Staying Connected

Staying Connected

How can we be together during these times of social distancing?

Like the rest of the world, the Carrollton Early Childhood PTA completely stalled in March 2020. The night before our regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the city of Dallas started reporting potential cases and a potential shut down. It was very quickly decided that we would not hold our March meeting, even though we were all so looking forward to hearing guest speaker Heather MacFayden from the “Don’t Mom Alone” podcast. Our socials the following week were cancelled. St. Patrick’s day parties were cancelled. We did the best we could do and followed our local school district’s protocols to stay home and move to virtual platforms. Zoom meetings were held to vote in our new board for the 2020-2021 school year. We didn’t get to end the school year with our normal activities or playgroups. We just held our breath.

As summer approached and the state of Texas began to reopen, we saw that our families were getting restless. We needed to get creative and find ways to connect. Some families were ready to get out and return to the park. Some started having their own small playdates. While others still were staying home and not even seeing family. Many weren’t yet comfortable with large groups. So how do you approach an organization of 150 families and meet all of their needs? Flexibility and options!

This hike at Arbor Hills might have included a downpour, but these mamas and kids are all smiles after time with friends!

In this new age of mask wearing and social distancing, we want to meet each of our families at their own comfort level. Our playgroup coordinators and board have been getting creative and offering various ways to connect.

What can you expect to see inside of CECPTA right now?

1.In person play dates are happening for those who are ready. Any member is able to set up a play date within their playgroup and invite friends to join them. Most popular have been pool play dates, splash pad fun, hikes at Arbor Hills, and enjoying the many beautiful parks we have here in Carrollton. The group sizes have ranged from 3 to 8 families.

Zoom play groups and book club are so much fun!

2. Virtual play dates have proven to be a fun way to connect! Kids enjoy hearing other kids play. These virtual play groups have been a fun way to allow parallel play and socialization from the comfort of your own home. A play doh play date for our 4 year olds lasted nearly an hour just a couple of weeks ago! Virtual play dates allow for guided activities like sing-alongs and story times, or more open fun like showing off favorite toys and just letting the kids spend time together. Most of our virtual play dates have taken place via Zoom. We are also seeing families connecting and having one-on-one virtual play dates through the Messenger Kids app.

Families connect in our Facebook groups by sharing activity ideas and relieve stress with fun memes and challenges!

3. Being apart has given us a chance to get to know each other better! Through our member-only Facebook groups, parents have the opportunity to post and share in a supportive forum. We are playing virtual games, sharing laughs with funny memes, posting relatable articles and blogs, sharing ideas of activities to do at home, and sharing resources for those who are preparing for homeschooling/virtual learning. Pandemic parenting is not something that any of us could prepare for, so having each other to turn to has been a huge blessing! If you are looking for a supportive community, this is it!

Driving by for some yummy ice cream!

4. We hope you have seen our fun drive-by events! Our Hunt through Homestead to find the treasure on our first ever Treasure Hunt was an amazing way to kick off Summer! We offered a drive by event for families to pick up ice cream and saw so many smiles! Families that wanted to hang out were able to park and enjoy some time together at the same time as the families that chose to just pick up the ice cream and head home to enjoy their treat. More drive by events are coming!

Card making party at the park! Families were able to pick up cards to complete at home or stay for a play date at the park.

5. Service is still at the heart of our organization! CECPTA families have had the opportunity to give back this Summer by collecting goods for the urgent needs pantry at Metrocrest Services, making cards to send to the residents at Brookhaven Nursing Home, and collecting school supplies for Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County.

6. Our Education team kicked off our first ever Book Club with options for kids and parents. Book Club Zooms on a Friday night are a great way to chat with other moms and just relax! We are thankful to the Education team for also continuing to bring in virtual guest speakers and children’s programs for our families.

… and more! We are doing our best to make it work and are excited for all of the possibilities as we look ahead to the Fall!

Interested in learning more about the Carrollton Early Childhood PTA? Join us for some fun on Tuesday, August 25th! We are offering a “Get to Know CECPTA” event in three different formats: drive by, virtual, and in person!

We will be at Mary Heads Carter Park passing out activity kits based on the beloved Dr. Seuss book, “Ten Apples Up On Top.” Families are welcome to drive by to pick up an activity kit between 9:00-10:30am on Tuesday, August 25th. Please sign up below if you plan to pick up an activity kit. Please let us know the number of children needing a kit.


After you pick up your activity kit, make sure to join us on our Facebook page @carrolltonecpta for a story time and quick instruction video for the craft.

CECPTA moms gathered at Pie 314 for a much needed Mom’s Night Out in July.

Interested in staying to play at the park and meet some CECPTA members? Please do! Look for the MOM SQUAD shirts to meet some of our awesome playgroup coordinators and members, as they play with their kids around the park! We love making new friends, so please say, “hi!” We will also have glue sticks available at the activity kit table for those interested in completing their craft at the park (supplies will be sanitized between each use). For those looking to social distance, come early and bring a breakfast picnic! There is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy this beautiful park.

Bring a friend! We hope to see your smiling face in a couple of weeks and look forward to answering your questions about the CECPTA!

Ready to join? Membership for families with children born September 1, 2015 – present is just $25! Head over to our Join Now page to complete our two-step registration process. If you have any questions, please email Jenna.

Jenna Leonard lives in Carrollton with her husband, daughter (Madison, 4), and their precious pup. She grew up in Carrollton from 5th grade on and is a proud Kent Cardinal, Blalack Bear, and Creekview Mustang alum! Jenna holds a Bachelors in Music Education from Oklahoma Baptist University. She taught choral music at the secondary level for Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD and Denton ISD for 8 years prior to staying home when Madison was born. Jenna now enjoys teaching family music classes for Music Together Dallas, going on adventures with Madison, spending time with family, reading, and watching anything besides Paw Patrol (which is rare!). She and Madison have been members of the CECPTA (Yellow playgroup) since the Fall of 2017. Jenna has served as the Website and Digital Communications chair and is now in her second year as our Membership Chair.

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