Ingomar preschoolers travel 'Around the World' on Family Fun Night

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Preschoolers at the Ingomar Child Enrichment Center in Franklin Park traveled the globe and got their passports stamped at the school's Family Fun Night.

The event earlier this spring had an “Around the World” theme.

“The emphasis of Family Fun Night is to get families together to promote community,” preschool director Robin Macon said.

Twenty-one countries on six continents were represented with crafts, games and music.

Families “traveled” the world and even get a “passport” photo taken as a souvenir.

During the weeks preceding the Family Fun Night, teachers found ways to help their preschoolers learn about the world.

Tammy Simon, 54, of Cranberry, created a coin-matching game for her 3-year-old students after having parents bring in coins from their native country or from their travels. She then photocopied the coins and had the children match up the originals to the copies.

“I grouped the coins on the sheets according to the area of the world they were from; then, we would look on a map to find where the coins came from,” Simon said.

She said she appreciated how the international theme lent itself to exploring other cultures. “Our society is a global society, and we have so many opportunities to learn,” she said.

Kate Miller, 41, of Cranberry, said she was impressed with how much her 3-year-old students retained from the lessons.

“I truly loved the theme. I think they learned something from it, which is very rewarding for all of us,” Miller said.

Her class focused on Egypt, so she had the children glue cereal squares to a posterboard pyramid and then put sand around the bottom of the plate.

Preschool-age children are accepting and don't see differences in people in the same way that adults do, Macon said.

“That's the magic of this age,” she said.

Macon, of Pine Township, said the Family Fun Night theme was affirming for the children.

“The children felt proud and excited, and we had a lot of parents that were appreciative of that,” she said.

Parent Kassie Imm, 35, of McCandless was chairwoman of Family Fun Night planning committee and said the theme was a good one for a preschool with a diverse group of students. Planning for the event started in September, when each classroom was assigned a country.

The planning committee also selected a local charity to support.

The result was $643 and a minivan full of donated baby items for the southwestern Pennsylvania chapter of Newborns in Need. Local businesses donated items for baskets, which were raffled off to raise money for the charity.

Mandy Fields Yokim is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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