116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Free family workshops and activities available for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 in Linn County
Jan. 4, 2022 6:00 am
LINN COUNTY — Studies have long shown the developmental benefits of reading to children from birth, but a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests preschoolers benefit more from being read physical books, printed on paper, than digital books on tablets. The reason? Parents and toddlers interact more when reading traditional, print books.
“Reading is more than just the words on the page,” said Jacquie Montoya, program manager, Parent Education Consortium (PEC), Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach. “Children feel a closeness to the reader whether they are sitting close or on the reader’s lap. Reading helps children form attachments to the important people in the child’s life. Through our programing at PEC, we help parents understand that the most important thing they can do is be present in their child’s life. You don’t have to be a perfect reader, you don’t have to be a great singer, you just need to be present because parents and other caregivers are their children’s first teacher.”
PEC is offering a variety of free workshops designed for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 who live in Linn County. “Our upcoming spring programming supports families while they learn more about engaging children through reading and play, because play is the ‘work’ of childhood — how they learn the skills they will need as they get older,” Montoya said.
The first program is “Our Bookshelf: Parenting Young Children.” Families in this program will not only receive free books each week, but they’ll learn ideas and activities for boosting interaction with their 3-6 year olds while reading with them. In addition, this free virtual program will include fun resources from Sesame Street in Communities. The six-week workshop begins Jan. 12; however, the registration deadline is Wednesday. Our Bookshelf is provided by PEC in collaboration with Iowa Alliance for Healthy Kids.
The “Play & Learn” 12-week workshops will take place at the Ely Public Library and Hiawatha Public Library. Children ages 0-5 and their caregivers join other families for an hour of child-directed play followed by 30 minutes of circle time that includes singing, dancing, a snack, and stories. Although the program is free, registration is required.
“Parenting Young Children” is a workshop at Starry Elementary school. It will cover topics specific to young children, such as behavior, development, social/emotional skills, and more. It also will feature Sesame Street in Communities resources. This in-person workshop offers free child care, a family meal, and program materials. Registration is required.
All of PEC’s workshops are free, facilitated by expert parent educators, and provide transportation and interpretation upon request. Topics covered include understanding child development, teaching responsibility, and communicating with young kids. The workshops are designed for the parents and caregivers of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten-age children (birth-5 years old). In-person meetings take place in a small-group setting.
Upcoming Free Workshops for Parents/Caregivers
Details and registration at https://www.parenteducationconsortium.com/parenting-workshops/current-workshops/
• Our Bookshelf: Parenting Young Children
Wednesdays, Jan. 12 — Feb. 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Virtual: register at https://bit.ly/bookshelf19722
Featuring Sesame Street Communities. Learn to make reading fun for young children. Receive a free book each week, no cost to participate.
• Play & Learn
Saturdays, Jan. 15 to April 2, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Ely Public Library, 1595 Dows St., Ely
Register at https://bit.ly/PlayatEly
Free 12-week workshop with child-directed free-play and circle time.
• Parenting Young Children
Tuesdays, Feb. 1 to March 8, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Starry Elementary School, 700 S. 15th St., Marion
Register at https://bit.ly/PYCStarry
Featuring Sesame Street in Communities. Each session provides support and resources, a meal, and child care. No cost to participate.
• Play & Learn
Thursdays, Feb. 17 to May 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Hiawatha Public Library, 150 W. Willman St., Hiawatha
Register at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eixka84bde914b90&oseq=&c=&ch=
A free 12-week workshop with child-directed free-play and circle time.
About Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Linn County
Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Linn County extends ISU information, resources, and research-based education to people and organizations in our community. We partner on projects and provide tools people need to make well-informed decisions for themselves, their families, businesses and community. Parent Education Consortium (PEC) is offered through Linn County Extension. PEC is committed to increasing the capacity of the community to provide ongoing parenting education, professional development, and access to resources in order to facilitate the development of caring, competent, healthy children. To learn more about ISU Extension and Outreach in Linn County and PEC, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/linn or stop by our office at 383 Collins Rd. NE, in Cedar Rapids.