Chesterfield County , Va.
For libraries that serve neighborhoods with a large population of families with young children, Chesterfield County Public Library constructed a new and exciting program that supports early literacy and child development. The Play Smart with Toddlers program provides a comfortable atmosphere for parents to enjoy a session of play with their child while learning from experts about how play supports their child’s development and encourages early literacy skills. Children improve their socialization skills in a safe environment, while parents connect with community professionals with various areas of expertise related to children aged 0-3. Library staff identify and coordinate the experts through partnerships with county departments and other local and regional organizations. This monthly program is unusual for a library literacy program in that it doesn’t stick to the importance of “reading”. Staff and partners addresses a whole rang range of learning opportunities for parents in one session. Chesterfield parents can come to the library to learn parenting skills and make connections with various early childhood agencies, where they can find parenting information and support. The children benefit from a program that allows them access to developmentally appropriate play and social interactions with other children. This network of care is a holistic approach to the early learning needs of our children, and to supporting our families and caregivers.
Ms. Carolyn Sears
Assistant Director of Library Services