United Way of Lake County’s Early Learning Club (ELC) supplies at-risk Lake County children entering Kindergarten the basic skills they need to be ready and able to learn and empowers parents as their child’s first teacher.

Parents attend with their children and are provided creative and fun tools to teach their children at home, better preparing them to enter school. Curriculum covers colors, shapes, counting, and the alphabet.

ELCs take place at community locations such as churches, schools, libraries, and community organizations.

Early Learning Club teachers are trained UWLC volunteers including pre-school teachers, retired teachers, librarians, and community leaders. Laurie, a part-time preschool teacher at St. Patrick’s in Wadsworth, volunteers her time to teach an ELC at Woodland Village-an isolated low-income apartment complex in Waukegan.

As the ELC ends Laurie congratulates the class and shares a message with the parents: “If you ask me how often you should work with your child I will tell you every day. Walking outside identify colors with your child. Together with your kids, think of words that rhyme with items while grocery shopping. At the breakfast table, help your kids find shapes, letters and colors on the cereal box. Every day is filled with simple and fun teachable moments.”

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