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Kyrene Resource Center offering free early development classes for kids in Ahwatukee AHWATUKEE FOOTHILLS NEWS STAFF

Ahwatukee mothers of children as young a few months old to 5 years have a chance next month to join their kids in a series of free classes aimed at helping them develop their brains for kindergarten. Registrations are now being accepted for the Kyrene Early Education Resource Center’s programs, which will be held at Kyrene de las Lomas, 11820 S. Warner-Elliot Loop, Ahwatukee. Funded by the district and through partnerships that center director Irma Horton has developed with various agencies, the classes are focused on fun and skill building that help young children be ready to enter school. “Everyone benefits when more kids arrive at school prepared to succeed,” Horton said. “Most of my classes in the past have been full,” she added. ”Some classes have waiting list.” Horton said the classes help foster her mission “to empower families and to help families prepare children for success in school” as well as “to share with families all the amazing options they have in Kyrene.” The classes include: Mini-Mozart, 9:30-11 a.m. Sept. 7. This class,

for parents and children 16 months to 2 1/2 years, helps kids learn to communicate through language, song and movement by exploring simple rhythm patterns while they shake, tap and move to music. “The children will explore a variety of instruments, creative props and even their singing voice. This high-energy class will give your active toddler a way to express themselves musically as well as make those connections important for brain development,” Horton said of the class, which is presented by Musicology Open playday, 9-11 a.m. Mondays through Dec. 19. A child explores and makes sense of the world around them through play, which Horton said, “impacts everything from physical abilities and vocabulary to problem solving, creativity, teamwork and empathy.” Raising a Reader. 9-10:30 a.m. Sept. 15 and 29, and Nov. 29. This series includes three workshops for parents and eight weeks of award-winning books to read with their child at home. It helps build a reading routine at home while teaching techniques to foster language and early literacy development. First Strokes - A Handwriting Guide. 9:3011 a.m. Sept. 20. This workshop will provide background on fine motor, visual motor, visual

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motor and sensory motor development and how these skills are needed to participate fully and functionally in the task of handwriting. Development progression of pre-writing skills leading up to writing letters and numbers will be demonstrated. Tips for teaching children how to write (manuscript and cursive) and tricks for helping with difficulties will be discussed. Bilingual story time. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sept. 21 Designed for kids 2 to 5 years old, this class is an introduction to Spanish language learning through fun, interactive activities using books, puppets, music, and crafts. Raising emotionally healthy children. 9-11 a.m. Sept. 27. This workshop enables parents and caregivers to understand the five critical emotional needs of all human beings; to feel accepted, included, respected, important, and secure. The workshop covers social and emotional development of children from birth to teens. Baby Signs – 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sept. 28. Baby sign language is a way to communicate by using hand gestures. Desert Valley Pediatric will provide a glimpse into a baby’s world by helping parents communicate with their preverbal infant. Register: www.kyrene.org/KEERC.

to drive—how great it would be to have a Google Car to drive me to fun things.” Haroon said Google has hosted periodic ride-alongs for folks who can’t drive because of vision problems and other disabilities, and the experience opens up new worlds of possibilities for them. Guest riders often express initial amazement at what the car sees and how quickly they begin to trust the technology, Haroon said. By the end of the ride, she joked, “they kind of find it a little boring.” The cars are programmed to drive conservatively. They observe speed limits, slow down near construction zones, wait 1.5 seconds after a red light turns green and drift toward the center of the lane to give cyclists extra room. Most importantly, Haroon said to great applause from community members at the end of a presentation, the cars don’t get tired, angry, distracted or drunk. Haroon said there’s still no firm date when a motorist will be able to write a check and drive a Google self-driving Lexus or prototype handsfree off the lot. But she hinted that day will come sooner than most people expect. – Reach Mike Butler at 480-898-6581 or at mbutler@ ahwatukee.com.

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