By Hind al-Khulaifi/Doha
Too often, we associate learning with formal education settings, most notably schools.
However, research has shown again and again that the first three years of a child’s life is critical to their growth and development.
As such, it is imperative that parents foster a love of learning in their children as early as possible, and that begins with reading.
Literacy is at the heart of all learning, parents can give their children a significant leg up by introducing reading and writing at an early age, before they ever set foot in a classroom.
While the thought of undertaking such an important task may seem daunting, parents aren’t alone.
Qatar National Library (QNL) offers a comprehensive suite of early literacy programmes designed to help both parents and children nurture a love of learning.
Since QNL opened last month, the Children’s Library has hosted numerous events that take a fun and educational approach to early literacy, such as Storytime Yoga for toddlers and their parents, and A Fun Day with Letters for those aged 4 to 8.
The “Our Children and Books” event focused on showcasing to parents how children’s brains are wired to learn to read, and the importance of their role in shaping positive reading habits at a very young age through books.
In this session, parents were also given ideas on how to build home libraries and incorporate pleasure reading in their daily lives together.
The opening of QNL has made it much easier for parents to make reading an everyday part of their children’s lives.
The Children’s Library has more than 100,000 print books in its collection, and offers access to many electronic resources, including e-books, e-magazines, and other online resources specifically designed for children.
It also contains educational toys, games, arts and crafts materials, and computers and iPads equipped with the latest learning programmes.
Through QNL’s website, families and children are able to access the calendar of the weekly programmes conducted in the library, recommended print books to consider, as well as English and Arabic online resources that can support children in their school work.
All of these resources—and the staff of dedicated children’s librarians—are in place because Qatar National Library wants to encourage the idea that continuous learning is a way of life and can take place outside formal boundaries.
QNL is a proud member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), and the Children’s Library takes very seriously its role in fulfilling QF’s mission to spread knowledge and cultivate creativity for future generations.
Parents, too, need to understand that their role is of paramount importance in making sure their children don’t get left behind.
Together, QNL and parents can ensure that all of Qatar’s children get the head start on the future that they deserve.
* Hind al-Khulaifi is head of Children’s Library at Qatar National Library.
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