The Tupelo Public School District's Early Beginnings Resource Center on North Green Street officially opened on Tuesday. It works like a library in that parents can check out and bring home various games, activities and other materials.
The center currently has language and math resources for 3- to 5-year-old children. The plan is to eventually expand it to those from birth to age 8. It is located in the media center of the Early Childhood Education Center, the school district's pre-kindergarten school for 4-year-olds.
"We believe that parents are our partners in education," ECEC lead teacher Anita Buchanan said during an open house for the center on Tuesday. "This is one way to extend learning to the home environment. Parents are the first and primary teachers."
Tuesday's open house provided the public a first look at the center, which has been under development since last spring. Several rows of shelves held boxes of activities, while labels described the skills they teach: letter recognition, rhyming, fine motor skills, vocabulary, numbers and measurement, among others.
Another section of the room features a play center where children could build with LEGO blocks, draw on a chalkboard or sit on beanbag chairs while their parents browse.
Items can be brought home for two weeks, and the center is open to all Tupelo residents, not just students in the district. That includes those in home schools, private schools or day cares.
ECEC teacher Katie Pannell said the center is also valuable for the school's teachers.
"If we see a student who may need a boost, we can refer the parents to come here and check out something," she said. "Or if we see a student who may need an extra challenge, we can recommend something they can use to push themselves to another level. We can show parents materials they can use at home to raise up their children."
Hours of operation will be Mondays from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also will open the second Sunday
of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (662) 840-5237.