Operation Little Learners is an interactive education program for parents and their children to enhance child development. Parents learn to be the primary educator of their child with tools to enhance child development and early learning, as well as parent-child bonding.
Operation Little Learners at Armed Services YMCA Killeen is an educational program that acts as a much-needed platform to help support and build confidence in parents in their roles as their child’s first teacher. This program guides and provides tools to parents to enhance key areas of early childhood development and offers an opportunity for parent-child bonding. This class also provides the setting for both parents and children to make new friendships and feel part of a community, which is critical in the lives of military families. Additionally, parent-child bonding can predict a child’s ability to develop healthy relationships, handle conflicts, and have an overall higher quality of life well into adulthood. The classes provide a variety of activities which enhance cognitive, emotional, social, motor, and other skills of children ages 18 months through 5 years old.
Frequent moves due to military orders are unique stressors of military family life. These moves can come without warning and without control over future location. The move can often cause economic hardships and feelings of isolation. Coupled with potential short-term deployments by the service member, military life can result in the military family feeling untethered without the support of their own family or an established local network to rely upon. Many junior-enlisted active-duty spouses are young, new parents, away from the familiarity of their home community.
This class provides the setting for both parents and children to make new friendships and feel part of a new community. From a physiological and sociological perspective, we know a parent’s bonding with their little one can predict the child’s ability to develop healthy relationships, handle conflicts, and have an overall higher quality of life well into adulthood. As such, the Armed Services YMCA has created Operation Little Learners, which fosters a connection to a community of support, as well as fun and engaging activities to ensure that parents and their child/children learn ways to grow together as a family.
The program results in parents and children that are stronger and more resilient, who not only develop and grow due to the organized curriculum but also connect to a support network filled with other moms and dads experiencing the same military life challenges. With a focus on phonics, writing, art, music, nutrition, and fitness, each participant leaves the program having established a foundation for future social and academic success.
This program operates each Friday, from September 16 through October 7 at the Harker Heights Wellness Center, 110 Mountain Lion Road