By Kaitlin Petrillo
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter
As of late, Grand Ledge City Hall isn’t just a place for legislating. It’s a home to learning, too.
February through May, Youth Services Coordinator Ruth Thompson reads children stories to Grand Ledge’s preschoolers Tuesday mornings at City Hall. Parents and other family members accompany their 3- to 6-year-olds for a variety of stories and literacy enhancing activities.
“It helps kids learn structure. How to act in a specific setting,” said Thompson, also known as Mrs. T by the children she works with.
The structured story hour helps the preschoolers to not only build relationships with others their age, but also teaches them how to participate, cooperate, be social and work with others.
“It gives them a chance to get with other kids their age and relate to them,” said Judy Dietrich, 4-year-old Olivia Baxter’s grandmother.
“Each week we have a different theme,” said Thompson. “I have stations. So we’ll have cutting … pasting activities, sometimes we’ll paint or color. Just interactive things that tie in with the story.”
“Some days we have 20 kids and others we’ll have a smaller group, just depends,” she said.
Thompson has been putting on what parents are calling “power-hour story time” since 2007.
Typically, story hour is held at the Grand Ledge Area District Library, but due to renovations have been relocated to City Hall temporarily.
According to The Center for Public Education, investing in high-quality pre-kindergarten education benefits children, schools, and communities.
“I think it is such a good learning experience for them,” said Tianna Allen, aunt of 3-year-old Lucy Allen. “She has made a lot of friends.”
The National Early Childhood Longitudinal Study shows that children born after 2001 who attended a pre-k program showed higher graduations statistics, IQ’s, and better living situations long-term.
Other events, such as free face painting and a Curious George appearance after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade also help to bring the youngest generation of Grand Ledge and their parents together.
“It gets you and your kids out of the house with fun programs,” said Thompson.