05/27/10 — Partnership plans event for parents and their children

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Partnership plans event for parents and their children

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 27, 2010 1:46 PM

The Partnership for Children of Wayne County will show parents in early June that they have many opportunities to engage their children and to help them learn long before those youngsters are ready for school.

The annual Born Learning Young Children's Festival, part of a national public engagement campaign, is planned for June 5 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Herman Park.

Funded by United Way of Wayne County, this is the fifth year for the event, said Kim Best, director of community services for The Partnership for Children of Wayne County.

Through the years, the festival has only grown in popularity, she said, with an estimated crowd of more than 2,000 last year.

"We have so many agencies in the county that continue to participate to get their services out," she said. "It's a perfect opportunity for them to be able to share their information and services with children and families in the county."

The festival, like the Partnership, targets children from birth to age 5. But the event is open to all ages, Mrs. Best said.

"This particular national campaign is specifically to teach parents that children are born learning and that parents can start teaching them from birth -- teaching them creative interaction, creative ways to use these teachable moments."

In addition to a wealth of information about parenting, as well as resources and services in Wayne County to benefit families, the day will feature a variety of entertainment and activities.

Safe Kids Wayne County will conduct car seat checks. Fire trucks will also be on display and Goldsboro Police Department will provide free photo IDs for parents.

There will be a bicycle rodeo, free rides on the Kiwanis miniature train, a petting zoo, moonwalk, refreshments and raffle prizes.

Popular characters like Dora the Explorer will also be there. In addition to putting in an appearance, she will be featured at two story times scheduled at the library, at 11 a.m. and noon.

Entertainment in the gazebo area will include martial arts groups, a drum line, the chorus from Tommy's Road Elementary School and "Expressions of Panama," a Latino group performing Panamanian dances.

More than 30 agencies will be represented this year -- including day cares, Wee Wings from Wayne County Public Schools and the Autism Society. And all at no cost to families.

"The only charge is if they visit the concessions stand at the Kiwanis train," said Patty Huffman, director of program coordination/evaluation. "Otherwise, even the refreshments (at the festival) are free."

Volunteers are still needed for the day of the event. Those interested may contact Mrs. Best at 735-3371, Ext. 223 or e-mail at kbest@pfcw.org.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Huffman said, the upcoming festival does not have to be just a one-day event.

"We really want parents to know that children are born learning, and it's something that you can do every day," she said.

The Partnership for Children, which governs Smart Start, features a lending library that includes not only books but toys, games and other materials for families. For $10 a year, parents can check out up to seven items at a time and borrow them for a month.

A "Born Learning" trail has also been added at Stoney Creek Park, Mrs. Huffman said.

"We had another Fit Community Grant that put children's playthings -- boulders, a butterfly garden -- out there," she said.

The added trail features nearly a dozen signs alerting parents to ideas of things they can do along the way, from finding a tree or a particular shape, to advising them to stop and look at birds.

"It's just kind of a neat way for parents to do things with their children in the park," she said.