For youth, ages birth through 5, it was a day of fun and games, but the Charles County Advocacy Council for Children, Youth and Families was committed to providing county parents and care providers with resources during the 11th Charles County Early Childhood Day at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf on Aug. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The children and parents navigated through mandatory stations, receiving stamps along the way to fun areas such as face painting, balloons, inflatable bounce house, recycled building blocks, spin wheel for prizes and a sensory activity station with water beads to stimulate a child’s sensory and fine motor skills.
Sponsored financially by Charles County Government, the space fees the exhibitors pay and sponsorships, Lauren Gustafson, the coordinator, said, “This year approximately 272 free book bags with learning supplies enclosed were given out to 146 families.”
“The day event had many aspects that showcased a variety of resources within the community so that parents and caregivers can access services they feel their child needs,” she said. “Early Childhood is a key point in a child’s life that can have long lasting impact. With resources to help with anything from mental health, school readiness, physical health or parenting support, we feel that Early Childhood Day offers something for everyone in our community.”
“We very much rely on the exhibitors that come every year because without their presence, the day would not be what it is,” she added.
Open to county residents, the event showcased child care providers, early learning experts and other organizations such as pediatric dental, health department, department of social services, mom’s groups to help moms learn how to play with their kids, as well as games, music, rock climbing, physical fitness, storytellers and door prizes.
Danielle Mopherfhead of Waldorf brought her 19-month-old daughter, Peyton, to the event in the hopes of learning about some resources for daycare services.
“I was glad I came because I learned about daycare tuition that would help me for Peyton. I’m currently looking for a job, but I had to get that straight first,” Mopherfhead said. “My daughter enjoyed the bouncy house and face painting, but her favorite thing was the ice cream. It was worthwhile for both of us coming to this event.”
Give-away items included 24 learning toys, 300 beach balls, sunglasses and water bottles. Pump It Up donated a free birthday party that was given away at random.
The rock-climbing wall was available to children as well as “Tot-cycles,” where the kids got a chance to go out on the ice rink.
“Our goal was to provide parents and caregivers with resources that are available in the county that can help in preparing their children for school. It could also help with any gaps they may have, whether it’s mental health, or learning, or physical fitness,” Gustafson said. “While the day included a lot of fun for the kids, the parents and caregivers received a variety of good resource information to make them feel like all of their child’s needs are being met.”