Public libraries reach millions of children and their families each year. Neuroscientists tell us that the type of learning that occurs in libraries — self-directed, experiential, content-rich — promotes executive function skills that can shape a child’s success in school and life. The experiences, resources, and interactions provided by libraries build brains and fuel a love of learning. Parents know this and flock to libraries not only to support their child’s learning but also to bolster their role as their child’s first and most important influence.
The California State Library’s Early Learning with Families (ELF) @ Your Library initiative is part of a nationwide movement committed to making ‘early learning’ a priority essential to our economic and civic future. A recent IMLS report entitled, Growing Young Minds, makes the case for why and how libraries are important pillars of this early learning movement.
In California, ELF represents a broad array of libraries that are dedicated to providing enriching, developmentally appropriate, family-centric services, programs and resources to young children (0-5), their families and caregivers. Libraries of every shape and size – from large urban centers to small rural communities – are implementing ELF principles and practices. They’re also partnering with childcare providers, preschools, Head Start facilities, and First 5 Commissions to help ensure a continuum of quality early learning environments and experiences for all children.
This year, the ELF initiative will be expanding its partnerships with such agencies as the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, CA Head Start, WestEd and the BUILD initiative. In addition, we’ll be developing a professional training curriculum specifically for library staff in the principles and practices of early childhood development, based on the Touchpoints model.
ELF goals support many of Dr. Lally’s recommendations for improving the lives of our youngest citizens and we are pleased to partner with the For Our Babies project. We look forward to working together to improve our corner of the world for all children.
We also invite other early childhood agencies to join us…engage with your local public library as a key partner in comprehensive early learning strategies that support the developing minds of our youngest citizens!
For more about ELF, visit our website and ‘like’ and ‘follow us’ on Facebook .
Suzanne Flint, Library Programs Consultant & Principal Architect of the ELF Initiative, California State Library [email protected]