Play K coming to Milton Public Library

B.J. Smith, children’s librarian at the Milton Public Library, will be offering Play K, a program for children entering kindergarten. The sessions will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Thursdays, July 11, 18, 25, and Aug. 1, 8 and 15.

MILTON — Drawing on her 17 years of working at a pre-school, the Milton Public Library’s children’s librarian is looking forward to offering a new program for children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.

B.J. Smith said this will mark the first year the library will be offering Play K. The programs will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Thursdays, July 11, 18 and 25, and Aug. 1, 8 and 15.

“It’s going to be 45 minutes of playing kindergarten,” Smith said. “You are getting kids to understand what kindergarten is about. It’s reading stories, it’s playing educational games that don’t feel like you’re learning. You’re playing.”

She learned of the program through her sister-in-law, Heather Smith, who serves as director of the Eastern Lancaster County Library in New Holland.

B.J. Smith said curriculum for the Play K program is available online and was developed through the statewide Cruise into Kindergarten initiative.

According to information provided by Smith, Pennsylvania Public Libraries in 2013 received funding through a Library Services and Technology grant to begin the Cruise into Kindergarten initiative.

Children can attend just one of the sessions or all six.

“Not everyone goes to pre-school,” Smith said. “I’m hoping this reaches children who have never been in a school setting.”

She also hopes to draw attendees who have been to pre-school.

“For the kids that have been to pre-school, it’s furthering that, so it’s not so scary going to kindergarten,” Smith said.

Smith noted that she previously worked for 17 years at Little Lambs Preschool, located at Community Mennonite Fellowship. She is looking forward to again helping to prepare children to enter school for the first time.

She provided an information sheet from the Pennsylvania One Book: Every One Child initiative which noted that 90 percent of a child’s brain growth occurs from birth to age 4. As a result, the information said it’s important for parents to begin reading to children at birth.

“Reading aloud introduces the patterns of language and develops vocabulary,” the information sheet said. “Reading to a child just 20 minutes each day will enable him or her to hear 1 million words in a year and will expand his or her vocabulary by 1,000 words.”

Pre-registration for Play K is required and can be completed by calling the library at 570-742-7111 or by stopping by the library at 541 Broadway, Milton.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email

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