Children’s Literacy Night helps bridge gap between preschool, kindergarten

It was a bridge from preschool to kindergarten.

Children’s Literacy Night was held at Youngsville Elementary Middle School earlier this month. It is part of the YEMS Early Childhood Partnership.

“The YEMS Early Childhood Partnership was created two years ago when I took a team to a P-3 Governor’s Institute that consisted of myself, Nikki Phillips (Head Start), Barb McCluskey (YEMS kindergarten), Kristina Renninger (YEMS kindergarten), Sue Klapec (YEMS Title I), and Casey Meleen (Head Start),” YEMS Assistant Principal Shelly Wagner said. “Through that institute we created a vision to help build a partnership between the elementary school system and the preschool system.”

The partnership has two goals, Wagner said, to help smooth the transition from preschool to kindergarten; and to improve instruction.

“The second year, our team slightly changed and grew,” she said. “The team that went to the institute included myself, Shelly Ristau from Head Start, Heather Alspaugh (YEMS first grade), Jora Lyon (YEMS third grade), Penny Shinn from the Rouse Preschool, and Casey Meleen from Head Start.”

The second group further refined the vision.

“Through the Governor’s Institute, we were able to write and receive a grant which helped fund many of our efforts this year, most importantly the Literacy Night,” Wagner said. “This year, our Literacy Night expanded from the previous year by including first grade and by inviting many community resource providers in for our families.”

Vendors included: Warren General Hospital, Barber National Institute, YMCA, Audubon, Hospice of Warren County, Forest Warren Human Services, Lawson’s Diner, Youngsville Public Library, Beacon Light, and the Youngsville Fire Department.

“Students and parents were able to visit the tables, see what they had to offer, and get some freebies,” she said. “Each child for just attending the Literacy Night received three free books in a gift bag with five entry tickets for giveaways and then were able to pick two additional books of their choice. They also were given a dry erase board and marker so that they could practice their letters as they are learning in FUNdations.”

“We had a lot of positive feedback from many parents,” Wagner said. “One parent stated that her son now feels more comfortable entering kindergarten next year and is excited about coming to school because of the Literacy Night and other events that the YEMS Early Partnership team have been holding at the school to help aide the transition process. Other parents posted on our YEMS Facebook page what a fun evening their child had.”