Benefits of Libraries in Toddler Development

Benefits of Libraries in Toddler Development - Playgarden Online

Learning to read is like realizing you have a superpower. All of a sudden, the letters you see are making words you can understand and all you want to do is read everything you can. All of a sudden, you can read the books your grown-ups read to you. All of a sudden, you have a superpower. Now where to take this superpower? The place with endless books to read — the library!

Libraries are incredible spaces for new and seasoned readers alike, and libraries are for more than just reading! A library is a space to learn about the world and the community around us, even before attending an NYC pre-k or library preschool. Little ones have a limited view of the world until they get the chance to learn about it themselves. Looking through books encourages them to discover what they want to read about, as well as discover interests, hobbies, and topics they want to explore more. In these ways, libraries are beneficial and essential for toddler development.

Empowerment

When our little ones realize their reading superpower, they will feel empowered to read as much as they can! This is a step in building their confidence and independence; when little ones learn how to access information, they will have the world at their fingertips. This can look like letting them pick a book in the children’s section in the library that they may have never read before. As they grow up and graduate from their NYC pre-k or library preschool, they can use that same independence and curiosity to explore new sections of the library — opening their minds to all there is to learn about the world. Teaching our children how to access reliable resources gives them a tool they will use past toddler development and throughout their life.

Social and Emotional Support

The unlimited knowledge and imagination in the books at the library are just the beginning. The International Federation of Libraries states “children’s libraries equip children with lifelong learning and literacy skills, enabling them to participate and contribute to the community.” When people, especially young people, come to a space they trust and know how to navigate, they will feel more inclined to work and socialize with their peers. For friends who prefer to work by themselves or just need some time alone, this space is for them too. A lot of young people go to the library to learn or study, and a lot of young people go to the library because it feels safe. It’s important to educate our little ones about the places in their community that they can go to if they ever need help — whether it be an emergency, they have a problem they need to solve, a place to attend library preschool, or they just need a place to go after their NYC pre-k school day. 

Community Building

Libraries offer a free and safe space for people to socialize and build community, which is also integral to toddler development. Offering free programs and events to people of all ages, libraries are great spaces to meet other families. Introducing your child to this type of space teaches them about these special places that help and support everyone in a community. For an example close to our NYC pre-k families, Queens Public Library offers free lunch to anyone under 18 all summer long, from July through September. When little ones witness people helping people, they learn about community and the importance of supporting others within their own community.

Unfortunately, libraries around the country are facing book bans and budget cuts, effectively limiting service and education (like opportunities for library preschool) to the communities they serve. This type of defunding affects historically marginalized communities the most. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to our elected officials and stress the importance of funding our libraries, not only for our little ones at NYC pre-k in their toddler development, but for everyone in our community. If you’re a New York resident, you can follow this link to send an email to your elected official: Tell City Hall: No Cuts to NY Libraries! 

I found a home in libraries. I remember going to the children’s section of my hometown library and just wandering the aisles, brushing the spines of the books until something caught my interest. I grew up knowing my school libraries as places I could find books to read, friends to study with, or just some quiet time by myself. Some children find their imagination in books, some children discover their favorite subjects, and some children find themselves in books. Giving your little one the freedom to explore their superpower of reading through books, libraries, and library preschool will only nurture their bright young minds and benefit their toddler development!

New York City Preschool and NYC Pre-k Families — your local libraries offer summer fun with free programs and events, storytimes, recommended reading, and more! Find more below:

Summer at the New York Public Library

Kids Events at Brooklyn Public Library  

Early Learning at Queens Public Library 

Summer Meals at Queens Public Library 

References: 

New York Public Library: Service Updates 

A Statement from the Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section (CHILD), International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) 

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Miss Julia Pencil

Hi, I'm Miss Julia!

Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.

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