During the holiday months, The Child Center’s families come together for events centered around healthy food, fun, and family togetherness. These programs bring the whole family together—not just for arts and crafts and other fun, but also to talk about gratitude and growing closer.
Our programs celebrated National Food Day on October 24, a day focused on inspiring Americans to change their diets and our food policies. We participated in NYC’s Big Apple Crunch, a fun citywide event promoting healthy food. Our Woodside Head Start program joined in the celebration by inviting families to help them crunch their way through healthy, fresh apples.
On Pumpkin Patch Day, children and families from across the Woodside Head Start program met up at the Doughboy Plaza Park near the Woodside Head Start center. Parents volunteered ahead of time to hide pumpkins so the kids could have fun in the outdoors, running through the park and hunting for pumpkins.
And at MS ExTRA program at Queens United Middle School, families came together to eat, play, and compete against one another in fall-themed games and events. Staff and families joined in for activities like make-your-own scarecrows, pumpkin painting, mummy races, bean bag toss, and a photo booth.
At our Flushing mental health clinic, the Thanksgiving holiday became an opportunity to celebrate the good things in life and for parents to celebrate the strength and resilience of their children. Children of different ages celebrated what they’re thankful for and shared their experiences through arts and crafts. Kids wrote and drew what they were thankful for on brightly-colored paper that the staff then hung on the office walls. Kids were grateful for video games, cake, homes, music, and technology—but also for more serious things: “For having my BFF which is the most important,” “Family,” “Sisters,” and “People I can trust.”
This socialization group allowed children to interact with each other and learn from the holiday themes. Children were also able to reflect on their strengths and talk about the source of happiness, using art to celebrate non-material gifts like family and friends.
In a companion support group, Building Resilience in Children, our staff worked with parents to explore the importance of building self-esteem and increasing trust and communication between the parent and the child. This bilingual parents group focused on the strengths of children through different ages, and the parents’ role in supporting and encouraging resilience in their children. Parents shared thoughts and experiences about challenges they faced in raising their children, especially given the social, physical and financial constraints they face.
The staff shared best practices and explored strategies that parents can use during the holidays to engage with children, improve their communication, and bond through activities and dinner-time conversation. The group became an opportunity for parents to celebrate their children and think of ways to encourage their children’s self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-regulation.