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4c for Children Launches New Kindergarten Readiness Program

Beginning in September, 4C for Children Play & Learn groups in nine Ohio and Kentucky communities will welcome children - and the adults who care for them - to come and play.

The target audience for these bi-weekly Play & Learn groups are young children (birth to age 5) not in formal child care programs along with their parents or family, friend or neighbor caregivers.

The groups, based on the national Kaleidoscope Play & Learn® Program, are led by trained facilitators who plan culturally and developmentally appropriate play activities for children that they and their caregivers participate in together. 

The free 90-minute, every-other-week sessions will start on the following dates in the following locations:
  • Covington, Ky.: 2nd and 4th Wednesday from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Kenton County Public Library beginning Sept. 9
  • Newport, Ky.: 1st and 3rd Wednesday from 9:30-11 a.m at the Campbell County Public Library beginning Oct. 7
  • Clermont County, Ohio: 2nd Friday (Amelia branch library, beginning Sept 11) and 4thFriday (Union Township branch library beginning Sept. 25) from 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Lincoln Heights: 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. at Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church beginning Sept. 8
  • Middletown: 1st and 3rd Thursday from 10:30 a.m.-Noon at the Parent Resource Center beginning Sept. 17
  • Millvale: Slated to begin in October. Times and location to be announced.
  • Norwood: 2nd and 4th Thursday from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Norwood Church of the Nazarene beginning Aug. 27
  • Springdale: 1st and 3rd Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Vineyard Church Healing Center beginning Oct. 6
  • Wilmington: 3rd Tuesday from 10:30 a.m.-Noon at the Wilmington Public Library. The next session of this ongoing Play & Learn group will be held on Sept. 15.
Through experiences at these group sessions, adults learn what they can do to support children's healthy development and learning so they are ready to begin kindergarten. 

"If we are to reach the Bold Goal set by United Way that 85% of all children enter kindergarten ready to learn by 2020," says Carolyn Brinkmann, director of 4C Parent Services, which oversees the 4C Play & Learn Program. "We have to make sure that the large number of children cared for informally by family, friends and neighbors are not left behind." 

Play & Learn sessions provide parents and caregivers with 
  • play strategies to nurture skills children need for future school success,
  • ideas for supporting children's learning through everyday activities such as grocery shopping, cooking and bath time,
  • information about child development from birth to age 5,
  • opportunities for adults and children to interact with each other,
  • connections to available community programs and services that offer assistance in raising healthy children.
"These groups are wonderful opportunities for the many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends who care for young children to build a network of support with other caregivers," says Brinkmann. "And they are also great opportunities for children to have fun participating in learning-through-play activities and interacting with peers."
The 4C Play & Learn program,funded through the generosity of David and Nancy Wolf and through a grant from Procter & Gamble through the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, is one of the many ways 4C is working to educate and support the adults who care for children in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and the Miami Valley.
"The many services we offer to parents and caregivers are designed to ensure all children have access to quality early childhood experiences" Brinkmann says. "The Play & Learn sessions teach caregivers ways to provide these quality experiences and prepare children for school through everyday activities and play." 

Volunteers are also being recruited now to assist with the 4C Play & Learn groups in the various communities.
"We are very excited about this volunteer opportunity," says Vanessa Freytag, 4C's newly arrived president and CEO. "By January of 2016, we want to have at least 18 volunteers in place to assist 4C staff in facilitating these groups, but our hope is that many more will want to participate in this exciting program." 

Volunteer training will be held in both early autumn and late winter. For more information about volunteering and/or to sign up, contact Bethany Doverspike at 513-758-1232. 

For more information about registering for any of the Play & Learn programs, contact 4C Parent Services at 513-758-1311.
Staff report/Photo provided