Up to 25 families brought their three-year-olds to the Three Year Old Round Up last weekend in 100 Mile House.
The event, financially supported by B.C. Ministry of Education, invites three-year-olds to engage in fun activities that are part of healthy three-year-old development. Parents are also given the opportunity to meet with local service agencies and learn how they can support their child’s development.
“When children get their 18-month immunization shot, quite often they aren’t seen by a medical professional until their kindergarten immunization,” said Beulah Munson, SD27’s Early Learning coordinator. “We know that early intervention is key, so to go from 18 months until they’re five years old and potentially not connect with any services is a long gap. We hope it will be an annual event where parents and children can come out and connect with service providers in a really fun way.”
The event started in Williams Lake, but has since branched out across the South Cariboo. Munson noted the COVID-19 pandemic presented them with challenges, such as keeping the numbers under 50.
Parents were asked to register before Saturday and arrive at an assigned time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children and their parents were able to go from booth to booth to take part in fun activities that introduced them to what each organization was all about.
Several South Cariboo and Williams Lake groups were part of the event, held at the 100 Mile Community Hall. They included Blue Sky’s Autism Services, the Family Support Institute, Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, SD27’s StrongStart program, 100 Mile House’s Cariboo Regional District Library, Interior Health Dental, Interior Health Audiology and the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre (CFEC).
Erica Henderson, CFEC supervisor for early years programs and services, tested children’s fine motor skills. Three-year-olds got to come up and twist the lids off a jar and retrieve a toy to take home. All of them did it successfully.
“This event is a wonderful event,” Henderson said. “Next year I think it will be bigger and better. It’s tough right now with COVID but I think once we start doing it every year here families will start coming out.”
Henderson said each family got to go home with a goodie bag filled with activities and tools to set them up for a successful start in kindergarten. These included a toothbrush and toothpaste, scissors, crayons, coloured paper and info sheets for the parents.
Katherine Davis, who brought her son Bo Nash, said she was excited to learn about the different groups available. While Bo found the event overwhelming at first, Davis said everyone was so friendly that it didn’t take him long to relax and engage.
“It’s education for mom and for him,” she said. “Quite honestly, we don’t know many other three-year-olds. It’s amazing to see how many other little guys there are and learn about the resources that are available to us.”
Parents unable to attend the round-up are invited to check out SD27’s early learning section on its website for a list of local service providers and contact information.
“We’re really happy to have been able to offer this and we look forward to growing it in the future,” Munson said.