COW bus to come to Rimbey soon

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By Treena Mielke

A bus masquerading as a Holstein cow will pull into Rimbey next week, bringing with it new and exciting ways to encourage literacy in young children.

Alberta Prairie COW (classroom on wheels) will roll up beside the Rimbey Library on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and will be on site from 1 to 5 p.m. and also from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 5.

On Tuesday a barbecue will be held in the parking lot behind the library with special guest, ventriloquist Val Hilliker from Bluffton entertaining.

Stories and crafts will be offered in the library for children who are waiting their turn to go through the bus, said Rimbey librarian Jean Keetch.

The bus provides a friendly space for parents and their children up to six years of age, to learn and explore fun new ways to add literacy activities into their daily lives.

The COW brings with it trained family literacy workers who provide information on the importance of early language development and leave behind a small library of quality children’s books.

Keetch said bringing the bus to Rimbey is a great way to encourage family literacy.

Literacy development begins between birth and five years of age when the foundation is laid for school literacy and lifelong learning, she said.

A government website dealing with literacy states family literacy programming has the benefits of assisting parents to understand and strengthen their skills as a child’s first and best teacher and to help parents with their own literacy skills.

Providing parents with the knowledge of the importance of talking, reading and learning together with their young children is a preventative strategy that ensures children have the necessary early language and emergent literacy building blocks when they start school.

Keetch noted in Alberta 40 per cent of the population aged 16 years and older have reading and numeracy skills below the level adequate to cope with the demands of everyday life and work in an advanced society.

“Lack of literacy puts people at risk. They might not be able to read medications properly or they could be taken advantage of because they don’t understand the wording in contracts.”

The COW bus presentation is sponsored by Rimbey Library and the Parent link Centre.