GLENWOOD CITY — Families throughout St. Croix County enjoyed the Family Fun Carnival recently held at Glenwood City Elementary School. The event featured an animal maze, sensory stations, cotton candy and numerous hands-on activities for young children. Hosted by the St. Croix Early Childhood Interagency Council and Glenwood City School District, the event was designed to provide an engaging outing that families could enjoy together at no charge, while incorporating fine and gross motor activities that were educational, as well.
“The Family Fun Carnival was a huge success thanks to everyone who volunteered, donations from area businesses, help from University students and most of all—parents who brought their children to the event,” said Erin Kern, event coordinator and 4K/Early Childhood Education Teacher at Glenwood City Elementary. “The Children’s smiling faces and positive responses from families said it all—Kids and families are what matters most!”
Both UW-Wisconsin River Falls and UW-Stout students helped with the activity and sensory stations. Molly Gerrish, UW-River Falls Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education said that her students learn a lot from their participation in the event. “The carnival provided an opportunity for my students to be creative, innovative and to think outside of the box. It also provided real world opportunities along with hands-on activities to set in motion the ideas and theories they learned in class,” Gerrish said. “This event clearly demonstrated the benefits of working together to build strong home/school relationships and partnerships.”
One of the goals of the Early Childhood Interagency Council is to bring families together through unique events such as the carnival. Other goals include increasing awareness about early childhood development, offering parenting classes to the public and helping provide better services for young children and families.
The basis for the Early Childhood Interagency Council is that the first years of life are extremely important. In fact, they are the most important time of life. Research shows that who we are is basically set by the time we reach school—how we view ourselves and the world, whether we are capable, valued or accepted—or not. There is a window of opportunity in the early childhood years, never to be duplicated again.
For more information on the importance of early childhood years, birth to age eight, visit ParentingInTheValley.com.
“The Family Fun Carnival was a huge success thanks to everyone who volunteered, donations from area businesses, help from university students and most importantly—parents who brought their children to the event,” said Erin Kern, event coordinator and 4K/Early Childhood education teacher at Glenwood City Elementary. “The childrens’ smiling faces and the positive responses from families was what made the whole event worthwhile — kids and families are what matters most!”
The students are challenged to use a very small amount of money to prepare and implement developmentally appropriate, engaging, hands-on activities that parents and children can participate in together. The students also prepare parent information sheets with additional information how to implement the activities at home as well as additional ideas, recipes, etc. A big part of the process is for us to show parents you can do a lot with a little, and even use common household items and recyclables to create meaningful learning activities at home. This event allows my students the opportunity to work collaboratively with one another, parents, children, families, and the larger community and really demonstrates for them the values of working together and building strong home/school relationships and partnerships. This is very beneficial for my students as it enables them to have real-world, authentic experiences with children and families, as well as other professionals. This event provides an opportunity for them to be creative, innovative, and to think outside the box. In my teaching I strongly value real world opportunities that provide hands-on opportunities to engage with others and to put into practice the ideas and theories learned in class.