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Recent News
9/6/2012
NEW EARLY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT HENNNEPIN COUNTY LIBRARY – NORTH REGIONAL WILL OPEN SEPT. 29, START KIDS ON THE PATH TO LEARNING AND SUCCESS
Learning to read and write is the foundation of all learning and success in life. Research has shown that the early childhood years  — birth to six — are a critical time for a child to develop pre-reading (early literacy) skills. In young children, those skills are learned through play and interaction with others. Dramatic play is a fun, natural way for children to develop vocabulary, storytelling, and other early literacy skills.
 
To support children’s development of crucial early literacy skills, Hennepin County Library – North Regional, 1315 Lowry Ave. N., Minneapolis, is opening a new Early Learning Environment created in partnership with the Minnesota Children’s Museum, with collaboration from the Northside Achievement Zone. The public is cordially invited to celebrate its opening on Saturday, Sept. 29.  Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
 
The Early Learning Environment at the North Regional Library was made possible by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library through grants from the Pat and Tom Grossman Family Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation.
 
“It has been clear for a long time that we have a crisis in terms of not enough kids reading at grade level,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat. “When kids can’t read, they struggle in school and with making progress in many other ways. There is a cascading effect that results in so many problems we see later.
 
“North Regional Library’s new Early Learning Environment is but one of our efforts to put more emphasis on working to help kids read earlier, more and with proficiency by the time they enter kindergarten. The Board is committed to improving child literacy rates and we will not stop until we see marked improvement.”
 
Six early literacy skills have been identified as the building blocks of reading and learning:
  • being interested in and enjoying books
  • understanding that print has meaning
  • knowing letter names and sounds
  • hearing the different parts of a word
  • learning words
  • telling stories.
 
Parents are their child’s first teachers. There are five simple ways parents can prepare their children to become readers: talk together, sing together, read together, write together, and play together.
 
North Regional Library’s new Early Learning Environment, which was designed and built by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, is located adjacent to the children’s collection to encourage families to browse books and other materials as they enjoy the new Early Learning Environment together.
 
Play-and-learn sections of the new space are: “Community Garden,” “Farmer’s Market,” “Kitchen Play,” “Picnic Table,” “Public Service Building,” and “Dance/Theater Studio.” Each includes a variety of props and costumes to encourage children to role play. 
 
The “Public Service Building,” for example, is the backdrop for role playing at a “pretend” police office, fire station and hardware store. Each offers assorted interactive props so children can use their imaginations to be a firefighter, mail carrier or a hardware store employee, for example. The Dance/Theater studio has a small stage with a mirror and dance bar plus costumes for theater or dance role playing.
 
“This innovative and impactful project is exactly the type of program that our support community is eager to fund,” said Brian Herstig, executive director of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. “And, thanks to our generous lead donors, we were able to fund the entire project through private grants.”
 
The library open house is scheduled during the Lowry Avenue Harvest Festival and Open Streets to encourage everyone to discover and explore North Regional Library’s new Early Learning Environment together. There will be activities inside and outside the library.
 
Hennepin County Library is committed to creating welcoming environments for children and families. Another Early Learning Environment for children is located at Hennepin County Library – Hopkins.
 
For more information, call North Regional Library at 612-543-8450 or go online to www.hclib.org
9/6/2012


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