The families enrolled in the ROE (Regional Office of Education) #3’s Learning Express program enjoyed summer treats at Sweet Addictions in Hillsboro on Tuesday morning, June 15, during this month’s Group Connections meeting.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Bruce Sanford briefly spoke to the toddlers and their families about child safety, tailoring the length of his lecture to the little learner’s attention spans. Deputy Sanford let the small children check out his patrol vehicle and test out the sirens.
ROE #3 Learning Express is a free, voluntary program that serves families in Montgomery, Fayette, Christian and Effingham counties, funded by the Early Childhood Division of the Illinois State Board of Education.
The program is open to expectant parents and families with children up to the age of three. Parent educators make weekly home visits to enrolled families, where they provide developmentally appropriate activities and help to smoothly transition children into the preschool system.
Each month the Learning Express families are invited to attend Group Connections meetings where enrollees can interact and have fun with their children.
“It is really great to be able to celebrate with our families in-person,” stated Learning Express Program Director Paula White. “Learning Express has been offering virtual services for over a year, since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated that we not meet in-person. Being able to open the monthly meetings back up and engage with our families as a whole is really rewarding.”
This month’s group meeting was the second time the families have been able to gather in-person since February 2020. Director White, and Parent Educators Trisha Cachera and Callie Smith were all in high-spirits for the group’s celebratory trip to the local ice cream shop.
“Each month’s Group Connections meeting centers on a different topic. This month was celebrating summer and getting to know our local police officers,” explained Cachera. “We thought that it would be a great way to build bridges and help our kiddos connect a friendly face with law enforcement. We decided to treat our Learning Express families to Sweet Addictions as a way to support the local businesses in our community.”
Learning Express will open enrollment to new families in July. For more information on Learning Express ROE #3 contact Program Director Paula White at 217-532-9605 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.