HALEYVILLE - Haleyville Public Library recently received the Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit, a set of ten kits each containing two to three books (21 in all) and materials for hands-on activities related to the books’ topics. Designed to foster school readiness in children aged zero to eight, these kits can be checked out for use at home.
“School readiness is an important benchmark for all families with young children to achieve,” said Alabama Public Library Service Director Nancy C. Pack in an APLS press release.
“The program places a strong emphasis on key aspects of early childhood development including quality adult-child interactions, social skills, math and science learning, emotional learning and stress management,” she explained.
“The toolkit includes fliers, bookmarks, posters, and flashcards in six languages that feature easy, everyday activities and conversation starters for families to share to build quality interactions that shape children’s thinking skills,” according to the press release.
“We are excited,” said Carla Waldrep, head librarian at Haleyville Public Library. “This is going to be a great resource.”
HPL has kits that focus on colors, shapes, counting, math, measuring, exploring nature, and managing emotions, among other things.
In addition to being checked out, the kits can be used in the library and are already being used in library programs like storytime. Waldrep noted that the library will sanitize the kits after use, just as they are doing with the puzzles, books, blocks and other items in the now reopen Activity Barn.
At a storytime for preschoolers on April 19, Waldrep used a kit focused on sorting to practice counting and color recognition as well with six preschool-age children. She read Barbara Mariconda’s Sort It Out!, which features a young packrat named Packy who tries to sort all the things he’s collected after his mom asks him to clean up. Waldrep had real-life examples of some of the items in the book—a green bean, an egg, an umbrella—and used them to help the children notice the similarities between different things in order to sort them in a variety of ways.
After the story, the children were given different colored cups containing small toy teddy bears in the same colors as the cups—all part of the kit. Waldrep led them through a variety of sorting exercises that focused on both color recognition and counting. Then it was time for a snack, but the learning continued. The children sorted their multi-colored Goldfish crackers and gummy bears before eating them.
The kits were developed by the the Bay Area Discovery Museum in 2017 with support from the California State Library and the Pacific Library Partnership. BADM is located at Fort Baker in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services then enabled 18 states to receive the kits over a three year period.
Eighty-eight libraries in Alabama are receiving the kits this year, according to the APLS press release. Waldrep said the Haleyville and Jasper libraries are the only ones in this region that received them.
However, she said, other libraries in the Carl Elliott Regional Library System will be able to borrow the kits—or can make their own. Waldrep said she would provide a list of books contained in the kits to any other CERLS library that wants one. The libraries could then make or purchase materials for activities related to the books’ topics. “Hopefully, in the long run it will benefit all of us that are willing to utilize it,” she said.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.