AMHERST, MA – The Very Hungry Caterpillar got a workout Wednesday morning as over 80 families with babies and toddlers gathered to play and learn, at an event co-hosted by the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. On this sunny morning, toddlers celebrated the beginning of summer with beach balls, hula hoops and parachute play on the courtyard lawn of the museum; while others explored indoor activities, making collages, participating in story time in the Reading Library, and playing with the Very Hungry Caterpillar in the main hall.
The families came from family centers or playgroups serving seventeen different communities, and run by CES. The family centers and playgroups are funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care through the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) Grant. Each family center provides unique, free programming and is open to local residents as well as families from other communities.
Each child in attendance received a new picture book as they were greeted by CES staff as an effort to promote more storytimes in their homes with their parents. Handing a picture book to a wide-eyed toddler, Desiree Lalbeharie-Josias, Director of Early Childhood programs at CES, noted that the activities of the morning are an extension of the STEM programming that the family centers and playgroups provide all year with a special Spring focus on bugs. “We are really excited for the varied and engaging exploration of bugs and STEM that parents and children are enjoying together this morning due to the wonderful interactive resources here at the Eric Carle Museum. The added bonus is the chance this provides for families from different communities to get to know each other. Our programs go on all summer, so this is a fun kickoff to the summer season.”
Family Centers and Playgroups are places to grow for families and children from birth to kindergarten, located in seventeen local communities and run by the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, MA. The programs are free and run all year round. For more information about these programs, visit www.collaborative.org/early-childhood/parents, or contact Carolyn Mazel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eric Carle Museum is located on Bay Road in Amherst, MA. The museum offers everyone who loves picture books a chance to experience them as never before. Visitors can create their own works of art in the hands-on Art Studio, enjoy films, lectures, live theatre and musical performances in the Auditorium, or join Story time in the Reading library. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday 10-4, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 12-5. Learn more at www.carlemuseum.org