Build Your Village This Fall at FamFair
The Baby S.T.E.P.S. (Supporting Teachers, Educators, Parents and Service Providers) Lab at the University of Denver is inviting families and those who serve families to a new event called FamFair: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Hosted in partnership with the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP), University Libraries and the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), FamFair is open to all adults who are raising children, from infants to teens, as well as the community professionals that serve them.
FamFair offers a range of collective activities that emphasize movement and play. “We recognize that play is the universal language of children,” says Kelly Elliott, a research professor at GSPP who also leads the Baby S.T.E.P.S. Lab. She has been coordinating this event along with Tracy Vozar, a former professor in GSPP. Elliott and Vozar are both infant/early childhood psychologists who are devoted to advancing prevention and early intervention community programs and events through initiatives like FamFair.
“FamFair's mission is to cultivate an inclusive learning environment that welcomes individuals of all ages within the family to partake in events that revolve around immersive play experiences,” Elliott says. Networking is an integral part of the experience, as are the scheduled community-building events, including baby-parent yoga, story time and a children’s concert.
FamFair has invited nationally recognized speakers who are experts in child development to lead discussions on important topics like:
- Social-emotional learning
- Cognitive development
- Caregiver-child attachment
- Ways to promote positive child behaviors
- Fatherhood mental health
- BIPOC caregiver experiences
- Perinatal mental health
As world-renowned social scientist Brene Brown says, parenting is the “boldest and most daring adventure.” Imagine embarking on this adventure all alone.
“Science consistently underscores the vital role of adult relationships supporting caregivers when raising children,” says Elliott. “Not only does such support enhance the mental well-being and self-confidence of caregivers in fulfilling their parenting duties, but it is also linked to numerous positive child development outcomes.”
Elliott says strong support networks for caregivers contribute directly to strong caregiver-child relationships and, in turn, positive outcomes for those children.
FamFair is designed to empower attendees by providing a catalyst to find and build critical support to sustain them during the caregiving years. At its core, the event is deeply committed to nurturing relationships by offering trustworthy community resources, fostering meaningful connections among families and caregivers in the community, and granting easy access to evidence-based knowledge on child development to the public. Caregivers with a strong social support network can navigate the path of parenting with increased confidence, ensuring they’re headed in the right direction on the journey toward their ultimate destination.
“FamFair stands as a unique and special community gathering, one that we envision as an annual tradition,” Elliott says.
FamFair will take place on Oct. 21, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Burwell Center for Career Achievement on the DU campus. Registration is required, but all programming, food, drinks and parking are free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending, click here.