When it comes to education, kids need to be engaged all year long to spark and feed their sense of curiosity. Especially after a challenging academic year that was largely spent in isolation, young minds cannot afford a summer slump this year.
Yet, jamming kids into summer school may not be the best way to keep them learning. Instead, the Marin County Free Library and First 5 Marin are teaming up to offer the free Summer Learning Backpacks program.
The backpacks, which come in all kinds of colors and sizes, include three bilingual books, a pencil with a pencil sharpener, crayons, a coloring and activity book, scissors, colored markers, a whiteboard with pen and eraser, plenty of paper and containers of Play-Doh.
“Part of why this is extra special is that the kids are getting real backpacks, not just the drawstring kind,” says Interim Marin County Free Library Director Gabriella Calicchio. “That will add to their self-esteem and confidence as they prepare to go to school—many for the first time.”
Distribution of the backpacks ramped up this month at all 10 Marin County Free Library branches, and several other locations visited by the library’s Learning Bus. The final two distribution events this month take place on Thursday, July 29, at the Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd., at 10:30am; and on Saturday, July 31, at Rocky Graham Park, 850 Drake Ave. in Marin City, at noon. The library’s Learning Bus staff will provide outdoor storytime and Little Learners Kits at each event.
Marin County Free Library strives to be the preferred place for local children, families and caregivers to connect, learn and grow together. In addition to the Summer Learning Backpacks Program, the library offers services and programs such as in-person summer camps and online book clubs at marinlibrary.org.
First 5 Marin Children and Families Commission, an independent government agency, guides the investment of Proposition 10 funds in Marin County for the benefit of children up to the age of 5.
“Ensuring that our youngest learners have access to tools that will facilitate learning during the summer is essential,” says First 5 Marin Executive Director Dr. Pegah Faed. “The summer learning backpacks will offer fun learning activities to prepare them for the upcoming school year.”