On Monday, October 24, the Northwest Connection Family Resources Center in Hayward held a pumpkin painting and pizza party for Hayward area 4K kids and their families.
Area children and their families were invited to the center located at 15896 W 3rd Street in Hayward to paint pumpkins, have some pizza and play in their open playroom.
“Once-a-month we do these activities so the kids of the two different 4K schools can come together,” Brandy Metcalfe said. She is an early childhood specialist with NCFR. Metcalfe works as a 3rd grade teacher at the Hayward Intermediate School.
Metcalfe said the NCFR collaborates with the Hayward School District to provide these activities because there are two 4K schools held at area day care centers and the NCFR does the registrations for them on behalf of the school district.
Although the monthly activities are intended for the 4K students, Metcalfe said it is open for all children and families and it’s always free.
“Next month we’ll be having a Thankful Party,” Metcalfe said. They will have treats and do some art projects centered around a Thanksgiving theme. She said this is the first year they’ve done this type of party so they are still working out the details.
Every year on the first Saturday in December, NCFR hosts a free Christmas movie at the Hayward Cinema and in January they have a bingo party. The February event is themed around Valentine’s Day.
According to their website, the NCFR mission is to support and strengthen families and care givers by building a long-lasting foundation through education, information, referrals, and shared opportunities.
Metcalfe said in addition to the monthly activities, the center hosts parenting groups and parenting workshops as well as classes, such as car seat installation and education.
Center resources include the open playroom where families can come and play at any time. They also have a lending library where they can check out books, videos, toys, cassettes and equipment.
Read, Play & Learn Playgroup is held at NCFR every Friday morning from 9:00 - 11:00 am.
“This playgroup uses a play-based curriculum designed to promote growth across all social emotional areas of development for young children through reading stories, doing crafts, and singing songs all related to the same theme,” according to their website.
The NCFR also acts as a local office of YoungStar, where regulated Wisconsin child care providers are regularly evaluated and rated on a 5 Star scale with a 5 Star meeting the highest level of quality standards.
“YoungStar raises the bar for Wisconsin child care providers by supporting and incentivizing them to develop the quality of their child care program, increasing quality care available to Wisconsin children and families,” the NCFR website states.
Lisa Cottrell, an early childhood specialist with NCFR, said the program serves 14 counties and 7 tribes. She said they provide trainings across northern Wisconsin through the Hayward office. She said they have two personnel who work out of their homes in Rhinelander, but all others are in the Hayward office.
“We also do child care provider trainings in Spooner,” Cottrell said. She lives in Spooner and said they work with the Lakeland Family Resource Center there.
The Northwest Connection Family Resources is a 501(C) 3 community based, non-profit agency. NCFR serves the communities of: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Vilas, and Washburn Counties; and Bad River, Forest County Potawatomi, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Red Cliff, Sokaogan and St. Croix Tribes.
The NCFR works under their vision of strong and healthy children, families, and communities to provide benefits that touch the future.