Tadpoles leap in for the O-W Child Development Day


On Leap Day, February 29, 36 potential Owen-Withee students were registered for the Preschool and Early Childhood Screening. Principal Julie Van Ark and special education paraprofessional Jodi Kaduce welcomed parents and their children to the annual child development day at O-W Elementary. O-W EL educators Peggy Goerlitz, Albert Goerlitz, Physical Therapist Aleyna Edbolm and Speech and Language Pathologist Krista Dahlke met and played with the children to screen for possible special needs. Jim Scheuer and Lyle Roe from the Owen-Withee Lions did vision screenings. Hearing testing was also available on this day.
To help promote healthy children and family support, the Clark County Health Department set up an informational table. Representatives from the Clark County Birth to 3 program, Michelle Wurzer and Heather Mueller were happy to answer questions and promote this important community program. The Birth to 3 program serves families with children who have delays or disabilities. If a child is eligible, a team of professionals partners with families to support growth and learning. The support given is designed for individual family cultural beliefs and needs. The program offers four basic steps to support child development:
1. When a possible delay or disability is noticed acting early is the best way to have a positive impact, learn more about early action at actearly.wisc.edu.
2. Contact your local county birth to 3 program to learn about how this program can help. If a child’s doctor, nurse, childcare, teacher or other professional believes Birth to 3 will help the child, they will give a referral but most cases they will talk to parent first.
3. Once a referral has been made, it will be time to meet the team to see if the child is eligible.
4. If the child is eligible then the services will begin. Families will work with a primary service provider to help the child learn, interact, and thrive at home, in childcare, and during other everyday activities. The parent or caregiver will learn how to be the child’s first and best teacher. They will be supported by a full team of service providers including a service coordinator, a special education teacher and therapists.
Cecilia Rihn, home visitor from the Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc. shared how their agency can help families in Clark County, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor or Washburn counties. The ICAA states “our goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect by promoting positive parent-child relationships and healthy attachment through a family-centered, culturally sensitive and reflective curriculum that caters to the family’s strengths.”
Pregnant women or moms and dads who have babies up to three-month-old, regardless of income and cultural background are eligible for home visits. These visits ensure families have a medical provider, give information on child development, identify a baby’s needs, connect families with other resources and generally help families feel more in control. For more information or to set up a visit contact Cecilia Rihn at 715-415-0424 or Cecilia.rihn@indianheadcaa.org or visit their website at www.indianheadcaa.org.
Noel Barteck represented the W.O.W. program which provides food for families in need. This food assistance program provides children with a weekend worth of food. The program was designed to fill in the gap that the school meal program can not bridge… the weekends.
Other helpful information was provided from the OWC Fire Department, O-W Police, Withee Library, Personal Development Center, Owen-Withee Jaycees, Headstart, Family Living Center U-W Extension and the Clark County Nurse.
“The turn out was much better than last year,” Principal Van Ark commented. “It was wonderful to see so many families and students happy to start school. We are so thankful for volunteers who helped out.”