"Family Place allowed us to develop a more comprehensive array of services for our families with young children ”
Located in Scottsdale, AZ, Scottsdale Public Library serves a culturally and economically diverse population of 221,000 people. Joining the Family Place Libraries™ network in 2011, trained library staff created a developmentally appropriate early learning space and materials collections for families with young children and began running the Parent Child Workshop. “Family Place allowed us to develop a more comprehensive array of services for our families with young children,” said Marie Raymond, Family Place Coordinator. After instituting the core components of the Family Place Libraries™ initiative, library staff saw a community need for further education aimed at parents and their very young children. They decided to seek funding to expand their Family Place programming and offer a variety of parent education classes. Based on the demographics of the community, it was clear that these classes would need to be offered at a variety of times and in various locations.
Through a competitive grant process, First Things First awarded Scottsdale Public Library a Community-Based Parent Education grant that allowed them to offer parenting education courses in the city of Scottsdale as well as throughout the Northeast Maricopa County Region. First Things First is a voter-approved statewide initiative that uses a portion of tobacco tax dollars to fund programs and services for children ages birth - 5 in the state of Arizona to ensure that they enter school "healthy and ready to succeed."
By collaborating with a number of community partners (Association for Supportive Child Care, Southwest Human Development, Maricopa County Office of Oral Health - First Teeth First, City of Scottsdale Youth and Family Services, and City of Scottsdale Fire Department), Scottsdale Public Library began developing and offering a wide array of parenting education programs in 2011 and received renewal grant funds for the past 2 years. All programs are aimed at parents and young children (ages birth-5) and most are designed so that parent and child attend together. Programs are offered in five elementary schools and a neighborhood learning center as well as in all five branches of the Scottsdale Public Library. Programs include:
Books Can... uses children's literature to discuss social and emotional development. Weekly topics include love and bonding, identifying emotions, sharing and friendship, praise and separation anxiety, discipline and setting limits, and challenging behaviors. All families receive a copy of the weekly highlighted book to bring home.
Get Ready to Read is a 6-week program that focuses on early literacy. The 6 early literacy skills covered include oral language/print motivation, print awareness, vocabulary, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and background knowledge/narrative skills.
Fun with Math and Science was created for children ages 2-5 with their parent or caregiver. This class helps children and parents develop school readiness skills through hands-on experiential activities and children's literature. The weekly topics are based on the Arizona State Standards for Math and Science including observation and hypothesis, our senses, sorting and comparing, cause and effect, patterns and sequencing, and geometry and measurement.
Brain Time for Babies (0 - 18 mos) and Brain Time for Toddlers (18 - 36 mos) are 3 consecutive week sessions based on the New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development's Brain Boxes. Each box contains activity guides and all the materials needed for adult-child interaction that encourages healthy brain development. Each week focuses on one of the ABC's of Early Learning: Attention, Bonding, and Communication. Time is devoted in the class to working with the materials in the Brain Boxes and the class facilitators share information with parents about early brain development. At the end of the 3-week class, all parents/caregivers receive a copy of Dr. Jill Stamm's book, Bright from the Start.
Common Sense Parenting is a traditional 7-week parent education curriculum taught by a community partner. While children are not permitted in the class, the library arranges for on-site child care to make it easier for parents to attend.
Overall, the parent education programs have been extremely well-received throughout the region, reaching 8,327 caregivers and children in the first year and increasing to 11,334 caregivers and children in the second year. Scottsdale Public Library now has deep, meaningful collaborations with many family support agencies throughout their entire region. “We are seen now as a critical resource in the field of early literacy and as a source of local resources for parents and caregivers in our community,” said Marie Raymond, Family Place Coordinator of the Scottsdale Public Library.