EPIC hosts successful first “Kids Movement Family Fun Night” at SJS

Kids running

Families came out to bust a move on Monday, May 1 at St. John Street Community Preschool’s first “Kids Movement Family Fun Night.” The event was hosted by EPIC, the Every Person Influences Children program and focused on the importance of integrating movement into the daily lives of kids.

Children ages 2-6 had the opportunity to complete an obstacle course while parents learned unique and entertaining ways to incorporate movement at home from Monticello Central School District physical therapist, Joan Mingo.

Student crawling through an obstacle.

“Joan Mingo, our district’s physical therapist, had the children moving through an obstacle course she designed for fun play,” said Jane Sorensen, EPIC Family Engagement Program Manager.

As young children energetically made their way through the course, Mrs. Mingo demonstrated simple ways parents could encourage their child to participate in entertaining, motion-based activities at home. One option was for parents to utilize ordinary household items, like laundry baskets and cups, to create fun exercises that could help their child with balance, body awareness, overall strength, motor planning, proximal stability of joints and ball skills. Another option Mrs. Mingo suggested was for parents to take their child to a playground, where kids have the opportunity to move and learn outside.

Student building a tower out of cups.

Statistics show that physical activity improves academic performance and movement, especially at an early age. Examples include drawing a letter with a stick in the dirt, creating numbers with rocks, placing magnetic letters on the refrigerator, and throwing socks into a laundry basket while counting. Each activity can help one-to-one correspondence and rote counting skills, which are essential to children as they develop and advance in their education.

“Kids Family Movement Night was about showing the kids that movement is fun, enjoyable, and easy to incorporate into their day,” said Mrs. Mingo.

Physical therapist showing students how to move.

The evening concluded with an EPIC raffle basket that featured items to encourage movement and play at home. Trishwantie Emmandranauth, a mother of three, was the winner. In addition, Mrs. Mingo made a special gift for everyone who attended the event. Families received an informative booklet that detailed different ways to incorporate movement into their day.

“It was a fun and energetic event full of information for our families. We look forward to continuing to bring informational sessions like this to our families in the future. We are thankful to EPIC, Jane Sorensen, Family Engagement Program Manager and Joan Mingo, PT for their amazing work,” said Jenn Gorr, Principal of St. John Street Community School.