of the Family Development Center and the three integrated programs, Discovery Learning Center, Child Care Network and Newborn Network since 1984. Havener has undergraduate degrees in child development and family relationships and early childhood special education. She has a master’s in early childhood education and post-graduate work in early childhood leadership. She has served on a variety of child-serving boards at the local and state level.
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