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EPU Children’s Center Transforms Into A Literary Wonderland During “Octoddlerfest”
FRESNO, Calif. — Oct. 24, 2017 — EPU Children’s Center hosts its annual “Octoddlerfest” this week, providing a safe Halloween experience for children and families with special needs. EPU transforms into a literary wonderland during the last week of October, modeled after all-time favorite children’s books like Rainbow Fish and the Hungry Caterpillar. Octodderlfest is intentionally modeled after the nationwide Cradling Literacy initiative, emphasizing upon early childhood literacy for children from birth to age three.
Octoddlerfest is a family-friendly event for children receiving services at EPU who may not feel comfortable with traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating or walking from door to door in the evening’s cool temperatures. The event hosts book-themed rooms, helping children visualize the curriculum they’ve learned in EPU’s Play and Grow Program. The program focuses on therapy through play, and emphasizes the importance of literacy.
“Halloween can be stressful for children who have special needs,” said Michelle Haaland, manager of the EPU Children’s Center’s Play and Grow program. “Octoddlerfest is an inclusive, controlled environment that caters to children and families with a wide variety of needs.”
Octoddlerfest attendees can dress up in their favorite costumes and pick their favorite pumpkin at EPU’s fully-enclosed playground pumpkin patch. Instead of handing out the traditional candy, EPU’s staff will distribute goodies like toothbrushes, toothpaste, Play Doh, healthy treats, crayons, stickers, and more.
“Parents can give their child the traditional Halloween experience without taking the child out of their comfort zone,” said Haaland. “We want to provide families with the support they need to enjoy Halloween together.”
Octoddlerfest will be held every morning and every afternoon at the EPU Children’s Center beginning Wednesday, October 25 through Halloween. The Play and Grow program has hosted Octoddlerfest for the past 41 years, and expect a total of 350 children and families to attend the weeklong event.
About EPU Children’s Center (Exceptional Parents Unlimited)
For 41 years, the EPU Children’s Center has provided support for children and families facing extraordinary medical, developmental and parenting challenges throughout Fresno County. Today, the EPU Children’s Center provides nearly 1,000 services to children and families each week. The EPU Children’s Center’s staff of more than 100 therapists and early childhood specialists meet the critical needs of children and families through six specialized programs. For more information, visit www.epuchildren.org