Child Development Center hosts fall ‘Harvest’ event for kids


Festival of ‘harvest’: The Child Development Center hosted the Harvest Festival as a seasonal celebration for children and family. The event had activities like face painting. It’s the last event before the move to the new building in December. Photo credit: Denny Cristales

Denny Cristales, Editor-in-Chief

Watching Little Red Riding Hood being chased around by the Big Bad Wolf is typically something found in fairy tales, but last Friday was indeed the exception – for Cerritos College, at least – when the Child Development Center hosted its Harvest Day Festival event for children and parents, alike.

The festival is hosted every year. The Child Development Center celebrates all the seasons throughout the year as a part of its curriculum for children.

Soliciting help from parents and students, the Harvest Festival had face painting, pumpkin carving, mask and necklace making, books for purchase and a Storywalk play.

The Storywalk was a play presented to the children and parents in a walk-through kind of fashion, having the story progress as the attendees were guided through the set, while the actors acted out the story.

The Storywalk was none other than the story of Little Red Riding Hood, with Diana Echeverria, a teacher for four-year-old students, having to face the dreaded wolf in the play.

“Well, it was very scary as you could imagine,” she said. “We’ve been practicing and getting parents to help out throughout the week to prepare for this special event for children. And it’s been great, it’s been fabulous.”

The focal point of the play was to promote literary awareness.

“I think the important thing is bringing stories to life for children, really seeing how fun it is to read and that stories don’t just come from a book and that stories can be active and acted out. It makes it more fun for students to learn and have a love for reading,” she said.

While the play was taking place in a separate section of the Child Development Center, the main patio of the center had its different events lined up.

Christian Malacarne was attending the festival with his brother Landon Artiaga, hearing about the event from his mom.

“It’s pretty fun,” Malacarne said. “I mean, it’s kind of hectic with this little guy (Artiaga) making a mess with everything, but, all around, pretty fun. We got to make a few necklaces, but he wears them as a headband.”

Students got to get a valuable experience, as well, as Alvina Thibodeaux, a student of the Child Development Center, was in charge of the drawing station.

An important aspect of child development that is grabbed from coloring is that it allows the children to unleash their imagination. She also emphasized the importance of creating memories.

“Speaking as a parent myself, the experience they (the children) should grab from this is that when they grow up, they just look back and think ‘oh, I did this with my family’ … And really to just have happy memories as a child is what I really want them to grab out of these experiences.”

Debra Ward, the director of the Child Development Center, mentioned how this is one of the final events the center will host before the move to the newly constructed center on Dec. 15.

She emphasized that there are more opportunities for not only the children to learn, but for the students to have more access to resources and teach in a more intuitive way.

“There (are) areas specifically for students so students can get a really meaningful hands-on interaction with the children.”

The children get more access to resources, too.

Ward said, “There’s also equipment for the children that’s designed for more purposeful play. It’s not just a play structure; we’ve got underground tunnels and we have flowers and plants representing the landscape and all the different plants for all of California. The children can learn through scientific inquiry with those elements, as well.”

As for Echeverria, the one lesson she grabbed from this whole event is that Little Red Riding Hood definitely learned her lesson.

“She will definitely not be talking to any strangers.”