CONSULT October 2018

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CAY lecture series offers dinner, healthy parenting info at children’s museum

Published on Monday, October 1, 2018

By: Annie Oeth

Dinner, child care and informative programs led by medical experts – all free, and all available at the Mississippi Children’s Museum?

More than 60 people said, “Yes, please!” to this year’s kickoff of “Play. Eat. Learn.” the result of a partnership between the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Advancement of Youth, the Junior League of Jackson and the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

During the events, which will continue through April 30, 2019, JLJ members provide dinner and care for children 3-10; the museum provides space for families to connect during dinner, children to play and parents, teachers and clinicians to take part; and CAY experts offer lectures on topical subjects. The free program is open to the public.

“Parents can hear from experts and help our children grow and become healthy adults,” said Susan Garrard, Mississippi Children’s Museum president and CEO.                  

To start the year’s slate of topics, Dr. Dustin Sarver, assistant professor of pediatrics and a clinical child psychologist, spoke on “The Overactive Brain: ADHD at School and at Home.”

An audience of more than 60 parents, grandparents, clinicians and teachers listen as Dr. Dustin Sarver discusses ADHD during the first "Play, Eat, Learn" event at the Mississippi Children’s Museum.  Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Children’s Museum 

“I really enjoy having the opportunity to meet and reach out to families in the community,” Sarver said. “It gives professionals like myself an opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation: for us to share up-to-date information with a wide audience, but more importantly, listen to the needs, interests, and questions that are important to families.

“This dialogue helps keep us grounded to the issues that our patients have and enables us to better serve them in all the missions that UMMC has related to clinical, research and education activities.”

Lisa Davis-Doty of Brandon was among parents taking part in the evening’s event. She brought along her children, Rigdon, 10, and Ruby Cate, 5.

“This is a great learning experience,” Davis-Doty said, “and having dinner and child care included makes it easy for us to go on a weeknight.”

Rebecca Mullican, Jackson Autism Center founder, teacher and clinician, said the program was “really helpful and informative. The whole series of programs will be very helpful to the community.”

“Our volunteers were excited to kick off this year’s ‘Play, Eat, Learn’ series in a new setting,” said Amanda Woodruff, JLJ “Play, Eat, Learn” chair. “The Mississippi Children’s Museum is the perfect environment for the program.

“We were so excited to see some familiar faces from families who attended last year, and we are looking forward to watching the program grow.”

The next “Play, Eat, Learn” event, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16, features the topic, “The Developing Child: The Zany Brain Science Behind Children’s Behavior.” In 2019, “Play, Eat, Learn” events are planned for Jan. 29, Feb. 26 and April 30.

Registration and dinner is at 6 p.m., with the program to follow at 6:30. Children 3-10 will be allowed to play in the museum with supervision by JLJ members while parents attend the program.

The partnership between the CAY and the JLJ started in 2017 as “Food for Thought,” with the programs at the Norman C. Nelson Student Union on the UMMC campus.

Dr. David Elkin, CAY executive director, said adding the Mississippi Children’s Museum as a partner “makes perfect sense. The museum and CAY can work together throughout the year in providing needed information on health and parenting to families.”

Upcoming “Play, Eat, Learn” topics

Oct. 16: ”The Developing Child: The Zany Brain Science behind Children’s Behavior”

Jan. 29, 2019: ”Connections: How Social Relationships and Social Media Impact a Child’s Development”

Feb. 26, 2019: ”Come Play with Me! The Importance of Play in the Developing Child”

April 30, 2019: ”The Sensory World of a Child: Unpacking the Significance of the Sensory World of All Children, Including Those with ASD and ADHD”

Registration and dinner (first come, first served) is at 6 p.m. The program follows from 6:30-7:15. All “Play, Eat, Learn” sessions are at the Mississippi Children’s Museum, 2145 Museum Blvd., in Jackson.