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Excellence in Programs

Literacy and Curriculum Development for Children and Teachers

book bags Baby STEPS to Literacy is a take-home rotating book bag (3‐4 books per bag) program that provides books to classrooms and programs enrolling children from infants through third grade. The purpose of this program is to help children develop a love of reading by encouraging shared reading in the home. Approximately 700 book bags are currently in circulation.





Food for Thought provides brand new high quality books to children and encourages adults to spend a few minutes a day reading with them. Since research shows that lower socio‐economic children have poorer reading scores, in an attempt to reach this population, this program distributes books through food pantries in Kona and Waimea. Approximately 1,000 books have been distributed.

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The NOLE (Natural Outdoor Learning Environment) at Waimea Elementary School
An activity-centered outdoor environment that engages children in a variety of play activities has been created at Waimea Elementary School for the kindergarten students. To date, a tricycle path has been built, along with an amphitheatre, a sand box and garden beds. There is still more to come including a weather station and some decking areas for creative play. These facilities replace two worn out play structures that were removed because they no longer met DOE safety standards. The new activity centers are used daily by the approximately 100 Waimea kindergarten students that share the playground. The project was spearheaded by the Baby STEPS to Stronger Big Island Families, which wrote the grant proposal for initial funding to get the playground project started.

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Baby STEPS offers a parent-child interaction Play and Learn Group designed as an option for pre-kindergarten learning. We know that developing a truly literate child does not begin in kindergarten and that children need to have experiences with reading at a much younger age.


Early Literacy Continuums CoverLiteracy Continuum is a developmental chart tracking early literacy skills to support parents and teachers. Each skill has been broken down and activities to enhance a child’s development from birth through kindergarten are suggested. Over 350 continuums have been distributed to practitioners during training sessions.