The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday January 24th

Kidzu Children’s Museum hosts dental health event

Kidzu Children's Museum partnered with Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry for an event at University Mall on Saturday morning. Carolina K. Wu, 24 months, practices her brushing skills on a stuffed dinosaur.
Buy Photos Kidzu Children's Museum partnered with Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry for an event at University Mall on Saturday morning. Carolina K. Wu, 24 months, practices her brushing skills on a stuffed dinosaur.

“I want it to open right now,” said Davis Starling, a child participant in Kidzu’s Healthy Smiles, an interactive event to promote dental health.

The event, hosted by both Kidzu and Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry, featured puppets demonstrating proper brushing techniques, stories for kids about dental hygiene and a forum for parents to ask questions about their children’s dental development.

“Dental health is important and, once (kids) form good habits, they benefit from them for life,” said Fam Zhang, whose son participated in Healthy Smiles.

“We bring him here once, he has fun, and he remembers dental health,” she said.

Kidzu has served 150,000 young visitors since 2006, offering hands-on learning opportunities. The museum provides exhibits and programs about child health and wellness, art education, STEM and early learning, said Deanna Patrick, Kidzu’s development and programs coordinator.

In December 2013, Kidzu moved to what the group calls its launchpad location in University Mall. This month, however, museum staff is anticipating the opening of its semi-permanent home, a larger space in University Mall, with new events and programming.

The museum plans to open a permanent space at 150 E. Rosemary St. in 2017.

Kidzu aims to make its activities fun and memorable, but educational and informative as well, Patrick said.

Mary Lee Batista, a dental assistant at Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry, said the Healthy Smiles event was particularly relevant because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

“It’s all about education,” she said. “We are here to educate children and parents alike.”

During National Children’s Dental Health Month, the American Dental Association publicizes research on dental topics including oral piercings, sippy cups and dental emergencies.

Next week, Kidzu will host a program called the Teddy Bear Health and Wellness Clinic with the UNC Health Care Nursing Diversity Council to educate children about standard health and wellness procedures.

The program will conclude the museum’s weekly series leading up to the March opening of its new location, which is significantly larger and will allow for the expansion of existing programs and the creation of new ones.

Kidzu is still seeking volunteers to help with its expansion. Volunteers will help out with STEM classes, arts and craft programs and special events, said Emily Chambliss, Kidzu’s education and outreach coordinator.

“Volunteers have lots of interactions with the kids, help us find upcoming events and look for relevant crafts for the themes,” she said.

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