Squeals of delight sounded from all around the playground as children, most under four years old, dashed from activity to activity, enjoying the carnival set up by the Collin College Lab School.
At one corner, children got to play dress-up and have photos taken in a “photo booth.” At another station, they got a little more athletic with a bean bag toss. At still another, they could get their faces painted. The carnival and the pizza party that followed kept the children engaged and happy, while it offered parents a chance to connect and learn more about the lab school community.
“I think (events like these) build the community,” Nichole Boone, the mother of two children in the lab school and a Collin College librarian, said. “We get to interact, to see the other parents and the other children, as well as their teachers outside of school.”
That’s the reaction Child Development Campus Director Barbara Batista was hoping for. The carnival was the wrap-up for Collin College’s celebration of the Week of the Young Child, an annual recognition of the role early childhood education plays in the lives of children and families, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
“The lab school has been celebrating Week of the Young Child for over 20 years,” Batista said. “We typically plan themed days that will foster children’s interests in a variety of developmental areas.”
This year’s themed days were Music Day, Sensory Day, Wealth from Waste Day (recycled art), Literacy Day and Carnival/Family Picnic Day. The carnival day was a time to focus on family interaction and to bring parents together as members of the lab school community, but each day was a treat for the children with an educational message as a part of the fun.
The lab school is accredited by the NAEYC, which promotes high-quality early learning for children from birth through age 8, and events like this also work toward the school’s accreditation.
For parents of children in the lab school, though, events like the carnival are just good fun.
“I love it,” said Heather Carr, whose son attends the school. “All of the teachers genuinely love the kids.”