Early childhood development sets the course for a child’s future and largely determines how well children will do in school, their physical and mental health, behaviour, relationships and general well-being. While parents are a child’s first teacher, the public library is recognized nationally “as the only public institution responding to the learning needs of the pre-school child.”
The Calgary Public Library is our city’s largest provider of free, high quality early learning support and welcomes more than 80,000 children under five and their parents across its network of eighteen community libraries. The Library also leverages its network to deliver targeted community outreach to support underrepresented citizens, including at-risk and vulnerable populations, and newcomers to Canada.
The Calgary Public Library Foundation’s vision is to create the best public library in the world for Calgarians. We believe this is possible through Add In—the Campaign for Calgary’s Library and the strategic philanthropic investment of Calgarians.
Guided by the priorities of Calgarians, and to support Calgary’s children and families, we want to create a transformative model for early childhood development.
The focus of the Calgary Public Library over the next three years is to pilot Early Learning Centres in all 18 libraries (growing to 21) throughout the city. Each centre will feature experiential and moveable furniture and will provide hands-on activities, props and games to support play and active learning. Using play as a building block for development of critical foundation skills, these early learning spaces will nurture hundreds of thousands of children annually and will support children and their caregivers as they discover the five stages of early learning; talking, singing, reading, writing and play.