The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 11, 2013

Program focuses on preparing kids for future

JOHNSTOWN — From the cradle to college, it’s never too early to think about securing a brighter future for area children.

Baby College, a community partnership between Beginnings Inc. and the Greater Johnstown School District, was announced Tuesday. It is designed to ensure families get the information and support they need to raise happy, healthy children who enter kindergarten ready to learn.

“Our sole purpose is for each child to have the best possible start,” said Paula Eppley-Newman, executive director of Beginnings. “This is a very hands-on approach on how to be a good parent.”

The free six-week program is open to expectant parents and parents or caregivers of children up to age 5 living in the Greater Johnstown School District.

The classes will provide information on early childhood development and include topics such as infant brain development, discipline, immunization, safety, asthma, lead poisoning, parental stress and parent-child bonding.

Participants also will be able to share their experiences with other parents and grow a learning bond with their child while building a stronger, more vibrant parenting community.

“We want to make this fun and exciting and engage parents so they’ll think about their child’s future,” Eppley-Newman said.

Beginnings is looking for referrals.

Classes are expected to start in early August.

“This is a unique opportunity and a great service to Johnstown,” said Gerald Zahorchak, superintendent of the school district.

“We will be able to connect with parents to address healthy development, and with the help from families the outcome will be tremendous.”

The program is being funded in part by grants from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and Lee Initiatives Inc.

For more information, call 539-1919 or www.beginningsinc.org.

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