Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gone Hunting….In Search of Early Literacy Participants and the Domino Effect

The domino effect at Hawkins Area PL
According to Wikipedia, the domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then causes another similar change, and so on. Well, that is just what I was hunting for. 

After being fortunate enough to receive an Early Literacy Grant through LSTA , I began the task of looking for ways to reach the maximum amount of parents and caregivers. Being a staff of one, with the closest school 20 miles away, serving a large rural area and a limited budget, I began to look for ways to connect with organizations that would have access to my target group. 

Display at Flambeau School
One of my first thoughts was to get these materials into the hands of new moms and what could be easier than the maternity ward of the local hospital? As luck would have it, they are no longer delivering babies. On to the next plan, I was asked if I would be interested in taking part in the "Early Childhood Development Day" at the Flambeau School.  I put together a display which included handouts, pictures of our Early Literacy Center, as well as samples of the fun manipulatives available for children and caregivers to explore together. 

Setting up a table at this event proved to be one of the most effective outreach endeavors on this journey so far. Not only was I able to connect with parents/caregivers but also with personnel from WIC, The Birth to Three Program, Headstart, the Early Childhood Staff, school psychologist, as well as  other specialists.

This connection truly started the Domino Effect for our program, I was able to provide these early childhood service providers with packets of information which they in turn shared with their clients. One of the first events at our library that resulted from this was a visit from
Family fall crafting
the 4 year old Kindergarten class with parents and caregivers also attending, most of whom had never been to our library. After a story, we all took off on a fun adventure of hunting turkeys, visiting over snacks and creating a craft together. 

We now see many of these children, their siblings and caregivers on a regular basis, sometimes bringing along new friends for us to meet. We look forward to expanding our program and continue to hunt for more ways to do this.

Arlene Mabie,Director
Hawkins Area Library, Hawkins, WI

Photos provided by the author