Community Interest

Encouraging Little Learners

By Tiffani Stewart - St. Charles City-County Library 

The St. Charles City-County Library recognizes that everyone has been affected by COVID, including the youngest in our community. Little ones have not been able to play with other kids at the park or attend story times at the Library.

Opportunities have been few and far between for in-person learning and interactive play for kids this year. That is why the Library provides special resources just for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that are accessible even while branches are open only for curbside services. 

Many little ones attended story times regularly at the same branch with the same library staff before COVID closed the doors. If they are missing that experience, parents can help them tune in to a new series of online classes called "Grow With Us". These live classes allow children to interact in real time with youth staff and their library friends. In addition, the Library offers online story times every day of the week. Parents can also find classes for kids that dive into science, art, and movement. Missed a good one? Maybe not! Many of these classes are pre-recorded, and can be viewed for up to 30 days after the premiere date. Get details about virtual classes and events for children at myLibrary.org/eCalendar

The easiest way for parents to prepare their young ones to learn to read is simple: read together. The Library offers a fun way to encourage family reading time with the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Parents or grandparents can create an online account for their little learners and track the books they read together before children start kindergarten. (Prefer to track reading the old-fashioned way? Download a printable chart or pick up a paper booklet at any branch.) Prizes are awarded for special milestones, and the Library celebrates every child who finishes. Get more information at myLibrary.org/1000-books-kindergarten

Parents and caregivers can request ideas for great read-aloud books using the Library’s online chat feature, “Ask Us”. Use the “We Recommend” link to tell us a little bit about your child’s interests or needs and get a list of personalized recommendations from library staff. We can also put together bundles of books, movies, music, and other age-appropriate materials for curbside pickup.  

This month and every month, the Library provides a calendar full of fun and easy activities to do at home with preschoolers. These are simple ideas that take just a few minutes each day and will get little ones excited about writing, reading, singing, talking, and playing - the building blocks of literacy. Parents can access the calendar each month at myLibrary.org/GrowYourReader.  

Young children and their parents can count on access to free Library resources that promote and encourage fun and education. Visit myLibrary.org or place materials on hold at any branch to build literacy and entertain kids of all ages!

The St. Charles City-County Library is offering curbside services only at this time. All Library facilities are temporarily closed to the public except for public computer use by appointment only. Room reservations, passport services, and in-person classes & events are temporarily cancelled, but virtual programming is happening now. Get the details here: myLibrary.org/covid-19