Stemming from a meeting last fall, community preschools and service providers will be available on Tuesday, April 23 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm at Cherry Creek Elementary School to meet with families with children birth through age 5. The purpose of the fair is to be able to provide early childhood resources, connect with others who have children of similar age, and prepare youngsters for kindergarten.
One Stop Shop for Information
Lowell Area Schools (LAS) hosted a meeting in fall 2018 inviting local preschools and service providers to brainstorm about ways to support families and caregivers with young children in the community. “As we talked we came up with the idea to host event where we could get all families together to network with each other and with service providers in the area.” says Nate Fowler, Director of Curriculum for LAS, of the fall gathering. Participants were eager to collaborate in order to help families and young children in the community.
A variety of groups will participate in the first Early Childhood Resource Fair later this month including Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM), Kent District Library (KDL), United Methodist Preschool, Great Start Readiness Preschool, Curiosity Corner Preschool, Kent ISD’s Bright Beginnings, and Early On program, and providers from Lowell Schools’ Early Childhood Special Education program. Each group can help fill needs and gaps when it comes to parenting young children. Representatives from these organizations will be able to answer questions, provide resources, and hand out contact information in the event a need comes up in the future.
Dinner will be provided during the event. Guests are welcome to come anytime during the open house style fair to grab a bite to eat, gathering information, and potentially meet some new families. Children are welcome to attend. While there will not be childcare available, kids will find activities to keep them engaged at each stop while grownups chat.
The Importance of Networking
Anyone who has kids or has raised kids knows that it’s not an easy task. There are different challenges throughout the parenting experience. However, getting off to a good start as a parent and child is important. Parenting has also been changing as technology plays a bigger role for children and parents, competing for the attention of both parties.
Information can be found regarding ways to support a child’s development in speech, literacy, math, and behavior to name a few topics if there is a specific concern. Tips for toilet training, nutrition, and good sleep routines will also be available. Representatives from Cherry Street Health Clinic will be on site to provide hearing and vision screenings for anyone with concerns or are in need of an evaluation.
When asked about expectations of the event, Fowler says, “The goal of this event is to let parents know that they aren’t alone, that parenting young kids can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding and a lot fun.” It’s important and comforting as a parent to know there are others going through similar experiences. “Parents may connect with someone in the community who can offer specific advice, but I would be even more excited if some of our parents connected with other parents and decided to meet at a park somewhere to get the kids together to play.” he concludes.
It Takes a Village
Organizers of the fair will meet once the event is over and discuss the success and feedback received from the evening. Fowler anticipates scheduling similar events next year as planning for the 2019-20 school year kicks into gear.
The role of parenting is challenging at best. But it can be made easier with the right resources. Whether it’s a financial burden, specific developmental need, or want for activities to keep kids busy and/or prepare them for school, the Early Childhood Resource Fair is set to provide information and networking for families in the Lowell community. The fair will take place Tuesday, April 23 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm at Cherry Creek Elementary and dinner will be provided.