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Hey you, yeah you!  Are you a Wayne County resident that provides care to a youth in our area?  I bet you know how important is it to provide enriching experiences to our kids while they are young. If you play an important part of a child’s life, you are probably very aware of one of the most important parts of raising children – making sure that they have proper access to education. Early education plays a critical role during the early stages of brain development.  The quality of education provided between birth and three years of age will have an effect on the kind of person that they will become later on in life. Proper schooling is very important, but it’s also vital to utilize resources outside of the classroom to help them learn as much as possible. Fortunately for Wayne County caregivers and families, there are many opportunities available through local organizations and businesses.

Activities through play and family engagement are great for early learners!

If you have ever had the experience of raising young children, you know how important a network of support can be.  Locally, Birth to Five is an organization that provides free family-centered services to all Wayne County children from birth through age 5.  Some of the services provided by this non-profit are personalized home visits, group events, developmental and health screenings, and community resource networking.  This dynamic program is ever growing with the intent to create a better experience for all Wayne County families!  Click here to tell Birth to Five how they can better serve families in our area.

Another organization in our area that serves Wayne County children with enriching and educational programming is Every Child Can Read. Their two main programs are the Third Grade Academy and K Ready. Third Grade Academy is for students going into the third grade which is considered to be a pivotal point of childhood education. The academy is designed to focus on each child’s individual educational needs. Their main goals are to increase reading proficiency, increase scores on standardized tests, and garner a positive attitude towards reading. Third Grade Academy is offered throughout the month of June. The other program they offer is K Ready. Through K Ready, exists the Read to Me 20 program which encourages parents to read to their kids for 20 minutes a day. Read to Me 20 provides free age appropriate books to parents. K Ready receives the books through many national organizations that supply books.

Reading with young children is a great way to help them learn outside the classroom.

The benefits of outdoor play are vast and well-researched.  If you want to see your children have a better connection with nature, check out the outdoor programs at  Cope Environmental Center and Hayes Arboretum. Both nature centers have different fun and educational opportunities available for children from all walks of life. Programs are available through the year, check out the links above for the summer offerings!

Two other local gems are the JUKO and Lil JUKO programs made available through the City of Richmond. JUKO stands for Just Us Kids Outdoor and this program has been around for quite some time, offering years of fun memories for many local residents. These programs are a must each summer!  Each program offers different educational and wellness activities that allow you child to learn a lot about many aspects of life.

Wayne County provides so many opportunities for your child to learn, explore, grow, and thrive, that it would be impossible to fit them all in this post!  What are your favorite youth and family-focused organizations and programs in our county?  If you were able to speak to a new Wayne County resident who is caring for young children, which services would you direct them to utilize as soon as possible?  Let us know!  Be sure to join the conversation using the tag #forwardINwayne.  Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram @forwardINwayne