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Date: May 1, 2018

Contact: Tabitha Sookeo,  (203) 468-1966,

Over 1,000 expected to celebrate early learning at Saturday’s

Fair Haven Family Stroll & Festival

NEW HAVEN, CT – Over 1,000 adults and children are expected to gather on Saturday May 5th to celebrate and promote high-quality early childhood education at the Fair Haven Family Stroll & Festival.

The event raises awareness about the importance of providing all children with equal access to developmentally appropriate early care and education, and raises funds for Friends Center for Children and the Elm City Montessori School to make this education available for a variety of families.

The 8th annual event is based at Quinnipiac River Park on Front St. and Grand Ave.  It starts with a picturesque 1.5 mile walk along the historic Quinnipiac River at 10am, led by the rousing Southern Connecticut State University Drumline.  After the walk, the festival in the park kicks off at 11am with live music, family yoga, dance, face painting, door prizes, and children’s activities including bubbles and parachute play.  Live entertainment will be provided by Thabisa, a South African native who performs a mix of Afro-soul, jazz, and original pieces, and Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band.

Festival organizers are pleased that Genevive Walker, Chief Operating Officer at ConnCAT, will be returning as Festival Emcee.  Over 25 non-profit and community organizations will share local resources available to families, including free books and literacy programs, healthcare and nutrition education, early childhood education, and summer programming.  Highlighted at the event will be practical tips for building emotional intelligence in children and families, an important part of the culture at Friends Center for Children. One community partner, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is working to make Connecticut the first “emotionally intelligent state.”

“This event is the hallmark of Friends Center’s commitment to community collaboration,” said Allyx Schiavone, Executive Director of the Friends Center for Children.  “Every year we look forward to partnering with others to support parents and families, as we help to build a stronger and more vibrant community. We’re proud of the work we’ve done in expanding access to early childhood education, and this event is a way to share our educational philosophy and important resources with the broader community.”

The event will raise thousands of dollars through donations, sponsorships, and registration fees.  The 2018 Fair Haven Family Stroll & Festival is presented through the generous sponsorship of Patriquin Architects, Eder Family Foundation, Friends Center for Children, Trust for Learning, Webster Bank, Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey LLP, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Elite Property Services, Regional Water Authority, GHP, Petra Construction Corporation, TYCO, Superior Auto Body, TM Byxbee Company, Connecticut Communications LLC, Pristine Cleaning, EBP Supply Solutions, and Alfresco Landscape & Design.

A $10 suggested donation per family will benefit Friends Center for Children and Elm City Montessori, both based in Fair Haven.  In the case of rain, the event will be postponed until Saturday, May 19th; check the event’s Facebook page for weather updates.

More information is available at

About Friends Center for Children

Founded in 2007, the Friends Center for Children is an early childhood, non-sectarian education center providing year-round, full-time care for children ages 3 months to 5 years. Its mission is to educate children, empower families, inspire teachers, engage community and embrace diversity. The Friends Center offers a child-centered, hands-on learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment. With a values-based curriculum, children learn through creative play and a wide range of developmentally-appropriate activities.

About Elm City Montessori School

Elm City Montessori School is proud to be New Haven’s first public Montessori school, currently serving pre-K through third grade students. Core to the Montessori approach is a focus on interactive, self-directed learning and hands-on inquiry in thoughtfully prepared multi-age classrooms that foster independence, creativity, critical thinking and leadership. Our program’s developmental approach to education integrates math, science, language arts, music and the outdoors in a nurturing and academically rigorous environment that promotes lifelong learning and helps each child realize his or her full potential.  


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