Community partnership creates early learning opportunities

Cocalico School District  |  Posted on

Young future eagles playing at a STEM Play & Learn

In the fall of 2021, the Cocalico School District, in collaboration with the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and the Adamstown Area Library, hosted its first “Play and Learn” series for community families with children, ages 0-5 years. The series consisted of five, one-hour long sessions on Friday mornings at Adamstown Elementary. These sessions were designed to provide opportunities for families with similar-aged children to make connections with each other to help build systems of support while also providing high-quality learning activities for the children. Education targeted for parents and caregivers was also a part of each session.

Each week, children started their morning with free play. Playtime was then followed by finger plays, songs, read-alouds and activities involving art, literacy, math, fine and gross motor skills, and social/emotional skills. Each session also taught parents and caregivers about one of “The Basics,” five simple principles to remember when interacting with their children:
1. Maximize Love, Minimize Stress
2. Talk, Sing and Point
3. Count, Group and Compare
4. Explore Through Movement and Play
5. Read and Discuss Stories

Community resources available to assist families and their children were also highlighted each week. Community resources included Fruitastic, REAL Life Community Services, and Early Intervention Services including occupational, physical and speech therapist consultations. In addition, families could sign up for library cards and even check out books to take home each week.

The second Play and Learn series began in early March and focused on STEAM. The series was so popular that a wait list was instituted.