Raise a Reader with ‘The Berkeley Baby Book Project’

What could the amazing City of Berkeley have in common with the vibrant music legend Dolly Parton? They both love giving books to young children. And so does BANANAS! Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has teamed up with The Berkeley Baby Book Project to distribute free books to kids in Berkeley, ages 0-5. BANANAS is proud to help spread the word about this wonderful program.

Calling it the “gift of literacy,” Dolly Parton began the Imagination Library in 1995 in her home state of Tennessee. Since then, the program has expanded to other states and recently it distributed its 100 millionth book. The milestone was celebrated in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. where Dolly Parton read books to a group of children.

The benefits of reading early to children are huge. It is never too early to build that close connection with your infant, toddler, or preschooler while stimulating their brains and love for learning. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps make this possible with its 60 volume sets of books that include classics such as The Little Engine That Could, Last Stop on Market StreetHooray a Pinata, and many more.

To be a part of this program, a child needs to register for The Berkeley Baby Book Project. Each month, new books are mailed to the child’s home. Books are chosen based on each child’s age and will be sent until the child turns five or the family moves out of Berkeley. The books are a gift and there is no cost to families for being a part of the Imagination Library. Children get the opportunity to create an amazing personal library before they enter Kindergarten.

BANANAS is cultivating the importance of reading in a child’s early development by helping families register for the Berkeley Baby Book Project. Berkeley parents can register in-person or contact our referral line at 510-658-0381. Families are also welcome to pick up gently used children’s books from our Boutique. These books are accepted through generous donations from our community.

Share the wonderful world of books with your children and promote the importance of literacy. For more information on The Berkeley Baby Book Project, visit their website.

It’s Week of the Young Child!

Week of the Young Child

Welcome to Week of the Young Child! Today is the beginning of a week-long celebration of children, teachers, families, and early learning started by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Each day has its own theme to inspire learning through a range of fun, educational activities. At BANANAS, we are joining in on the excitement by having daily events at our office for kids, parents, and caregivers to enjoy. Here’s what we have coming up:

Music Monday – Stop by to join in movement and dance while we play a variety of international music in our lobby. Program Director Judy Kriege will drop in with her guitar for a few impromptu singalongs too! Music is a great way to encourage language and literacy as well as math skills. Click here for some great ideas on how to incorporate songs and music into children’s daily lives.

Tasty Tuesday – We’ll be going bananas for delicious recipes on this cooking-focused day. Teaching young children about making healthy food and lifestyle choices can’t start early enough. Plus, cooking is a fun activity that can promote science and math skills! When you come in, we’ll give you recipe cards to try at home together. You can also click to find them here. There are more super ideas on our Cooking with Kids Pinterest board.

Work Together Wednesday – Come to our office to create art that will become part of a beautiful collage. When we work as a team, we get to celebrate our diversity and learn from one another. Kids get to practice social skills and problem solving. Want more ideas? Click here for a whole list of activities for building and working together.

Artsy Thursday – This will be a day when we continue to create artwork to take home and add to our collaborative collage. Doing hands-on projects can help children develop fine motor skills and inspire creativity. Check out more art ideas here.

Family Friday – BANANAS will be closed on Friday for staff development, but we’ll be celebrating the families we serve and our work together as the BANANAS Bunch family. We encourage you to spend time with the people in your life who make up your family too! Here are some ways to bond and build deeper connections.

We hope you will join us in this five-day celebration of children and early education. You will find lots more ideas for Week of the Young Child on our Pinterest board!