Community

Preschool Storytime with additional early learning activities, social play

The San Juan Island Library has expanded Friday Preschool Stortyime, which is every week 10:30 a.m. In addition to sharing stories, songs, and “fingerplays,” children and their caregivers can stay afterword for interactive skill building activities such as games, crafts, and social play.

Children can choose activities which best fit their interests. For example, there will be dressing boards, connector shapes, blocks, story building cards, and sorting color boxes along with a craft. Research points to strong social connections and learning and literacy. Games and hands-on play are fun and accessible ways for children to build skills through discovery, modeling, and cooperation.

Early learning comprises essential skills that are the foundation for a child’s future development. These include concentration, impulse control, listening, social-emotional awareness, and emergent literacy - vocabulary, print awareness and recognition, narrative skills. Sharing books, listening to stories, and playing in a positive setting are ways to help children develop these fundamental skills.

Not only is early learning good for children, it’s good for the whole community. Low rates of literacy and poor academic performance are connected to an increase in high school dropout rates, bullying, and higher rates of incarceration. According to the Department of Justice, more than 60 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level and are considered functionally illiterate. Early learning and literacy skills are known to impact a child’s ability to be school ready and to read at appropriate grade levels.

Although those statistics are alarming, they also prompt critical action. Many states now recognize the importance of early learning to a child’s overall academic achievement. The library is a participating partner of Washington’s Foundation for Early Learning, which strives to ensure that every child in the state is kindergarten ready and has the foundation to succeed academically and throughout life.

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