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franklin county times

West Elementary First 10 program offers fun, learning

It wasn’t just another meeting for those who attended the First 10 program at West Elementary Thursday.

Parents and their children up to age 4 enjoyed a meal and listened to a book read-aloud together. They also participated in an art activity.

In addition, parents received tips on how best to engage their Pre-K children to help them the most during the developmentally-critical first five years of life.

West Principal Ann Scott welcomed parents and introduced them to the program.

“It was a wonderful event to help get parents and their children through age 4 get involved in early-learning activities together,” said Scott. “We are pleased so many came out and participated.”

The gathering was the first in a series that will be ongoing. Scott said the goal is to help parents with their children’s transitions to kindergarten.

“We will begin Play and Learn groups for ages 2-4 and their parents, beginning April 13,” Scott added. “Parents may contact the school for more information.”

Retired elementary teacher, author and artist Dianne Pace read the book “Five Little Ducks,” sharing advice on how to read a book to a child while engaging them in the story and following up with fun activities.

“The first five years of a child’s brain development are especially important, as that’s when 95 percent of their brain develops,” explained Pace, “so it’s a very critical period, and that’s why it’s extremely important to get the parents involved and working with the children early.”

Pace said the event went “wonderfully.”

“The parents seemed pleased to be there,” she said. “We did a sponge painting activity that followed up with the book I read and the song I taught them. Several parents said on the way out that they would be returning to participate in future meetings of the program.”

Each child received a book and treats to take home.

Russellville First 10 is a school-community partnership focused on supporting young children and their families, working on improving the transition to kindergarten, hosting play and learning groups for young children and caregivers and organizing a community-wide Born Ready campaign.

Born Ready is an initiative established by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, focused on raising awareness among Alabama parents of the importance of early brain development and high-quality early care and education.

The mission of ADECE is to inspire and support parents and caregivers, as well as to deliver cohesive, comprehensive systems of top-quality education and care so all Alabama children thrive and learn.

Born Ready boasts it is not only developed to inform parents; it’s designed to empower them and give them access to the tools they need to be their children’s first and best teacher.

“We would love for our community to get more involved in this school-community partnership to support young children and families,” said Russellville Elementary teacher Suzanne Glass. “We as teachers loved having the parents and children engaged in learning through reading, play, music and doing art together.”

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