It amazes me when I see our nursery school children navigating their way around an iPhone or iPad. The ease with which they swipe, tap, watch videos, play music and look through picture books is mind-boggling. While these skills will certainly serve them well in this digital era, there is undeniable value in the reading of bound books.
I want the children to understand the wonder and importance of reading a book, looking at the pictures, learning about the author and the illustrator as well as the many genres of writing. That is why we have a very well stocked library with "real" books in The Erica Halpern Children's Learning Center. Each week, the children have "Library", where they hear a story and then get to choose a book to take home, read and then return the following week. Every student has a library card and they love looking through the many wonderful choices of children's literature we have collected over the years. I love seeing the children look at the pictures and read to one another. The excitement they show when they get to bring their book home each week brings me great joy.
In addition to our in school library program, we also have a weekly "Mystery Reader" in our 3's and Pre-K classes. Each week, a surprise guest comes to the classroom with a favorite book, and reads to the class. We have had moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings as our mystery readers. The children are always so happy and so surprised when it is a member of their family who enters the room.
Our nursery school staff formed a Book Club four years ago and each month we read a book and then meet in the evening at each other’s homes to discuss the book. We have read close to 50 books so far! However, that is not all! Our Pre-K class has an early morning Book Club that meets once a week as a before-school enrichment program. The children are assigned the book; read it at home with their parents; then meet to discuss it, work on a project, and write in a journal thoughts about the book. Similarly, the 3's have an after school enrichment "Peek A Book", where they read a book together and then work on a creative extension to the story.
As you might have guessed, reading is my hobby/pleasure and I want the Nursery School children to delight in the magic of a "good old fashioned" book!
Debbie Neuschatz, Director