Mahomet library

MAHOMET — Today, the Mahomet Public Library will begin registering families for Firm Foundations, a communitywide initiative aimed at supporting families with children ages 0-5. This initiative, which was conceived by library director John Howard along with youth services and programming librarian Maura Stutzman, will begin offering programming in 2020, according to a press release.

“When parents enroll their children in kindergarten, usually around the age of 5, they become part of a community of support surrounding their children’s school,” Howard said in the release. “We want to create a similar type of community for families before that time.”

“The ages of 0-5 are vitally important in a child’s development. Experiences and interactions during this age shape children’s social and emotional health, school readiness and fundamental life skills. By developing programming and opportunities for the specific ages of 0-5, we are meeting children where they are to create meaningful experiences between them and their parents and caregivers, which can only lead to a happier and healthier life,” Stutzman said.

Firm Foundations will include library story times and literacy activities for children, but the initiative will focus on two new areas as well: parent education and social connections. Programs in health and wellness, early literacy/school readiness and parenting skills will be offered free of charge, with child care provided. Social connections will include play dates, field trips and other fun activities intended to give children an opportunity to socialize with others their age and allow parents and caregivers to make connections.

“Eventually, we want to organize children into ‘cohorts,’ or groups of kids who, based on their age, will most likely be in the same grade at school,” said Howard. “This way, when they walk into school on the first day, hopefully they already have friends and people they know.” Cohorts will be labeled with their likely graduation year, such as “Class of 2036.”

To register or get more information, stop by the library or visit MahometPublicLibrary.org/FirmFoundations.