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Month of the Young Child to be celebrated in McKeesport

Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Sharing their books for Spring Around Story Time, seated from left, are Monica Hancharik, Jill Morse and Laura Bosnak Thompson, and standing, Mary Lynn Zoscak and Janey Matta-Rodriguez.

Monday, March 31, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

Storytime and activities will be the focus of the second annual Spring Around Story Time event that celebrates the Month of the Young Child.

Youngsters ages 2-8 can gather at the Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park from 4-6 p.m. April 9. Deadline to sign up for the festivities is April 7.

In its debut year, the event attracted nearly 200 participants. Planners hope to exceed that number this year.

As part of the month-long celebration, the Week of the Young Child is April 6-12 as designated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The goal is to focus on the needs of young children and their families and draw attention to early childhood programs and services that are available.

“This is our second year for doing this event,” said Laura Bosnak Thompson, site director at McKeesport Family Center. “Our focus is on literacy activities for the family and children in the Mon Valley area.”

Spring Around Story Time is a collaboration of agencies offering early childhood services. Participating agencies include Mon River Fleet Lions/Leo Club, Allegheny Intermediate Unit McKeesport Family Center, AIU Clairton Family Center, AIU Duquesne Family Center, AIU McKeesport First Steps Parenting Program, AIU Head Start, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Carnegie Library of McKeesport, McKeesport Area School District, McKeesport Police Department K-9 unit and the AIU Project Elect Program.

The free program will allow children and their parents the opportunity to have a meal and visit six activity stations.

“Each of the stations will pertain to reading and literacy,” Thompson said.

Jill Morse, children's librarian at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport, said: “Anytime you can get parents to read and play with their kids, it's a great way to improve literacy.”

The books that will be featured are “The Easter Egg,” “Tails Are Not For Pulling,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “If You're Happy and You Know It,” “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” and “Wild About Books.” There will be an activity at each station that pertains to the story, such as decorating paper eggs, animal awareness, a counting game, music and movement, graphing, matching and rhyming.

After visiting the activity stations, story­time will feature the Rev. Arlene Walker and Janey Matta-Rodriguez.

Before leaving, children will receive a free book of their choice to take home.

There will be raffle baskets and information available about various community services.

Funding is provided by the Mon River Fleet Lions Club/McKeesport Hospital Foundation, with other donations by Riverside Care Center, Kane Regional Center in McKeesport, the City of McKeesport, Zoscak's Food Market, Giant Eagle and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

“We hope this gives parents and children a new appreciation of books and literacy,” Thompson said, “and awareness of the agencies available in the community to help meet their needs.”

To register, call the McKeesport Family Center at 412-672-6970.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or



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