Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New library for Camden's youngest

The John S. and James L. Knight Early Learning Research Academy transformed a second-floor room into a library for its infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The academy, which is on Rutgers' campus and part of the LEAP Academy University Charter School, received a $10,000 donation from the PNC Bank Foundation to build the library, which formally opened Monday.

New library for Camden's youngest

0 comments
Travel Deals

What was a plain second-floor lab and study room for Rutgers-Camden early childhood development students has been transformed into a library at the John S. and James L. Knight Early Learning Research Academy. 

The academy, which is on Rutgers’ campus and part of the LEAP Academy University Charter School, received a $10,000 donation from the PNC Bank Foundation to build the library, which formally opened Monday. 

The Grow up Great Library at ELRA is the sixth PNC employees have created at early-learning centers in the region as part of the bank’s 20-year, $350 million investment in early childhood education. The employees assembled shelves, decorated the interior, and prepared reading corners. More than 1,100 books, including volumes in Spanish, were collected through an employee book drive.

ELRA, which opened in September and serves about 125 children, conducts classes in Spanish three days a week and in English the other two. 

The dual-language approach is just one innovation in the popular pilot program that merges early-childhood education and university research involving student teachers. It has attracted about 400 children to a waiting list. 

The program was designed by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, LEAP Academy founder and a Rutgers distinguished professor. Funded with grants, private donations, and appropriations from the Camden City School District, it serves low-income families, though in March, the center increased its tuition from $700 a month to $1,000. Santiago attributed the sharp increase to rising costs. 

The staff at ELRA will take the children twice a week to the library and read to them, or help them read if they are in preschool, Santiago said Monday. 

“They love it when you read to them,” she said. “They are identifying letters and beginning to understand the alphabet.”

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to asteele@philly.com, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

Reach Allison at .

Allison Steele
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter