Monday, October 04, 2010

Portage Library welcomes Early Childhood Resource Collection

HOUGHTON -- Christmas will arrive early this autumn as the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative and the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center introduce a new community resource for those seeking early childhood information and educational toys. The Collaborative serves Houghton, Baraga and Keweenaw counties.

What began as hundreds of boxes towering in a clearinghouse storage space will now come to life in the hands of young children, families, providers, and the general public throughout the Copper Country. An Open House and Early Childhood Resource Library Kickoff to celebrate the acquisition of these resources will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Portage Lake District Library. Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be given away.

The Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center/4Cs of the U.P. (Community Coordinated Childcare) received funding from the State of Michigan’s Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) to make this project possible.

According to Debra Dupras, Project Leader at The Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center/4Cs of the U.P., "Six public libraries have each received more than 150 books and 80 games, puzzles, puppets, and other hands-on learning tools. The new collections are valued at $10,000 each. It has been a collaborative effort with local public libraries and Great Start Collaborative groups throughout the region that has made this dream a reality."

The new Early Childhood Resource Library Collection offers books related to infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. Sample topics covered are ages and stages of development, behavior, language, and literacy. Providers, caregivers, and parents will find resources on family literacy, early childhood development, childcare, health, safety, and nutrition. Every user will have an opportunity to learn through play with games, puzzles, puppets, music, CDs, and DVDs. The locations, accessibility, and natural connection of learning associated with public libraries have given this project a "Great Start" for developing an ongoing community resource.

Shawn Leche, Portage Lake District Library director, supports the collaborative effort.

"We view early literacy as an essential component in our mission. Reading is a portal to a child’s future," he said.

Heather Store, Copper Country Great Start Collaborative parent liaison, notes the Collaborative is working to ensure that all parents and caregivers have access to these early childhood development resources available at community libraries.

"We want all children to receive resources they need as early learners to ensure their success in life," Store said.

The materials will be available to everyone through local public libraries. In addition to the Portage Lake District Library, Great Start Collaborative materials have been placed in the Peter White Public Library in Marquette County, Dickinson County Public Library, Ironwood Carnegie Library in Gogebic County, Spies Public Library in Menominee County, and Gladstone Public School Library in Delta County.

Everyone is invited to attend this event. For more information, please call the Portage Lake District Library at 482-4570, the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center,4Cs of the U.P. at 906-228-3362 or 1-877-614-7328, or visit

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