The Community Partnership's Early Care and Education/Educare (ECE) program recently received a check in the amount of $1,500 from U.S. Bank.
According to the program's director, Kathy Taber, these funds will be used to purchase building block sets for child care provider clients of the ECE program who serve economically disadvantaged or at-risk children from birth to age 5.
Each of these providers will be given block sets, along with information about the benefits of block play in the development of young children.
Taber noted that emphasis will be placed on those child care providers who serve children whose child care is state-subsidized or who live in a school district with a high rate of free and reduced lunch.
"It is estimated that these block sets will benefit approximately 300 children," said Taber. "Block play, ranging from simple vertical stacking to constructing structures whose parts represent specific components, is a wonderful way to encourage a multitude of skills.
“Playing with blocks allows an individual child to foster a sense of accomplishment and to exercise creativity; such play, however, can also promote group collaboration as children learn to build structures together,” Taber said.
“In the case of language skills, vocabulary develops as children talk about their building projects, and as children select the appropriate blocks, they develop visual discrimination, a vital aspect of reading readiness,” she said.
Taber said that when children repeatedly play with blocks, they exercise their brains’ motor pathways, resulting in smoother, quicker motor skills.
"Block play can help children develop math skills, such as classifying, sequencing, patterning, counting and working with spatial relationships, and even help them learn about predictions and comparisons, gravity, balance and cause and effect – all important for later science learning," she explained.
Melissa Weed, branch manager in Rolla for U.S. Bank, made the presentation to The Community Partnership recently.
"We're so grateful to U.S. Bank for helping us with this project," said Taber. "It will make a big difference in the quality of care and kindergarten-readiness for children."
For more information about The Community Partnership's Early Care and Education program, visit www.thecommunitypartnership.org or on Facebook or call Taber at 573-368-2849.