06/02/13 — Born Learning festival draws big crowd to park

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Born Learning festival draws big crowd to park

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 2, 2013 1:50 AM


Charles Faison, 7, plays tennis at the Born Learning Young Children's Festival at Herman Park on Saturday. The Goldsboro Tennis Association, representing tennis programs countywide, had nets, racquets and foam balls set up to teach the basics and expose children to the sport.

"That is the same horse that I had," 4-year-old Kayla Keifer said excitedly. "It went just (the) right (pace). It was a bigger horse than Madison's."

"I was riding a little pony," said her 2-year-old sister Madison.

The sisters, who said they weren't afraid of the animals, rode the horses at Herman Park Saturday during the eighth annual Born Learning Young Children's Festival that encourages parents to engage and interact with their children, from birth to age 5.

"We went to the jumping castle (inflatable)," Kayla said as Madison dug through a bag of free goodies collected from vendors at the event. "I didn't really jump. I saw a driving dog. I think it was a little fire truck car. I want to go and see what is here."

The girls were with their parents, Kory and Joy Keifer of Goldsboro, and baby brother Cole, 9 months. It was the first time they had attended the event that lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"So far I am very impressed," Keifer said. "I really like it. It has been a good thing for the family, and the girls have really liked it. I am honestly surprised what is offered here."

The eighth annual event was made possible not only from Smart Start Partnership for Children, but also a generous donation from United Way, said Charlie Ivey, executive director of the Partnership for Children of Wayne County.

"We are having a wonderful turnout," said "It is a great morning and afternoon for it. We are expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 plus people, kids and their families.

"Of course the whole idea behind it is that children are born learning and that through activities, either through home or the community, we help their intellectual, social and physical development."

The event attracted approximately 50 vendors, community services and private businesses that work with children. Each one was asked to bring an activity that parents could use at home.

"It is a true community event," Ivey said. So it is a learning experience for the parents as well as for the kids. Everything is free. We have a lot of donations. We have free food. We have free drinks."

Born Learning is a nationwide program that takes different forms with various organizations, Ivy said.

"The Born Learning Festival is sort of our own take," he said. "We do have activities at the Partnership all through the year, but this is the big event. What we try to stress is that the parent is a child's first teacher and everything they do, from the time they are born until they start their formal education in kindergarten, helps that brain development. Everything that a child does contributes to that."

Rusty Alexander of Seven Springs was munching on a hot dog as he sat in the shade watching his 5-year-old son, J.P., play on one of the inflatables.

"We came last year," Alexander said. "Him being five, he definitely remembered it and wanted to come again. It is really great. It is really great for children."

The event is not only fun for the children, it is educational, he said.

Last year Shenita Wynn of Goldsboro, who works with the WIC program, volunteered at the agency's booth. She helped set up the booth Saturday, but decided to spend the morning with her 5-year-old son Dearlo.

"Everything is awesome," she said. "More people in the community need to come out and find out what Goldsboro has to offer like Wee Wings, WIC and all of the other things. It is important, and that kids get out and get some exercise. We have been out here since 10 and now I am ready to go home.

"If we as parents don't teach our children, the streets will teach them, and I had rather teach my child. It is important that the community come out and come together and do something positive instead of reading all of the negative that is in the papers."