Counselor Norma Watts and Librarian Leslie Mansur received a grant from Weyerhaeuser to help create centers in the Crossett Learning Center library. 

“We are extremely grateful to Weyerhaeuser for this opportunity to help our students,” a library spokesperson said. “We began the year bringing items from home to start our centers. We purchased magnetic letters, ABC and number cards, and sidewalk chalk from the dollar store. With this grant, we were able to think bigger and provide items that we will be able to use for years to come. It’s great to see students excited about coming to the library for books and educational fun. 

“Classroom teachers implemented several new programs in the 2018-19 school year, and we noticed some kindergartners struggling with learning the basics. We asked kindergarten teachers what we could do to help them. We started with writing their names. Teachers were doing this in class and provided us with the templates they used. 

“The more we worked with students, the more we noticed what they needed to work on. We made a list of things we needed: simple puzzles, sorting blocks, headphones, lacing cards, buckle toys and latches. We also requested floor rockers, CD players, and Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets. Our library space is small, so we needed mobile tables that we could move around easily to accommodate different class sizes. 

“The addition of these centers allows us to support the classroom teachers and help struggling students. Some students are coming to school for the first time and don’t recognize their ABCs. Many can’t use scissors or hold a pencil properly. We are working on social skills and fine motor skills, so the classroom teachers can concentrate on the curriculum. 

“We have standards to follow in library and counseling, but these centers also help reinforce what we teach. Students are learning how to share and take turns. They can follow a story being read aloud and even learn coding skills. Most importantly, they are discovering that the library isn’t just a quiet place to check out books. It is a place where students can work together to solve problems and help each other learn.”

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