The Mary S. Biesecker Public Library recently received training and materials through the Cruise into Kindergarten program from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The new program – named Play K – is designed to boost preschoolers’ (aged 3-5) skills in eight domains of Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood. The curriculum uses six different themed playscapes to achieve this. The goal of the program is to teach/practice four critical skill sets needed for success in school: physical coordination, language proficiency, self-concept and social development.
This 6-month program is self-directed and parent supervised. Program materials are available during normal opening hours from January thru June of 2017. The library is open Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm., Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. A summary of each month’s themes are described below:
January – “All Aboard”
This playscape explores the theme of transportation, including the different kinds of transportation and why it is important to our daily lives. Toys include puzzles, a sound-matching game and a “Vehicle Sorting Center” to provide opportunities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) exploration and play.
February – “A Home for Me and a Home for You”
This playscape explores the theme of house and home, including the different kinds of houses that people live in within communities. Toys include a puppet set, a rhyming game and a “House Building Center” to provide opportunities for STEM exploration and play.
March – “Let’s Go Shopping!”
This playscape explores the theme of shopping and beginning economics. Children will learn how money relates to the purchase of goods and services, using a grocery store as the example. Toys include pretend foods, shopping baskets, shopping lists and picture/word rings, and a “Play & Learn Cash Register” to provide opportunities for STEM exploration and play.
April – “All Around Town”
This playscape explores the theme of community and citizenship and focuses on the different people in the community and how when everyone works together, the community is a better place. Toys include a community sorting center, community helper figures and a set of “Community Vehicles & Buildings with Garages” to provide opportunities for STEM exploration and play.
May – “Amazing Animals” – Pets
This playscape explores the theme of animals as pets and what they need to live and grow. Toys include puzzles, a fine motor skills game and a “Pet Vet Center” to provide opportunities for STEM exploration and play.
June – “My Colorful World”
This playscape explores the theme of color and light and how colors help us describe the objects in our world. Toys include a puppet set, size and color sorting bears, and a set of “Light and Color Tabletop Blocks” and a “Color and Light Science Kit” to provide opportunities for STEM exploration and play.
The PlayK program is made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Play K full fills the five literacies of PA Forward: basic, civic and social, financial, health, and information literacy.
About Pennsylvania Libraries & PA Forward
Pennsylvania Libraries have moved far beyond just being book repositories. They’re agile institutions serving real-life needs. Libraries are key to powering progress and elevating the quality of life in PA by fueling the types of knowledge essential to success: Basic Literacy, Information Literacy, Civic and Social Literacy, Health Literacy, and Financial Literacy.
Working in Partnership with The Pennsylvania Library Association, libraries from across the Commonwealth are working together to move PA Forward. This initiative seeks to give voice to what the library community already knows, and what other states throughout the nation are also recognizing.
With the right support, libraries are ideally positioned to become the community centers of information, technology, and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all of our citizens.
For more information, go to www.PAForward.org, www.facebook.com/paforward, or find PA Forward on Twitter at @PAForward5.