Title One specialist Amber Williams showed Chad Claussen, 4, how a magnetic puzzle worked at Learning with Littles at Aspen Early Learning Center in Riverton. “We like to help parents out with the types of questions you should be asking your kids,” said Williams who hosts Learning With Littles once a week. “We’ve found that this kind of socialization helps younger kids once they’re ready to go to school.” (photo by Carl Cote)

By Jeff Rebitski

Staff Writer

The Aspen Early Learning Center in Riverton shows parents and kids how to learn by playing together to prepare youngsters to attend school successfully. Research shows that combining learning with constructive play is a great way to engage children. The parents often learn what motivates each child and can then work with the educators to promote healthy and positive learning styles that can shape the child’s attitude throughout their career in school.

Aspen Early Learning Center is a cornerstone in Riverton where children getting ready for kindergarten can prepare for their academic careers in an effort to make the most of their time in the classroom. Parents with children from infant to four years old can meet with teachers and staff and enjoy playtime learning. On Thursday afternoons from 1-2 p.m. through April 27, parents and children are invited to learn how to be creative and have a fun, engaging time together while learning the basics. 

When asked, Linda Duthie, grandmother to four-year-old, Chad Claussen, stated that this was a great time to see him interact with others. He was very engaged and willing to listen and learn. His mother, who works at Aspen Early Learning Center, will be able to help and monitor his progress when he attends next year. 

Chad Claussen, 4, smiled as he grasped a toy cup at Aspen early Learning Center Thursday in Riverton. (photo by Carl Cote)

Josi Smith, also four years old, with a parent who teaches English, comes for socializing, according to her grandmother, Olivia Boyd. “This is her time to interact with kids her own age,” she shared. Both kids were obviously well-spoken and interested in artistic activities as well as academic ones and both were very happy to be there, especially when they were able to take home their own copy of the book that the teacher read to them at the beginning of class. The gift of a book for kids is made possible by a BOCES grant and is designed to have the parents read to and then listen to the child as they begin their own adventures in reading. 

In the hour they were together, the kids and the teachers seemed to have a great time together. Laughter was abundant and the kids interacted with the Ranger reporter and photographer without hesitation. With a solid start in a school like this, they have a better-than-average chance at academic success straight through college.

This program is free to all parents and kids and will certainly be fun and educational for both. Find out more by visiting Aspen’s website, or drop in to the next Learning with Littles yourself.