Best Beginnings Fair a must for families with young children

This week, I paid a visit to the town of Clinton to learn about an upcoming fair hosted by Best Beginnings, an early identification/intervention program for children ages birth to five, that is funded by the Middlesex United Way and the town’s board of education (which is a real sign of how good a program is, when a BOE gives it funding!)

Best Beginnings has the challenging, but important goal to provide a strong base for the development of every Clinton child, newborn to age 5. Because when a child has a strong base upon entering school at a young age, then moving onward and upward in grade level (and life) can surely be adchieved with more success no?

I first learned of the fair in a press release, which Linda Stuhlman, an early education and child care consultant, and owner and operator of Red Barn Children’s Center in Clinton, had sent to me for inclusion in iTowns. And since I so strongly believe that a successful educational system in ALL Connecticut communities must begin early on in a child’s life, I asked if I could meet with Linda in person.

As the consultant for Best Beginnings, Linda is the main planner and coordinator of the fair, which will be held on Sept. 20 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at The Morgan School Cafeteria on Route 81 in Clinton. She’s also great to talk to, with so much knowledge and experience about early childhood education, I could have sat in her cozy kitchen all morning and listened as I watched groups of happy 3 to 5 year olds troop by the window on their way to the playground or classrooms.Thumbnail image for kids.JPG

But back to the fair, which I can tell after talking with Linda, is going to be a great event that parents of young children should definitely attend.

First off, children are welcome and encouraged! They will also be welll provided for with age appropriate activities like face painting, book characters, a touch tank, obstacle course, (healthy) snack preparation, playdough, trains and sand tables, music and dancing and an infant area. (and just as importat are the coffee and muffins for adults.)

The children’s portion of the fair will be ongoing, said Linda, “so the kids can be doing activities while the parents get information.” In other words, parents will have a little breathing room to mosey around and see what is available.

There in an impressive, varied line up of dozens of groups such as an early childhood consultation workshop with Sara Schmidt, who works directly with schools, parents and professionsl to provide early childhood counseling; a story land ballet by the Christian Academy of Dance; a program that will help parents to monitor children’s online activities (a good one for parents with older and younger children) by the Paul & Lisa Program Inc.; Families Helping Families, which will collect non-perishable food, baby formula and diapers for Clinton families in need; ERACE, a shoreline area provider of adult education; Autism Society of CT; Clinton Land Trust; Ct Parent Advocacy Center; Cranial Technologies; Hammonasset Nature Center; Killingworth Kids; Henry Carter Hull LIbrary, Miles of Smiles, Clinton Vol. Fire Department, public schools, youth and family services bureau – the list goes on and on!

There will also be car seat checks and information on safety, health, nutrition, early education and care, representativeds from birth to three programs, occupational and physical therapy programs  explanations of developmental expectations and reps from town agencies, and answers to HUSKY insurance and dental health questions.

The main goal of the fair, said Linda, is to get families to register with Best Beginnings, so that they can begin receive literature on upcoming programs and available services throughout the year. Althought Best Beginnings works with and for young children with challenging behaviors, the fair is for all children and families, Linda told me.

“As I remind parents, everybody can learn something and just because your child isn’t displaying challenging behavior, doesn’t mean they won’t next month!”

Admission is free, (but don’t forget that donation fo food or baby supplies) and the event is indoors and local – so you have every reason to go! Information available by calling 860-669-7246 or lns.bestbeg@comcast.net or visit the Best Beginnings web site.

By Melissa Pionzio  on September 11, 2008 7:19 PM Permalink

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