Male Hero Event Honors Dads and Male Figures in Mountain View School District’s Head Start Preschool Program
Mountain View School District’s (MVSD) Head Start/State Preschool’s Annual Be a Hero Day honored the male figures who participate and volunteer in the education of MVSD’s preschool students. Dads, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, brothers and other male figures were celebrated “Superhero” style during the event which drew a capacity crowd.
The young students were thrilled to attend with their personal hero as families enjoyed an informative evening of educational strategies, parenting tips, fun activities and dinner together.
“Thank you for joining us tonight as we celebrate the male superheroes in our preschool programs,” said Alma Gonzales, MVSD’s Director of Preschool Programs. “Your involvement during your child’s preschool years is essential to their future success and we salute you for partnering with us and being a superhero!”
The theme for this year’s event was Positive Discipline and the importance of male involvement in a child’s social and emotional development.
“Today we honor the fathers and male figures in our program who have dedicated themselves to honor their children,” said Ruth Giron-Wong, MVSD’s Coordinator of Early Childhood Development. “Research shows that when fathers are involved in their children’s lives children learn more, perform better in school and exhibit healthier behaviors. Your involvement is key to their success and we appreciate you being here tonight.”
Leading off the night’s line up of speakers was Roberto Lopez, MVSD’s Director of Student Support Services and Special Education who discussed proactive parenting and tips for healthy families.
“Proactive parenting leads to engaged and successful students,” said Lopez. “You are your child’s first teacher and they listen and observe everything you say and do so it’s very important to set a good example for them. Spend time together and talk to your kids about important issues. Be consistent with schedules and discipline, and be a role model for the behaviors you want to see in them.”
Maryann Patino, a nutrition consultant provided tips on nutrition and exercise and encouraged the families to sit down and eat their meals together.
“Kids will eat when they are hungry,” said Patino. It’s important not to over feed our children. Also, don’t use food as a reward. Food is for nourishment for our bodies and shouldn’t be used as a prize. Children should exercise at least five times a week for one hour or more. Anything from running, dancing, sports, playing tag – just moving is great for them. We want our kids to grow more in height and less in weight to stay healthy,” she added.
William Minero, a dad of a preschooler in Parkview School’s Head Start appreciates the Head Start program and all it has done for his son and himself.
“Being in the Head Start preschool class is really helping my son a lot,” said Minero. “It’s also helped me a lot by teaching me how to discipline him. I’ve seen a positive change in my child and how he reacts to situations. He’s learning to be respectful and how to control his actions.”
Presenting information on social and emotional development was MVSD school psychologist, David Avalos.
“Research shows that children who have fathers who are involved in their lives are better students and better citizens. I applaud all of you for being here tonight because it shows your child you care and are involved in their education,” said Avalos.
“Being involved means listening to your child, being present, playing with your child, showing affection and hugging them. Being involved means you love them. Keep being involved in your children’s lives, it will have a significant impact,” he said.
Head Start Teacher, Frances Aparicio led the families in a fun Playdough activity. She encouraged the dads to positively interact with their children through activities that are not only fun but educational.
“Playing with Playdough is great and allows your child to use their imagination and creativity,” said Aparicio. “It incorporates critical thinking skills as they think about what to make, it involves math concepts as they mold shapes and explore patterns, and develops fine motor skills and language. There are many fun things you can do with your child to promote learning while having fun together,” she added.
Promoting strong male involvement in the lives of preschool students is a continuing focus for MVSD’s Head Start program. Each superhero in attendance was encouraged to volunteer in the classrooms and participate in school readiness activities at home with their preschool child. Concluding the event, each male hero received a certificate of appreciation and all the families received a packet to take home full of reading books, Playdough, crayons, coloring books and educational resources.
Ofelia Velazquez, a preschool parent from Baker’s Head Start praised the Head Start program for helping her children get a great foundation.
“I’m very pleased with the Head Start program. It helped my daughter a lot. Before she was in Head Start she was very quiet and hardly used any language. Now she expresses herself a lot and has developed her vocabulary greatly,” said Velazquez who volunteers regularly in the classroom and is on the Head Start Policy Committee.
“My older daughter went to Head Start too and it helped her greatly. She’s in fourth grade now and has done really well in school. I enjoy volunteering in the classroom too. I get to do a little of everything and I’m happy to be there to help the teacher and support the students.”
Thanking everyone for attending, Mrs. Giron encouraged them to continue being involved with their children.
“It was a wonderful night and we are so grateful for our wonderful students and for our Superhero Males who support our preschool programs.”