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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Keeping Learning Alive: Book Harvest and Child Care Centers

by Ginger Young, Executive Director

This is a fragile time for many of us. One group I am most concerned for right now is parents of very young children. Whether they are working from home while keeping their babies and toddlers safe and engaged, reporting to work and having to arrange childcare, or struggling with unemployment, parents are climbing a daunting mountain every day to keep their families on track and healthy.

A child heads to her child care center, where she will bring home books!

Providing parents with bedtime stories to share with little ones can be a big help in managing their family’s anxiety and in creating safe spaces to snuggle and bond. And it helps keep learning alive for developing young brains.

Thus, one of our new initiatives developed in response to COVID has been to partner with child care centers and child care homes to get bags of age-appropriate books to families – books they can take home to read again and again, and keep forever.

It’s working! During July and August alone, 9,770 books were harvested by families of nearly 1,000 children who were enrolled in 36 child care centers and child care homes.

Several of these child care providers were kind enough to give us feedback. Here are some of their comments:

Absolutely amazing! The parents were just as excited to have new reading materials for bedtime stories! Love that children were so excited over books – no electronics or toys, but a BOOK!

This was such a blessing that we were able to be included. I have a lot of black and brown children that we have a hard time finding books for with pictures that look like them, and these books were that. There was a book about hair – that was so great. We loved everything.

And my personal favorite:

Just the other day I heard a child say, after she finished looking at a book, “now I will close the book” and she gently closed the book and put it away.

This is a TEAM EFFORT. Our partners in making this work possible include Durham County Government, Durham County Library, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Durham’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and Child Care Services Association. We are deeply grateful to each of these trusted collaborators as we all work to meet families where they are with the books and literacy support to help them through this challenging time.

And the work continues! I look forward to sharing progress reports in the months ahead.

Books awaiting pickup at our office by one of our participating childcare centers.


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