Port Discover's Parker makes learning fun for kids


Dana Parker, shown here holding a corn snake, is an early childhood educator at Port Discover, the region's center for hands-on science instruction for children and teens.


BY Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Whether they are creating moon dough or investigating the sensory bin, Dana Parker provides engaging and educational activities for young children at Port Discover.

As an early childhood educator at Port Discover, northeastern North Carolina’s center for hands-on science, Parker creates early childhood programs that make learning fun for kids.

Parker leads “Toddler Tuesdays” from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Port Discover for kids up to age 5. The fee for “Toddler Tuesdays” is $5, with an optional $1 for a make-and-take activity.

Parker adjusts the activities for children’s age and skill level.

Parker also offers “Science with a Story” sessions for children every third Thursday from 10 a.m to 11 a.m.

“It’s really nice to watch them grow,” she said.

Parker is looking forward to Port Discover’s 7th annual Earth Day Festival events held scheduled for today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A March for Science will begin at Roebuck Stadium at 10 a.m. and end at Port Discover. A variety of activities are planned for the event, including making bottle rockets and bird feeders, STEM activities, face painting, 3D printing demonstrations, robotics and geologic walking tours of downtown Elizabeth City.

Originally from Florida, Parker said she moved to Elizabeth City with her sister and brother-in-law who is in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Parker said she has always been interested in early childhood education. She was 12 when she started babysitting. Parker has worked as a preschool teacher, instructed summer camps and was the director of a childcare center in Florida.

Parker currently works as a nanny for two families, and she is an independent consultant for Norwex.

“I love my jobs,” said Parker. “They are Earth-friendly, kid-friendly and family-friendly.”

Parker enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and his children. A fan of outdoor activities, Parker likes kayaking, canoeing and geocaching.

For more information about early childhood activities at Port Discover visit the organization’s Facebook page or website at www.portdiscover.org.