June 7 begins the Village Early Childhood Center’s summer program which will be filled with weekly visitors from the community educating and entertaining the school age children. Along with visits from various presenters the children go to the pool and public parks every week.
Local presenters include:
• Gina’s Cakes- decorate baked goods
• Allyson Abbas– bringing a horse and therapy dog
• Junction Creamery- tour of facility
• Angie Williams- Banking, counting money
• Chipp’s Harley Davidson- talking about and bringing out motorcycles
• Clarke County Animal Shelter- interaction with shelter animals
• Iowa DNR- talking about parks/environment, bringing a native animal
• Clarke County Emergency Management- bringing drone, teaching storm safety
• Osceola Police Department- bringing patrol car, talking about law enforcement
• Osceola Volunteer Fire Department- bringing fire truck, talking about fire safety
• Marty Mathes- talking about mental health
• Valerie Clark- homemade ice cream
“Before we did the summer program, the kids would be off for the summer and when they were stuck doing the same thing every day they would get kind of bored,” said Crystal Hansen, The Village Executive Director. “So doing the summer program allows them to see things they might not get the chance to see.”
For The Village staff having a full summer program makes running the center much easier. When the children are engaged and learning they are better behaved, they enjoy their time there with their peers and the staff and it makes their summer go by faster.
Melanie Puck, The Village Assistant Director, began work on the 2021 summer program mid March. She contacted business owners, city and county officials and professionals in a multitude of fields to cultivate a wide array of presenters for the children this summer.
“We want to incorporate the community into our summer program so the kids can understand, as far as jobs, what is out in our community,” said Puck. “It’s for the school age and four year olds but if we can incorporate them, the two and three year olds too, just to get them in there and show them something different than just being in their classrooms.”
For the village staff it’s important to introduce the children to good contacts in the community and teach them life skills. That’s why the opportunity to bring in law enforcement, emergency management and a banker this summer is so exciting for the staff. The Village staff want to prepare the children in their care and give them contacts and information that they can use growing up and into adulthood.