|April 16, 2012|
By Matt Murphy
GREATER SPRINGFIELD Pathways for Parents, an organization that offers parental support, will participate in the state's Week of the Young Child, from April 22 to 28. The organization will host events throughout the week that offer advice and assistance to parents as well as fun for children.
"What children really need is our presence, not our presents," Cindy Milner said, quoting a statement she had heard before.
Milner manages a grant for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care that is used for family and parent organizations. She is setting up and running Pathways for Parents involvement in the Week of the Young Child.
Milner stressed the importance of the understanding that the parent is the child's first teacher.
"Every interactive experience that an adult has with a young child creates valuable connections that permanently wire the architecture of an amazing work in progress. All of us are brain builders," she said.
During the Week of the Young Child, Pathways for Parents has planned activities that focus on the health, education and care of young children. The information comes from mothers, teachers, and professionals who specialize on the subject of children.
The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration. Ordinarily Pathways for Parents sets up two big events in the community, one in Ludlow and one in East Longmeadow, but has chosen to expand its efforts this year.
"It will be a little different this year," Milner explained. "We will be holding events in five towns in the community, Hampden, Wilbraham, Ludlow, Longmeadow, and East Longmeadow. We wanted the event to be more local and more accessible for everyone."
Activities throughout the week range from a cooking lesson in East Longmeadow to a parade in Ludlow to a drum circle in Hampden. The focus is always on education and parents spending time, not only teaching their children, but also playing, and having fun, with them, which Milner said is just as important.
Pathways for Parents is funded through the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant from the Department of Early Education and Care, serving families with children birth to age 8 in Ludlow, Hampden, Wilbraham, East Longmeadow and Longmeadow.
Anyone who wants additional information about the Week of the Young Child or wants to volunteer and help with the events, can contact Milner at 583-3527 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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