BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Early Childhood
Research Center will celebrate its 80th anniversary in style with a
Family Carnival to be held from 1-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, on UB's
It's an event that will give UB childhood experts a chance to
help parents with the back-to-school transition while they and
their families are having a ball.
The carnival is open all ages, and not just families of those
enrolled in the UB program. Held at the ECRC in 15 Baldy Hall and
the green space adjacent to Jacobs Management Center, the
rain-or-shine event will feature pony rides, a petting zoo, a
bounce house, live music and other activities for the whole family.
There is a $5-per-person admission charge.
"We hope that our carnival will give families a chance to
celebrate the start of the new school year," says Kelly Roy, PhD,
director of UB's Early Childhood Research Center. "We want children
and parents to embrace that sense of anticipation and remember how
much fun playing and learning together can be."
The carnival comes as parents are preparing to send their
children back to school, a time that, along with a sense of
possibility and excitement, can also be stressful for all family
members, she says.
"The start of a new school year can present difficulties for
families," says Roy. "With a little planning, these challenges can
Roy suggests smoothing the transition by trying to get everyone
in the family on the same page, and establishing a home atmosphere
where everyone is enthused and positive about going back to
"If parents are anxious about it, their children will be, too,"
Roy gives these tips to reduce anxiety before the first day
-- Visit the school before the first day.
-- Talk with the teacher in an informal way before the start of
-- Play on the playground or go for a walk around the school
yard to feel at home there.
-- Find books written for someone the age of your child to
discuss the transition to school.
-- Help your child count down the days until school begins by
making a chart or big calendar. This can build anticipation in a
positive way, Roy says.
-- Include your child in back-to-school shopping.
-- Talk with them about what they would like that is special to
start the new school year. Maybe they can have more input into that
"back to school haircut" or school supplies, Roy suggests. "For
young children it can be important that they have a comforting
object with them in school," Roy says. "Working on a pocket photo
album together with family pictures for them to look at if they get
anxious in school gives them a positive sense of anticipation and a
reminder that you're thinking of them and they'll be home again
-- Roy also says getting the children in a school-time routine
before school starts is important. "Children need 10 to 12 hours of
sleep a night," Roy says. "Adjusting their bedtime to ensure that
they can get up well-rested early in the morning is important for
everyone's well being. Trying to change the routine the night
before school starts can make for a difficult transition for
everyone in the house."
Since its beginning in 1932, UB's ECRC has evolved from a small
preschool offering opportunities for the study of young children to
a community resource providing teacher education, professional
development and continued study in Early Childhood Education.
Currently the ECRC offers services to about 75 children, from six
months through school age, and their families. Infants and parents
can participate in a program called babyPlay, a program that
includes yoga, Musicplay, literacy and technology activities.
Children ages 18 months through 5 years old participate in the
preschool program. School-age children enjoy summer camp at the
At the ECRC, children learn through play. Children learn to make
choices and to be responsible for them. They are encouraged to
share, problem-solve and collaborate with each other in a trusting,
happy environment. Children from all over the world, speaking many
different languages, play together at the ECRC in a multicultural
atmosphere prepares the children for their lives in a global