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Where the Only Limit is Imagination

Family Development Program Supports Early Childhood Education

“Young children are creative, inventive, and capable learners who discover how the world works when they get totally lost in play.”

Lois Vermilya, Director
Family Development Program

Educators and parents can use the Wemagination Center in Albuquerque.

Educators and parents can use the Wemagination Center in Albuquerque.

On average, disadvantaged children enter school lagging behind their middle-class peers when it comes to knowing their letters and numbers, and exhibiting well-developed social skills. New Mexico has limited resources for teachers and families to support early childhood development. To address this need, the Wemagination Center offers affordable materials and strategies to level the playing field for all children.

On the corner of Copper Avenue and Morningside Drive in Albuquerque sits an educational resource for both educators and parents. The building houses the Wemagination Center, an initiative of the UNM College of Education’s Family Development Program.

Recycled Treasures

The Center offers safe, recycled items, often factory extras that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. Varying from the one-of-a-kind to the ordinary, the collection includes foam punch-outs, caps from perfume bottles, beads, paper, and an array of other items in every imaginable color and shape, perfect for inspiring any child to play and produce art.

UNM Family Development Center

Playing to Learn

The Center supports the essential role of play and art-making for children’s optimal learning and development.

“Young children are creative, inventive, and capable learners who discover how the world works when they get totally lost in play,” says Lois Vermilya, Director of the Family Development Program. She goes on to explain that “our job as adults is to be active ‘researchers’ about children’s thinking. It’s less about giving answers and more about raising questions that create rich opportunities for children to investigate, develop their own theories, and delight in discoveries they find.”

Based on the Family Development Program’s popular Watch Me Play/Watch Me Learn book series and research about the science of early learning, Wemagination workshops promote practical ways to understand what children are learning when they play both inside homes and classrooms, as well as outdoors in the natural world. Hands-on learning sessions for parents and educators explore early literacy, math, science, music and art through dynamic processes of engaged learning that expose adults to how children learn through play.

Volunteer Opportunities

All kinds of volunteer opportunities are happening at the Wemagination Center! If you are interested in learning more, contact Andrew Castellano, Program Coordinator for the Family Development Program at andyc@unm.edu or 505-277-5800.

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