Riverside ELC is ‘Ready For School’

Riverside Early Learning Center is participating in Iowa Public Television’s Ready For School Initiative.

There are 25 communities involved in the effort aimed at children ages 2 to 8 living in low socioeconomic areas.

The Fort Dodge Community School District preschool will receive an iPad lab of three iPads, from IPTV, with seven free mobile learning apps for students to access. Head Start Zero-Five will also receive an iPad lab as part of the initiative.

“A nice component with that, parents can come to Riverside and download the apps for free, and have them on their phones and things for their kids to play with as well, and they can interact together,” Lis Ristau, Riverside ELC principal, said.

Preschool instructors will also be trained with a new math curriculum.

“It’s things parents can do at home with the children,” Ristau said. “It’s little activities revolving around the common CORE in math for our little ones.”

According to Ristau, the technology enhances children’s education at such a young age.

“It’s so engaging, and there’s so many wonderful free apps that begin with the basic literacy,” she said. “Whenever you can have technology with kids, it really increases their engagement and motivation to learn. It’s a wonderful device.”

Ristau said she is pleased Riverside ELC was chosen to receive the technology.

“I thought it was quite an honor. We were quite excited about it, and pleased that public television would pick Fort Dodge as one of the 25,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the children and the parents.”

Other Fort Dodge areas will also be a part of the initiative.

Fort Dodge Public Library will receive a “school library corner” with PBS Kids DVDs, as well as books for kids to become more immersed in literacy and math.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected to receive this equipment, and we’ll be very happy to display it in the library,” Barb Shultz, library director, said. “I believe our kids will benefit from it.”

There will also be two “learning stations” in Fort Dodge, Ristau said, one at UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care and the other potentially at Community Health Center.

“It’s basically places where children have to wait for a period of time,” she said. “It’s a little station with a TV and they’ll have educational shows in regards to literacy and math, and books and things kids can look at with their parents while they’re sitting there waiting.”

A kickoff for the statewide initiative will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday.