The Harford County Public Library system has announced the launch of its newest early literacy initiative, Little Leapers, pre- and early-literacy kits that focus on fostering and developing pre- and early literacy skills through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics.
Targeted for children up to 5 years, the kits will be unveiled at the Bel Air Library on March 27.
"Little Leapers will aid with reading readiness, preparing our county's children for school and introducing STEM at an early age to nurture life-long interest," Mary Hastler, library director, said in a press release.
Designed by Harford County Public Library librarians, the Little Leapers kits contain age-appropriate books, toys, games and instructions on how children and their families can use them. A total of 10 different kits have been developed and include "I am a Chemist," "I am a Marine Biologist," "I am an Entomologist," "I am a Botanist," "I am an Architect," and "I am a Paleontologist." Four kits were specifically developed for infants and focus on the world of colors, shapes, numbers, senses, baby animals and learning "All About Me."
Richard Huffman, CEO of Celebree and the title sponsor of the Little Leapers program, has been a longtime supporter of Harford County Public Library and values how the Library and Celebree complement the work each does with early childhood education and literacy, according to the library system press release.
"Celebree focuses on early childhood education and Harford County Public Library reinforces our work with solid, age-appropriate programs for young children," Huffman said, adding, "Little Leapers is a great way for us to partner with an organization that offers so many fun, yet educational, programs for young people in our community."
Supporting sponsors of Little Leapers include SAIC, M&T Bank and Hart to Heart Transportation.
The public is invited to join the unveiling activities on March 27 starting at 8:30 a.m. Activities will include a story time, kit demonstrations, and a visit by a local scientist and an appearance by Tales, the library system's mascot. Please call 410-273-5600 to register. More than 100 Little Leapers kits will be available for check out at the library branches after the launch. The loan period for the kits is seven days.
The Aegis: Top stories
Little Leapers is an extension of the Library's successful "LEAP: Science is Fun!" program that was launched in 2007, targeted toward third to eighth grade children. The interactive LEAP kits are curriculum-based and age-appropriate with fun, do-it-yourself activities designed for families to explore and play at home. Topics include "Build a Car: Forces, Energy, and Motion," "Human Skelton" and "Mindstorm Robots."
The findings of a survey given to children who use LEAP kits and program materials found:
• 89 percent replied that LEAP programs helped them decide to consider a possible career in science;
• 91 percent reported that LEAP kits and materials helped them learn to pay more attention to science in the world around them;
• 60 percent said they wanted to read more books about science;
• And 95 percent reported that the LEAP kits and materials helped them to be more interested in science all or most of the time.
Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches. The library serves more than 176,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 4.5 million.