Lisa Sensale Yazdian joined BCPL in 2007 and currently manages outreach services provided to youth, birth-17 years and to their caregivers and teachers. An educational psychologist by training, she is passionate about forging school, family, and community partnerships in support of youth learning and development.
In March of 2000 the Kentucky Legislature showed their commitment to our youngest learners by unanimously choosing to use a portion of Tobacco Settlement dollars to support early childhood programs on an annual basis through the KIDS NOW (Kentucky Invests in Developing Success NOW!) initiative. In an effort to rally communities around local early childhood needs, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood approved the creation of Community Early Childhood Councils across the state and agreed to fund Council work through a competitive grant process.
Boone County Public Library (BCPL) has been an active participant on the Boone County Community Early Childhood Council (BC-CECC) for a number of years, along with many other community partners. The Council has been continuously funded since 2003 and monies have been used to develop and extend opportunities focused on preparing Boone County children and families for school and lifelong learning.
One Council project BCPL has been deeply involved with this fiscal year is an early literacy training series offered to several early childhood programs called Ready…Set…Learn. Beginning in January, participating infant, toddler, and preschool teachers have been attending monthly workshops aligned with the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards and the practices described in the American Library Association’s (ALA) Every Child Ready to Read® initiative. Childcare centers involved in the trainings received a set of classroom materials selected to foster early literacy learning. Some materials have been modeled by Youth Services outreach staff during their monthly storytime visits with the Community Center on Wheels (CCoW). Other materials were created specifically for the childcare centers and were discussed during training sessions. Infant/toddler classrooms, for example, received a set of Changing Table Rhymes (small posters consisting of body rhymes and songs to support adult interaction with children during diaper changes) similar to those currently hanging in some BCPL restrooms. Preschool classrooms received three StoryWalks®, modeled after the The StoryWalk® Project created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. All participating childcare programs were asked to design and implement an event for their families using the training content and materials they received.
I was fortunate enough to observe a family engagement night hosted by CrossRoads Preschool in Hebron in April. I was immediately drawn to their StoryWalk® display at their pajama themed event.
Miss Candace, a Youth Services Outreach Specialist with BCPL, was invited to read Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton and children had a chance to complete an activity related to the book.
The event was a huge success and I look forward to discovering how other centers are using Ready…Set…Learn materials to support children and families in early literacy learning.