The Children’s Council: a resource for all young children
by Anna Oakes
From cradle to kindergarten, the first 2,000 days of a
child’s life are considered crucial to later learning, health and success,
childhood development experts say.
To aid parents during this critical time, The Children’s
Council of Watauga County has resources available for all families, said
Crystal Kelly, executive director.
“My goal is for us to be the place to go to if you had a
young child in Watauga County,” said Kelly, who became the executive director
in January. “There’s lots of ways to plug in.”
Located in the Family Resource Center at 225 Birch St., The
Children’s Council office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through
Friday. The council offers early childhood educational materials, family
support services, play groups, early literacy programs and community outreach
According to the North Carolina Partnership for Children’s
“First 2,000 Days” campaign, neuroscientists have found that much of a young
child’s brain synapse formation, which influences intellectual capacity,
memory, problem solving and language, takes place in the first five years of
Social and emotional skills and healthy practices are also
developed during early childhood, the campaign said.
The Children’s Council of Watauga was in the past most well-known
as the child-care referral center for the county; if you were looking for a day-care
center for your child, you could go to the council for a list of options.
But that responsibility now lies with a regional call
center, Kelly said.
“For a long time, that was the main association of what The
Children’s Council did,” Kelly said. “People may not be aware of all the things
At its office on Birch Street, The Children’s Council has an
expanded Resource Corner with materials available for onsite use or checkout,
including books, activity kits and motor skills activities, as well as a
copier, laminator and die-cut machine.
The Children’s Council operates a diaper bank for families
who need diapers or for distribution by social service agencies and food
pantries, and they encourage community groups to hold diaper drives to
contribute to their supply.
For new kindergarteners, The Children’s Council gives out
gift bags at school orientations. It also distributes supplies and materials
through pajama and bookbag programs.
The council hosts training sessions for new parents and
child-care workers, children’s yoga, support groups and more.
“The overall resources available to us are for everybody,”
This Saturday, Sept. 22, The Children’s Council hosts the
third annual Quest for Quality Early Childhood Conference at Appalachian State
University’s College of Education building.
The conference features four training sessions, with tracks
for child-care professionals, parents, teachers, agency employees,
administrators and others.
About 150 people attended the conference last year, Kelly
For more information, call (828) 262-5424 or visit http://www.thechildrenscouncil.org.