Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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WIU Infant and Preschool Center Promotes Community Involvement
October 11, 2013
MACOMB, IL - - The Western Illinois University Infant and Preschool Center took advantage of the opportunities in the local community and hosted an event in their own backyard in September.
Sherri Moon, director of the Center and lead teacher, and the staff at the Infant and Preschool Center invited parents and their children to a Family Fun Night at Lakeview Nature Center, located just outside Macomb and adjacent to Spring Lake Park, last month. The event served two purposes, allow the families to get to know each other and meet the other children and introduce the families to areas of the community they may not have known much about. Twenty-four children participated in the event, as well as 17 different families.
The one-and-a-half hour event was packed numerous activities, beginning with the families gathering for a picnic at the Nature Center, followed by the children meeting and learning about Leroy the turtle, a red-eared slider. Pam Johnson and her Nature Center staff set up several in-door stations in the Center's barn, including turtle puppets, animal puzzles, separating turtles by species, identifying various animal tracks and Illinois fossils, learning about honey bees and monarch butterflies native to Illinois and digging for "fossils." Multiple facts about turtles were posted on the walls about turtles, and there was an area where the children could compare how tall they were with how long various turtle species were. Outside, children and their parents participated in the "turtle trail" in the prairie. The evening ended with a Nature Center staff member reading a book about a turtle.
"We really wanted to take advantage of the unique opportunities local to our community and give the families a chance to come together and visit," said Moon. "It's also great to see the children outside of the school and interacting with their parents."
Moon added that Infant and Preschool Center is planning to have a few more family nights throughout the year.
For more information about the WIU Infant and Preschool Center, visit wiu.edu/coehs/preschool. For more information about the Lakeview Nature Center, visit parks.macomb.com/lakeview.html.