Week of Young Child Kicks Off with Teddy Bear Parade April 3

March 30, 2006

Baylor University's Piper Child Development Center and FIRST Place (Family Information, Resources, Support and Training) will kick off the national Week of the Young Child with a teddy bear parade at 10 a.m. Monday, April 3, at Heritage Square in downtown Waco. Approximately 100 children, infants to age 5, and their teddy bears will take part in the morning's activities. Early childhood programs that will participate include Piper Center, Avance, Talitha Koum, Waco Child Development Center and Little People Learning Center.

In the event of rain, the parade will be held in the gym at Talitha Koum at 13th Street and Clay.

The 40-minute ceremony also will include a balloon release, musical activities, a proclamation will be read by Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy, who will be presented with a Texas-dressed Build-a-Bear, and greetings from Baylor President John M. Lilley.

Additionally, the children and their parents will fill a crib with donated teddy bears to give to the Junior League of Waco's Rainbow Room, which provides items to children who are in custody of Child Protective Services.

"The Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize the needs of young children and thank the adults involved in their education and care," said Cynthia Sutter-Tkel, program director for FIRST Place and adjunct faculty in Baylor's School of Social Work. "Every adult in this community has opportunities to make a difference, from volunteering at a local program to supporting efforts that help more young children benefit from quality early education. Week of the Young Child is a good time for all of us to acknowledge the needs of children and work together to build better futures for all children."

Week of the Young Child, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is an opportunity for early childhood programs across the country, including child care and Head Start programs, preschools and elementary schools, to hold activities to bring awareness to the needs of young children.

FIRST Place is a new program at Baylor. Its purpose is to strengthen and equip parents with children infants through age 5 through an educational toy and parenting resource lending library, parent support groups, parent education and parent child activities.

In addition to the Baylor programs, the teddy bear parade is being held in collaboration with the Klaras Children's Center, ECI; Talitha Koum Nurture Center; Waco PEP; Waco Child Development Center; and Avance Waco.

For more information, call the Piper Center at 710-4373.

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