As I always do, I began engaging Arturo about the book’s themed and colorful pages. Arturo was very receptive as we flipped through the pages together and explored what the book had to offer. When I asked Arturo who he would give the book to, he told me that his fiancée was pregnant and that he was looking for a book to read to their soon-to-be-born baby.
I didn’t let on, but hearing this was beyond exciting! Since founding 10BH, I’ve been on a quest to create not only a program model that positions preschoolers to succeed, but a model that also builds community around reading and learning. To see this young man at our Book Fair browsing books with his fiancé stopped me in my tracks.
Children depend on their caregivers to provide opportunities to learn and explore. This is what John Dewey theorized and what developmental psychologists thereafter have shown contributes to a young child’s healthy development and positive educational outcomes. Whether Arturo and his fiancé knew it, they were engaging in one of the most important activities that a parent can do for their child: expose him/her to the language- and image-rich world of books and reading. Best of all, they were doing it with many members of their community!
Two of our partners, the Institute for Human and Social Development and the East Palo Alto Library, gave out information about their agencies. And, more than 20 volunteers did everything from checking in guests, to showing them around our library, to leading them in learning activities. The best part was that every family left with bags of books and learning tools that can be used at home.
I can’t think of any other way we could have celebrated our move from an apartment into a fully renovated home office. We chose to be based in a home so that families in our community would feel comfortable accessing our early education home tutoring program, the Child-Parent Home Tutoring Program. Our Book Fair and our weekly preschool storytimes (beginning April 1st) in our new home are part of the process of encouraging our community to interact around reading, learning, and educational values.
I know without a doubt that East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park families want their children to succeed. It’s nice to know that 10BH can create access to a resource to help them do so.