Program builds early literacy, socialization skills for young children
Published 6:36 pm Monday, January 11, 2016
Families now have more opportunities to work with their children to build early literacy and socialization skills through a program offered by the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children.
The organization is now offering its Pat-a-Cake Playgroups in various locations throughout Beaufort and Hyde counties, a program that previously was only offered at the Partnership’s office in Washington, according to Kris Bowen, literacy coordinator for the BHPC.
Jackie Boyd, Parents as Teachers Supervisor at BHPC, is organizing the playgroups in Washington, Belhaven, Aurora and Swan Quarter, with a new playgroup scheduled to begin in Pinetown on Jan. 25, she said.
“We have had families come to the Washington playgroup from as far away as Aurora and Engelhard,” Boyd said. “The Partnership’s board of directors felt that it would be beneficial for us to start playgroups out in the counties so more families would have the opportunity to participate. Our goal is to provide a free, educational and fun option for families that cannot drive to Washington every Thursday for playgroup.”
At each playgroup, children between the ages of 18 months and 4 participate with their parents and caregivers in a wide range of developmentally appropriate activities, Boyd said.
“For children who are not currently enrolled in preschool, Pat-a-Cake Playgroups provide an opportunity for them to learn how to play with other children and transition to different activities such as circle-story time, table or crafting time, free play, snack time, cleanup time and preparing for the trip home,” Boyd said. “Playgroups also help to prepare children to be socially and emotionally ready for school.”
Playgroups include a story that is shared with interactive opportunities for children to respond, according to Boyd. The groups share a snack and create make-and-take crafts. Another component of the groups is free play, allowing time for children to interact with each other.
Story time during the playgroups entails Boyd reading aloud to the group, promoting read-aloud techniques and strategies like asking open-ended questions, and reading with expression, to name a few examples, Bowen said.
According to Lisa Woolard, executive director for BHPC, the playgroups are also meant to provide a foundation for a lifetime of love for reading, learning and discovery, things that align with BHPC’s “plant the seed to read,” a literacy campaign that promotes educating families about the importance of reading aloud with their children.
Families interested in attending playgroups can attend any playgroup without pre-registration, according to Bowen.
For more information about Pat-a-Cake Playgroups contact Jackie Boyd at 252-975-4647, ext. 6. For information about other family programs supported by Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, call 252-975-4647, visit www.bhckids.org or follow the organization on Facebook.