Heights Libraries has received a $4,000 grant from the Hershey Foundation to be used for the creation of an early literacy playroom at its Coventry Village branch. The development of the space will mark the first time the Coventry branch has had an enclosed, designated space for small children.
“Coventry has a long tradition of excellent and well-attended story times,” says Coventry Branch Manager Pat Gray, “but families often don’t stay as long as they could because the children’s area has always been in the middle of the adult quiet reading area. With a new, enclosed space for young children, families can relax, read a story, and talk while their children engage in enriching play with puppets and other literacy-based toys.”
The literacy playroom will add to the $150,000-worth of improvements at the branch this year, which include new carpeting for the entire building, roof repair, remodeling of the new children’s room, and new indoor and outdoor lighting.
Coventry’s literacy playroom will be similar to the literacy playroom in the Noble Neighborhood Branch, with items like a puppet theater, a play kitchen, colorful and comfy reading chairs, alphabet-focused toys, and kid-sized book displays, all designed to encourage young children to engage in the five fundamental activities that build early literacy and get kids ready for kindergarten: singing, reading, writing, talking, and playing.
“Early literacy, which basically means getting kids ready to learn, is a crucial goal that Heights Libraries shares with parents, caregivers, schools, and other community organizations,” says Gray.
“Our new playroom will give members of our community a fun and easy way to achieve it.”
“Young children learn by playing,” adds Brian Hare, Heights Libraries Youth Services manager. “Books are important, but so is imaginative, hands-on, tactile play, and this new space at Coventry Library will give children plenty of it. Boredom won’t be an option.”
In addition to toys and books, the new space will also have a design theme that will appeal to little ones and their caregivers, based partly on the artwork from the Lord of the Rings films by John Howe. Furniture, colors, and other fixtures will create the feel and appearance of a cozy Hobbit hole.
The Hershey Foundation, based in Northeast Ohio, supports schools, museums, cultural institutions, and other nonprofits that provide programs for children that improve quality of life, enhance learning, and provide cultural experiences that expand understanding of the world.