By KRISTINA HOUSER
An alligator could be spotted in a parking lot in the heart of the Douglass Park neighborhood this weekend — an inflatable one, that is, with children jumping and squealing in its belly.
Columbia’s Head Start program sponsored its annual carnival for children and their families at Calvary Baptist Church on Saturday, Oct. 16.
Head Start is a national program designed to promote school readiness in young children by encouraging social and cognitive development. It also provides health, educational, nutritional and other services to the children and their families.
David Bruns, a family development advocate at Head Start, said the carnival is a way to help parents become aware of the resources available to them and to bring the families and children together for a day of fun.
The event included several inflatables, a bookmobile, tricycle races, tug-of-war and various carnival games. There were also raffles with prizes including a stay at Stoney Creek Inn and a meal at The Rome.
Different programs had booths set up at the carnival to provide information to parents. Some of these organizations included Central Missouri Community Action, Mid-Missouri Dental Care and HealthCare USA.
“Parenting is the most important job you can do,” said Tammy Hawk, assistant administrator for the Head Start Family and Community Partnerships program.