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Indian Lake Library puts Literacy Grant to work

INDIAN LAKE The Town of Indian Lake Public Library is using a state Family Literacy Library Services Fund grant to establish a much-needed pre-kindergarten program.

Secured through the assistance of Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, $36,700 in grant funding will be used to aid the community in preparing local children for entry into kindergarten. Hamilton County will join 13 other New York State counties receiving funding through the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 school years.

The program, called Bright Beginning, held its first class on September 17, in coordination with the beginning of the school year. In addition to providing a structured educational experience for area children, the program also assists parents in understanding and establishing a role in their children's education through direct participation in the program, and regular progress reviews with program administrators.

We saw a need to provide a pre-kindergarten program that was accessible and free to all the children in the town, said Robin Jay, Curriculum Consultant, and Indian Lake Kindergarten Teacher. It was felt that the areas children needed more exposure to books, early reading, and motor skill development. We wanted to provide something that was right here in town and was available to every four year old. Its a unique collaboration between the library and the school.

Funding is administered through the library Board of Directors, with Library Director, and grants author, Nancy Berkowitz, serving as liaison between the groups.

This grant is only for two years, Jay noted. But the State is coming out with funding for universal pre-k programs that would run a five-day per week schedule, for full days. You have to meet certain criteria to be eligible, such as staffing requirements and curriculum, so this is our way of helping the school system toward meeting those requirements.

At the conclusion of the two-year grant period, the group plans to have the preliminary work complete to facilitate a smooth transition into a program fully administered by the Indian Lake School District.

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