CLARKSVILLE, TN – The Little Govs Child Learning Center at Austin Peay State University recently obtained a $2,250 grant from the Nashville Predators Foundation to fund a language and literacy event for children and their families enrolled in the center this fall.
The event that will be funded through the grant is called Family Language and Literacy Day, which will give children and families lots of opportunities to play and be emerged in language and literacy activities.
Every child will receive a backpack filled with books and writing materials to take back home with them so they can continue to engage in reading and enjoy fun pre-literacy activities. Mary Jo Huff, an international storyteller, will also make a special appearance at the event and surprise everyone with songs and books.
The event will focus on providing activities and resources to families that they can do from home with a focus on language and literacy development,” said Claudia Rodriguez, the director of Little Govs CLC. “When children enter kindergarten, it is critical that they have the vocabulary, speech and language skills to identify some letters in the alphabet and write their name. If children struggle with vocabulary and speech going into kindergarten, it then can negatively impact all other learning concepts.”
Rodriguez said the first five years in a child’s life are the most critical because they impact lifelong learning. The Little Govs CLC centers on helping children ages 2-5 develop social, emotional, intellectual, creative and physical skills in a creative, fun way to prepare them for kindergarten.
The Nashville Predators Foundation also supported the program’s mission last year with a $1,500 grant for outdoor learning equipment, which was used to create an outdoor music enrichment classroom.
“If we didn’t have the funding, we couldn’t purchase these items on our own,” Rodriguez said. “Our program would not have the financial resources to do that. Even last year’s grant from the Predators Foundation, without that funding, we didn’t have the $1,500 to add that musical instrument on the playground.”
Many programs on campus require outside funding to further their missions, and receiving competitive grants is a challenge the Little Govs CLC has met before. Kelly Pitts, assistant director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Sharana Jones, grants specialist for the College of STEM, both know this process well.
“The importance of grants is huge,” Pitts said. “A lot of the funding that’s given out to the various departments or colleges on campus is predetermined through our state legislature and the folks in the accounting department here. The idea of getting a grant to fund something is really invaluable because that can be a way to get projects and initiatives off the ground.”
These opportunities for grants stay in wait in many instances, a problem that Pitts and Jones aim to solve through different resources on and off campus. Jones said various organizations, events and foundations are always looking to support causes that they agree with.
“There is money everywhere,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of looking for it and finding it – and when it’s competitive, hoping that what you write is strong enough to get funded.”
Going forward, the Little Govs CLC will continue pursuing its mission of helping children develop into their best selves, with plans already in the works for future partnerships and ways to fund the cause.