Our Early Literacy Centers (ELCs) are interactive play spaces that encourage learning through play. The spaces are designed especially for children ages birth to six and their caregivers. We currently have two ELCs: one at our Northwest Branch Library in Carroll and one at our Bremen Branch in Bremen..
Activities at the Early Literacy Centers help children learn how to tell stories, recognize letters and work with letter sounds, all while having fun. The ELCs are specifically designed for parents and caregivers to help their young children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for up-to-date information!
What will you find at the Early Literacy Centers?
- A play dough table, with tools, cookie cutters, and alphabet dough stampers
- A child-sized puppet theater and puppets for storytelling
- A baby area with infant-appropriate toys and books, as well as a safe, comfortable area to explore (at Northwest only)
- A kitchen dramatic play area, with realistic food, dishes, and kitchen accessories.
- A block area, which includes a doll house and treehouse with people and accessories, a transportation rug with vehicles, and lots of blocks for building
- Easels and paint for budding artists to use.
- Lots of games and activities for preschoolers and caregivers to use together to help build early literacy skills.
- Our adaptive toy collection is at the Northwest branch. Adaptive toys are designed specifically for children with special needs or disabilities.
What are the hours of the Early Literacy Centers?
The ELC locations are open during regular branch hours specific to the location.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost for visiting our ELCs.
How does playing with toys help my child succeed in kindergarten?
Children who are playing are actually engaging in many early literacy activities. Every time they tell a story, they are practicing their narrative skills. Every time they paint or color, they are strengthening the muscles that allow them to write their name. Every time they sing songs or recite nursery rhymes, they are learning about the sounds of letters, which will help them learn to sound out words. The activities we have available at our ELCs were specifically chosen to encourage the development of early literacy skills. Be sure to register your preschooler for our 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program when you come to visit.
Do you offer day care services?
No. The Early Literacy Centers are intended as learning environments for preschoolers and their caregivers to use together. All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. This is a time for caregivers to be focused on their children and use of cell phones in the ELCs is strongly discouraged.
Can my group visit the Early Literacy Center?
Groups are certainly welcomed at the ELCs. We invite day cares, preschools and other groups with young children to schedule a visit by calling the location they wish to visit. In order to accommodate the many day cares and preschools in our area, we ask that groups limit themselves to two scheduled group visits per school year.
How do you keep the Early Literacy Center clean?
Our staff works every day to make sure the ELCs are neat and tidy. We ask our visitors to help by encouraging their children to use our materials appropriately and put them away before moving to a new section. Toys are sanitized on a regular basis. If there is an item you feel needs cleaned, please place it in our “Sanitize Me” bin.