NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY EMBARKS UPON A NEW EARLY CHILDHOOD LITERACY INITIATIVE
See How the Library has Changed to Help Parents Prepare Children for Reading and School
Norfolk, VA (August 23, 2004) - Do you have questions regarding your child's development? Would you like to connect with other parents of very young children, or ask questions of child care professionals in a warm, friendly environment? If so, visit Norfolk's Kirn Memorial Library this fall, check out the newly decorated children's area, and sign up for a free 5-week Parent-Child Workshop scheduled to begin October 23 at 10:00 a.m.
This fall to celebrate 100 years of free service, Norfolk Public Library will launch a new initiative developed for families. This initiative, Family Place, will support parents in their role as their children's first and most important teacher. It will also help them prepare their children to enter school ready to read. Norfolk Public Library is the first Family Place Library in Virginia.
Family Place Libraries are centers for early childhood information, parent education, early literacy, socialization and family support. Expanding the traditional role of children's services, Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parent involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in young children's growth and development. The 1-2-3, Grow With Me, Parent-Child Workshop and Kid's Zone are two core components of Family Place.
NPL's first Parent-Child Workshop occurs Saturday, October 23. The five-week workshop meets five Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and ends on Saturday, November 20. Geared for parents and children ages 1-3- years-old, the series brings toddlers and their parents together in an informal interactive setting. The meeting area will be set up like a playroom, with a large variety of toys and play equipment. Parents will sit on the floor with their youngsters and engage in casual play. "The workshop is very informal, no speaker, no podium," says Terri Raymond, Children's Coordinator for Norfolk Public Library. "Instead, what parents will find on hand are friendly, knowledgeable resource professionals who circulate amongst the group, and talk to parents one on one about any concerns they may have," adds Raymond. Each week features a different subject of interest to parents. The topics include Nutrition, Child Development and Play, Speech, Language and Reading, and Physical Fitness- Movement. The workshop also offers early intervention screening.
In addition, the Library's Children's Department will become a child-friendly haven, an interactive creative environment called the Kid's Zone. The area will resemble an early childhood learning center, with colorful developmentally appropriate toys that encourage participation-bead boards, sand tables, magnetic letters, blocks, games, puzzles and more. Kid Zone provides a welcoming place for parents and their children to come together on a weekly basis.
"Children who participate in the 1-2-3, Grow With Me program gain socialization, language development and motor development skills as well as reading and school readiness," says Norman Maas, Norfolk Public Library Director. Parents grow too. "The sense of isolation that many parents experience diminishes through increased contact with other parents and professionals," adds Maas. Family Place also offers families a comprehensive collection of books, brochures, videos, kits, and magazines. Topics range from toilet training and breast-feeding, to temper tantrums and child development. The library's website has incorporated a family page that has many pertinent links.
Registration for the Parent-Child Workshop is limited so reserve your space today. To register or for more information on Family Place, please contact Terri Raymond at 664-READ(7323) extension 43745.