April 20, 2012

Nellis Child Development Centers show pride during Month of Military Child

By Staff Sgt. William P. Coleman
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Nellis Air Force Base Child Development Center is providing special events for children during the Month of the Military Child.

Every April, the Department of Defense observes the Month of the Military Child. The DOD honors and celebrates the sacrifices and unique lifestyle of military children.

The Nellis CDC kicks off the celebration every year with a Red White and Blue Parade where children display decorated patriotic wagons, cribs and banners made by the kids themselves.

“The children are actively involved in all the decorations we make, and they get to parade them in front of their moms and dads,” said Keana Sullivan, Force Support Squadron assistant director of CDC I.

Parents are invited to join or view the parade and stay to have a piece of cake cut by the youngest and oldest children attending the CDC.

But the activities do not stop there. Children and parents have the opportunity to participate in a variety of special events throughout the month. The CDC encourages kids and parents to engage in themed days, such as: multicultural day, community day, fairytale day and many more. Days such as these allow for more conversation and interaction between the children and staff.

“They want to be noticed, and that is what it’s all about; making them feel excited and encouraged about what is going on in the program,” Sullivan said.

Although the Month of the Military Child is celebrated, the learning curriculum at the CDC does not change during this month. The extension of learning through play is something the CDC offers year round, so adding the extra element of fun makes the month stand out.

“During this month, we want to celebrate them, and to children celebration looks like fun, so we do a lot of extra activities, “she added.

In nationwide efforts to accommodate military children, Air Force CDCs are becoming standardized across the force. Having a familiar setting everywhere families go helps children adapt after changing stations. Along with a standard curriculum, CDCs are installing more safety and fun features in the buildings, such as a safe landings carpet and water play playgrounds. The Nellis CDC is one of the first to provide this new design, which was years in the making.

Parents who do not have children enrolled in the CDC can still benefit from programs offered here at Nellis. For example, “Give Parents a Break” is offered once a month on a Saturday and it involves certified caregivers, providing care to military dependents.

“We feed them diner and they are cared for by people who are trained in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and are First Aid certified, in an environment designed for children,” said Sullivan.

Respite Care is another program that is offered to families with a deployed member and families that are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program, free of charge courtesy of the Air Force Aid Society.

The Month of the Military Child is not only a great opportunity to show appreciation for children in the community, it also highlights the great programs and support team that make events like this possible, said Sullivan.

For more information about events for the Month of the Military Child, contact Keana Sullivan at 702-652-9729. For more information about the various family-related programs and services offered at Nellis, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 702-652-3327.

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