No, what the kids are referring to is actually the “Literacy Express” program for preschoolers which is held Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in the second floor rooms of the train station building adjacent to the Hillsborough Public Library. It is a free program for children ages 3 and 4 years old, sponsored by the Hillsborough Public Library Board.
What it's all about...
The Literacy Express is coordinated and led by Nancy Land, B.Ed. with the assistance of Lois Snider. It offers the children a structured program of activities focused on stories, nursery rhymes, songs and movement, finger-plays, crafts and play-time at the various centres set up around the rooms.
One group of children meets for one hour on Tuesday mornings, and a second group meets on Wednesday mornings. There is no charge to parents for this service.
Nancy packs a lot of opportunities for learning into that hour, and organizes the activities around a common idea for that day.
The program, which has met from September to May over the past two years, grew out of the “story-time” which had been offered by the Hillsborough Public Library for a number of years. Nancy had been leading this occasionally in the spring and fall of 2013, but knew, as a former kindergarten teacher at Hillsborough Elementary School, that she could do more to provide specific literacy activities and experiences to help develop children’s oral language and pre-reading skills.
Barb Alcorn, the Library Manager, invited her to make a proposal to the Hillsborough Public Library Board. The Board was immediately supportive, but one potential obstacle was space. Children need room to move around. The Public Library has 440 square feet of space, but naturally, most of that space is taken up by books. This is when the village of Hillsborough stepped up to provide the use of two rooms at the train station.
And so the Literacy Express program began to take shape, with the promise of rooms, some interested children and their parents, and story books in abundance from the Library. But little children need furniture that fits them, equipment and resources that interest them, and teaching supplies for the program leader to use. And this is where other local (and provincial) organizations were willing to help.
All the necessary equipment was supplied, with the support of:
- Bennett and Albert County Healthcare Foundation
- Scotiabank’s Bright Futures program
- Order of the Eastern Star
- Aviva Insurance
- Hillsborough men’s hockey team
- PC Riding Association
- RBC Dominion Securities
- NB Children’s Foundation
- plus private individuals
And so, the Literacy Express program made its home at the train station in the late fall of 2013. In the ‘Train School’ year of 2013/14 there were 17 children who came regularly, and 20 children came in the following year of 2014/15. So all aboard for 2015-2016!
New season starts: Tuesday September 15, 2015
Contact: Hillsborough Public Library at 734-3722
Hours of operation: Tuesdays at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Another session will be offered on Wednesdays if needed to accommodate more children. Children register for either one session or the other, not both.
Class size: Space is limited to 10 children per/session.
Age requirements: Children must be three years of age when they start. As this is a program for preschoolers only, if they are 5 years old or older (i.e. of school age) they don't qualify.
Deadline to enroll: As soon as possible. The spaces fill up quickly
Program protocols: This is a drop-off program. Parents/Caregivers don't stay!