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ILA Statement in Support of Senate Bill 1193

Wednesday, April 07, 2021 1:37 PM | Cresta Craner (Administrator)

Did you know that every public library in Idaho and the families with young children in your communities will directly benefit from the Preschool Development Grant (PDG)? The Idaho Library Association is writing to share our formal support of Senate Bill 1193 and the PDG. 

Idaho libraries and the Idaho Commission for Libraries are named partners in this grant. Funding would enhance an existing family-centered approach to ensuring children are ready for kindergarten by engaging parents as partners in educating their young child. The funds give every library in the state the opportunity to get new, quality, classic picture books on their shelves selected to encourage early literacy practices: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play; as well as the ability to offer early learning resources for parents including Ready! for Kindergarten workshops for parents, grandparents, and caregivers with young children.

Ready! for Kindergarten gives parents information and hands-on materials to engage their little ones in powerful at-home early learning. The grant funds will support children, parents, early childhood small business owners, and childcare workers directly as well as all Idahoans through a variety of library materials and services. Public libraries offer lifelong learning and access to information and opportunities that make our communities stronger. Many of the families libraries serve are homeschool families and families not using childcare; these families in particular look to libraries for quality, free, supplemental educational resources and programs.  When libraries have the resources to support Idaho’s earliest learners and set the stage for an improved quality of life, we all benefit. 

One Library in southwest Idaho conducted a survey in their district to determine what parents felt would be useful to help them prepare their children for kindergarten. The results indicated parents seek just the variety of resources the Preschool Development Grant helps provide. Parents specifically asked for clear information about the Kindergarten Readiness standards, hands on materials to teach and reinforce letter, number and shape recognition, letter sounds, learning games, and a Kindergarten Readiness class as well as support in helping their children with social and emotional skills like problem solving and calming down. 

Another Idaho library offers a 10-week kindergarten readiness program aimed at preparing children ages 4-5 for kindergarten by focusing on a combination of early learning competencies and social-emotional skills, developed in concert with local kindergarten teachers. This program is in high demand, with consistent waiting lists. Kids come excited, but they also come lacking kindergarten skills, such as knowing the alphabet or how to hold crayons and scissors. By the time they complete our program, over 95% of children can identify letters and the sounds they make, a critical indicator of reading success. 

PDG funds would assist libraries in their work with parents in these and other specific learning areas to help prepare their children for success in kindergarten and in life.

The Idaho Library Association supports Senate Bill 1193 and we ask you to do so as well.

Amy Campbell

Idaho Library Association President 2020-2022

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