By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
While her 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son kept themselves occupied with games and projects, Beth Abram was busy learning about programs and daycare options available to them in Floyd County.
The Children’s Academy of New Albany Early Learning Center had its Early Childhood Fair on Friday. Organizations that offer services or networking opportunities for parents of children 6 years old or younger handed out information.
“It’s definitely more than what I expected, they have a lot of good information,” Abram said. “I thought it was just going to be more about the school, but they have a lot of info on other things in the county for kids.”
Geradine Schultze, early intervention coordinator and building supervisor for the school, said letting parents know what tools are available to them help their children become better prepared for school.
“They are their child’s best first teacher,” Schultze said. “They need to hear about development, but also what’s available to take advantage of in the community.”
She said even if parents came in to get ideas for activities for their children to do at home, it all helps with the development of their education.
Val Russell with Russell’s Veggies handed out charts showing the growing season for different kinds of produce. She said with some parents interested in fresh vegetables for their children, they might not know when they can get produce or realize the Farmer’s Market is open year-round.
“It’s to educate the parents that there’s fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally,” Russell said. “Some people don’t know how to eat in the season, but we want them to know it’s available to them.”
Amanda Harris, a children’s librarian at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, said showing parents summer activities for their children helps them figure out ways to keep them stimulated, but the groups in attendance also got something out of it.
“It gets you connected with people and it’s good for us as an organization because it allows us to partner with other groups and connect with people,” Harris said.
Other programs like the Imagination Library — a program that offers free books to children younger than 5 years old — and others with free services were there to help parents get an early start on their children’s education.
Schultze said helping kids learn the basics of language and math before they reach kindergarten is beneficial.
“If a parents has all sorts of resources and places they can go with their children, then they’ll develop that vocabulary that will help them become successful when they learn to read and write,” Schultze said.
SO YOU KNOW
• Miss the fair? Check out CANA-ELC’s webpage at www.nafcs.k12.in.us under the “Schools” tab for a list of organizations at the event.