Thursday, March 18, 2010

Learn More About Basic Sign Language for Preschoolers

Are you curious about the use of sign language with young children? In young children sign language can speed up the acquisition of speech as it stimulates areas of the brain associated with speech and language. A child can develop gross motor skills needed for signing before they develop the fine motor skills associated with verbal speech. Most people think sign language is just for people who have a hearing impairment.

Language stimulation and conceptual information that will enhance vocabulary development in children is provided through sign language. Areas of the brain that are associated with speech and language are stimulated through sign language.

In some cases children with special needs experience difficulty with expressive language and verbal ability. Sign language is a means to give these children access to communication and strengthen their ability to produce expressive speech.

Research has shown that through sign language there are many developmental advantages for children with special needs. Sign language enhances a child’s development of speech, language, social, emotional and academic skills. Sign language breaks down communication barriers for children with various disabilities and needs.

Join the Alexander County Partnership for Children on Tuesday, April 13th at 6 p.m. to learn basic signs needed for a preschooler and suggestions for teaching/using new signs. Come with specific questions and specific things you want to learn. Lisa Johnson, Speech Language Pathologist with the CDSA, will be leading the class at ACPC.

April 2010- Autism Awareness Month

Research now suggests that autism affects 1 in 100 children and 1 in 70 boys. As a parent or caregiver it is important to learn the early signs of autism. As part of Autism Awareness Month, April 2010, Alexander County Partnership for Children will be hosting an educational session for parents and child care providers-“Understanding Autism”. This educational session will be held on Monday, April 12th at 6 p.m. at the Partnership Office, 1565 NC Highway 90 West, Taylorville. Aryn Williams, Early Childhood Outreach Services Program Coordinator with Easter Seals UCP North Carolina will be leading this informative session. Join us to learn early signs of autism including “red flags” that indicate the need for immediate evaluation.

It is recommended for parents and child care providers to understand the typical developmental milestones that a child should be reaching at different ages. Younger children should have their development screened at every well visit with a highly validated developmental screening tool. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about developmental screenings.

Another Session of Start With the Arts Begins!

Register your preschooler for Start with the Arts Alexander-a free art program for three, four, and five year old children in Alexander County. The first class begins Monday, March 22nd and last for eight weeks. Sessions will be held at the Alexander County Partnership for Children, 1565 NC Highway 90 West, Taylorsville from 10:30 to 11:30.

Start with the Arts Alexander will provide children and their parent and opportunity to experience various forms of art including music, movement, and dramatic play. Children may be accompanied by a grandparent in the event the parent is unable to attend. Support for Start with the Arts Alexander is provided by the LEGO Children’s Fund.

Registration is limited to 15 children. If sufficient interest is indicated a second class will be scheduled on Tuesdays. Call the Partnership office at 632-3799 to get started with registration.

Friday, March 12, 2010

March Reading Madness Is a Success

Alexander County Partnership for children was the site of the kick off for “March Reading Madness” on Monday, March 1st. The event was designed to spark interest in reading among preschoolers in the county. Volunteers began the morning by listening to Ms. Mel, Children’s Librarian at the Alexander County Public Library, read the book “If You Give a Moose a Muffin.” while enjoying a light breakfast of muffins, coffee, juice, and milk. Following the reading Ms. Mel provided suggestions to volunteers to assist them in reading to the children.

Community volunteers then traveled to eight local child care centers to read a favorite book of children of all ages “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” by Laura Numeroff. Children learned about a series of events that happens when a moose is given a muffin in a story of prediction. Volunteers then invited children to join in a muffin snack. The Partnership for Children provided a copy of the book for each classroom.

Over 400 children ages three, four and five were reached through this Partnership for Children outreach activity held in 29 classrooms that included the following sites: Salem Sloan Child Enrichment Center, First Baptist Child Development Center, Alexander County Head Start, Calling Kids Child Development Center, , Millersville Child Development Center, Small Hands Day Care, Alexander Central High School Child Development Center and LuLu’s Child Enrichment Center.

Organizations and businesses providing volunteers for this event included: Kohl’s of Hickory A Team, Friends of the Alexander County Public Library, Alexander Chamber of Commerce, Alexander County Partnership for Children Board of Directors, Alexander Department of Social Services, Alexander County Public Library, First Community Bank, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The Partnership for Children extends appreciation to all the volunteers who made this event a reality: Kay Hamby, Kendra Dyson, Mitzi Bumgarner, Linda Dunbar, Denise Elder, Chelsie Brady, Jordan Estes, Nancy Mecimore, Glenn Deal Jr, Kathy Riddle, Deb Grenn, Melissa Hager.

The partnership is pleased to offer this activity as literacy event that joins community partners in providing a collaborative reading effort as a means to increase interest in reading. If you or your organization is interested in participating in future community literacy events for preschoolers please call the partnership at 632-3799.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Free Fun Friday Is Almost Here

Once again Alexander County Partnership for Children is reaching out to offer another fun service for children. The Partnership will be offering a FREE FUN FRIDAY time for children and their parents and/or grandparents at the office, 1565 NC Highway 90 West, Taylorsville, on Friday, March 19th at 10:30 a.m. Ashley Benfield will lead the session and demonstrate how to make seasonal craft items with children. Participants will work together to make the fun crafts during the session that families can take home to enjoy. All materials are free of charge. Pre register for FREE FUN FRIDAY by calling 632-3799. Space is available on a first come first serve basis.