|Hands-On Learning Fair is April 19|
Children, birth through age 7 and their families, are invited to attend the Hands-On Learning Fair, a free family event that is part of the Month of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month celebrations in April. The 17th annual Hands-On Learning Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at the Purpur Arena in Grand Forks. The fair features an exciting variety of learning activities for children age birth to 7 and their families, as well as parent information displays. The mayor’s proclamation will kick off the event at 9:45 a.m. "Bring Communities Together for Children —Children Bring Communities Together" is this year’s national theme, emphasizing how critical early education is to the vitality of each community. Sponsors of the event are the Northeast Chapter of the North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children and Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota. Its purposes include:
* To provide an exciting way for children ages birth to 7 and their families in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks area to celebrate this special month.
* To underscore the importance of parent involvement to healthy development and optimal early learning in children.
* To create awareness of learning as a process that begins at birth and continues lifelong, with the most rapid brain development occurring during early childhood.
* To highlight the nature of appropriate early education as hands-on, or experiential, building on children's inborn curiosity and motivation to understand their world.
Creative art, language, science, math, sensory exploration, dramatic play, music, games, and stories are among the many choices of age-appropriate activities for children attending the Hands-On Learning Fair. There is also a parent/infant interaction area designed for the very young. Emphasis is on active involvement in the learning process, rather than entertainment, with learning as its own reward. Adults guide children in their explorations, allowing the youngsters to experience the joy of discovery. There are also informational exhibits for parents.
Local early childhood programs, including the University Children’s Center and many other entities involved in early education and development, provide these learning activities. These professionals plan and carry out the educational experiences on a voluntary basis, applying the same commitment and expertise with which they engage in their regular early care and education responsibilities. In the spirit of working together for children, Dakota Science Center’s Super Science Saturday and the annual Scout Show will be in the adjacent Gambucci Arena.
Community partners for this year’s Hands-On Learning Fair are Grand Forks County Social Services, Tri-Valley Child Care Resource and Referral, Healthy Families, Northland Community and Technical College Early Childhood Program, Safe Kids Grand Forks, Parent Information Center, Lakes and Prairies Child Care Resource and Referral, Dakota Science Center, and Boy Scouts of America. Many area businesses, institutions, service clubs and individuals donate goods and services for the celebration. These include the Grand Forks Park District, and the University of North Dakota. Their support and the hundreds of hours contributed by early childhood educators have helped to achieve 16 years of success for this family event — and to keep it free of charge.
-- Jo-Anne Yearwood, Director/Instructor, Teaching and Learning, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-3947