April 20, 2009
Kidsville kicks off Week of Young Child
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Logan Anjeski, 5, right, and his brother Evan, 3, of Cortland play in the sun of the Franziska Racker Center play area set up for Kidsville Saturday at the Cortland County Office Building gymnasium.
Firefighters gave children fire-safety tips, and people of all ages watched puppet shows and learned about pedestrian safety at Cortland’s annual Kidsville Fair Saturday at the Cortland County Office Building gymnasium.
The fair, sponsored by the Cortland Area Child Care Council, has been held for the past 27 years. This year it fell at the beginning of the “Week of the Young Child,” sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
“It celebrates young children and advocates for their needs,” Executive Director of the Cortland Area Child Care Council Anne Withers said of the week.
Withers said it was fitting to have the fair kick off this week because the fair educates parents about child care programs in the community and provides a fun and educational venue for the children.
Crystal Clough, a registered nurse with the county Health Department, said parents are often concerned about the risk of lead poisoning in the environment.
“They don’t know when testing is done and they don’t know what the results mean,” Clough said. She said paint is just one source of lead poisoning but recently some children’s toys have been recalled for containing lead so the Health Department provides information on which toys may be dangerous.
The Health Department also provided information about the various services it offers for children at Saturday’s fair.
The department’s Early Intervention Program had a booth set up where children could make necklaces out of different varieties of colored pasta.
The program is geared toward children from birth to 3 years old who have been identified to have a developmental delay with speech or language or motor skills.
For one exercise, children said a word for every piece of pasta they put on a necklace, creating a complete sentence.
Speech pathologist Kathleen Jorgensen said the program identifies speech delays and tests cognitive and fine motor skills. The program identifies problems then a team of therapists and a service coordinator helps work with the family to help the child. Jorgensen explained this to parents who stopped at her booth at Saturday’s event.
Clough said the fair helps the department do public outreach so parents can know what programs are available to help their families.
However, some families just came for the fun.
“We came to get out of the house, there’s only so much to do at home,” Casci Bean said. Her 3-year-old daughter Nadia had just gleefully knocked over several multicolored miniature bowling pins with a tiny bowling ball.
Kelicia Barlow came with her 4-year-old daughter Destinnay and 2-year-old son Terrence. As Terrence bounced a basketball that was half his size Kelicia said she came to the fair so the children could occupy themselves.
A rosy-cheeked and aimlessly ambling blonde girl named Emilee was scooped up by her mother, Kristy Greene, after making a pasta necklace.
“This was a different environment for her with all the kids, it’s something new. But she’s more interested in running around,” Greene said.
At another booth, Cortland’s Seven Valleys Health Coalition provided a large puzzle playmat where children threw dice to proceed to various squares that gave dental tips.
Cortland Fire Department volunteers showed an eager gathering of youngsters the proper things to do in the event of a fire.
“Never hide under your bed,” instructed a fireman as the children watched a remote-controlled dog drive a small motorized fire-truck. Then a young boy demonstrated the “stop, drop and roll” technique for putting out a fire on your body.
Lamont Memorial Free Library in McGraw staff prepared to put on a puppet show as children gathered eagerly before them and sat on their parents’ laps.
For some vendors, the experience was an educational one.
SUNY Cortland students manned a station with a kiddie pool designed to develop children’s sensory skills. As part of the infants and toddlers curriculum class, the students helped children learn how many objects they could put in floating plastic containers before sinking them.
“It’s been a really good experience watching the kids and seeing how different kids play with the water and what they experiment with,” said junior Madeline Turco.
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