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Charles Mendez, then 4 years old, is pictured in 2017 at the United Way of Northern Utah Spring Into School Readiness event.

Parents looking for a way to keep their little ones busy can bring them to “Spring into School Readiness,” an event for children under the age of 5 and their parents Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Newgate Mall near the Burlington store.

Hosted by the Weber State Child and Family Studies program and United Way of Northern Utah, the event will feature story time, performances, games and other activities, as well as drawings for items all parents of young children need, like diapers and wipes.

“This is a fun activity, and it shows how playing is really the best way for children to learn,” said Teri Henke, assistant professor of child and family studies at Weber State University, in a press release. “It doesn’t have to be work to help kids prepare for school.”

Along with family fun, the event offers parents the chance to check in on the developing skills of their young children, including communication, problem-solving and social skills, as well as gross motor skills like running and throwing and fine motor skills like stringing beads.

At the event, trained students from Weber State — with majors ranging from early childhood and elementary education to psychology and social work — will help parents complete the “Ages and Stages Questionnaire” online through the program Help Me Grow Utah.

Sometimes parents aren’t sure of what their child is capable of in certain skill areas, so the event also has materials onsite, like toys and beads, so children and their parents can take a stab at certain skills and see how they do.

Parents do not receive results immediately, but will be contacted by Help Me Grow with results from their child’s screening.

Since children grow quickly, there are questionnaires designed for children to take every two months between birth and age two.

Parents who are interested but unable to attend can visit Help Me Grow Utah online to fill out a questionnaire for their child. Questionnaires are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Bosnian, Burmese, Nepali and Swahili.

Other organizations will also be at the event so parents can learn more about their services. Representatives of Welcome Baby Home and Parents as Teachers, two home-visit programs, will be there to meet with parents, as well as Care About Childcare, a service that helps parents find high-quality childcare.

Henke said that many Weber State students bring their own children to the event and tell her that participating in the event was one of their most worthwhile educational experiences.

This is the event’s third year, and it is funded by Melba S. Lehner Endowment at Weber State.

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