Learning Parties

Parents/guardians sign up now for Fall 2018 Learning Parties!

Learning Parties are interactive, hands-on, parent/child “parties” that promote young children’s development of school readiness skills. Based on the belief that parents are their child’s first teacher, Learning Parties teach parents how to make everyday moments learning moments through playing, singing, talking, reading, and engaging in fun activities.  Developed by Ready At Five, the Learning Parties support the seven domains of learning: Language & Literacy, Math, Science, Social Foundations, Physical Well-Being and Motor Development, Social Studies and The Arts. Each series consists of four 2-hour Learning Parties and contains the following components:

  1. Parent Skill Development. A Lead Trainer demonstrates a variety of fun, easy techniques and strategies for improving the skills and abilities of their children. Each session focuses on a specific concept.
  2. Child Play Session. While parents are learning new skills, children attend a “fun learning room,” where a child care provider engages the children in directed child play, aligned with the specific concepts discussed at the parent portion of the Learning Party.
  3. Practice and Parent-Child Activities. When the parents and children are reunited, parents practice the activities with their child, while trainers provide positive feedback and constructive suggestions.
  4. Parent Networking enables parents to meet, talk with, and learn from other parents.
  5. Home Connection and Learning Library. Parents are given a activities to do at home with their child, as well as a variety of books, developmentally appropriate materials, and educational toys to start an early learning library in their home.

HARC partners with local houses of faith and early childhood organizations to facilitate Learning Parties in neighborhoods, providing convenient locations for families to attend and opportunities for churches to build relationships with families in their community.

Volunteers are wanted to help with HARC-sponsored Learning Parties in Washington County!

  • Nursery help (children under age 3)
  • Facilitators and helpers for 3-5 year old children’s session – curriculum provided; no training needed, but previous experience working with this age group preferred.  Teaching experience desired for facilitators.
  • Facilitator for the adult learning session – curriculum provided, must be trained by Ready at Five to facilitate. 
  • Children’s Activities (ages 6-12) – provide fun, educational activities for children in this age group
  • Meal preparation and service – provide a healthy, kid-friendly meal for families and volunteers at a Learning Party

Full description of volunteer opportunities.  To volunteer, please contact Kathy Powderly, or 301-842-4272 or Terri Gwizdala,

More information on Learning Parties

Micah’s Backpack

Micah's backpackA partnership between Washington County Public Schools, HARC, MD Food Bank Western Branch, and 45 sponsoring churches and community organizations providing backpacks to feed hungry students over the weekend.

The Micah’s Backpack program in Washington County follows a model established in Blacksburg, VA.  The program is designed to feed hungry students through a partnership between each elementary school and one or more churches/organizations in its community.  Brought to Washington County by Trinity Lutheran Church in 2010, the program now serves over 845 students in 27 elementary schools and involves partnerships with 45 churches and community organizations. Over 10,000 students in Washington County Public Schools receive free or reduced lunches and for many this lunch will be the last hot meal of the day. Children are especially hungry over the weekend when school is not in session.  Learn more….