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A Little Fright Can Be All Right: Children’s Books for the ‘Spooky Season’

It’s the scariest time of the year! And we’re not just saying that because of the proliferation of pumpkin spice everywhere. It’s Halloween time! And the scary books are out in droves.

Given the enduring popularity of such book series as R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” and, more recently, “Last Kids on Earth” and Neil Gaiman’s works for children such as “Coraline” one shouldn’t be surprised to find many voices in support of scary kids’ literature.

Why should any kid be interested in scaring the candy corn out of themselves? Well, the “why” may not be as big a point as the fact that they do want to scare themselves. The scary subgenre of children’s literature has been steadily popular, especially in recent decades.

One advantage to books over other media is the ability to control how one intakes the story. According to British illustrator, Curtis Jobling: “Unlike movie frights, which can feel all-encompassing and leave a mark on young viewers long after the last scene, book scares are easier to manage. A book won’t chase you. It won’t leap out and make you jump. Tasting terror from within the confines of a book provides the reader with a vicarious thrill, one which they’re in complete control of.”

According to Cavan Scott, author of “Attack of the Necron,” one thing going for the stories is teamwork. “Kids reading the series will understand a little bit more about the importance of working together to find solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems, or how to dig deep to find the courage to get through something that usually makes their palms go clammy.”

And as with many stories for kids, there is often a lesson to be learned. “(A lady) told me how much she had loved “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” but how the White Witch had given her nightmares. The funny thing was that as she described the bad dreams, she smiled, and then explained how she’d learned about the dangers of going with strangers from Edmund’s experiences with the Witch,” author Cavan Scott said.

There is much to be mined from these stories, and much truth to be shared through them. So pick up a scary book with your kid this Halloween season. We could all use a good fright.

Books about Being Scared and Bravery

New Orleans Pelicans Distribute Prime Time Boxes of Books

The New Orleans Pelicans and Shell teamed up to distribute Prime Time Boxes at Grand Caillou Elementary School.

During the event, Pelicans mascot Pierre and the Pelicans Hype Team handed out boxes to preschool students. Grand Caillou Elementary School, located in Houma, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Ida last year and the school is still operating out of a temporary campus.

Students receiving Prime Time Boxes got a box filled with books to help build their families’ home libraries, additional learning supplies, and a Grown-Up Guide for caregivers that provides support for discussion and activities for at-home implementation of Prime Time’s humanities-centered methodology.

Visit the New Orleans Pelicans website for more photos from the event.

Community Groups Invited to Bring Free Reading Programs to Families

Community groups have a free opportunity to join Louisiana’s literacy effort by hosting a Prime Time reading program in Spring 2023.

Applications will be accepted online until Oct. 17 for organizations that would like to host either Prime Time Family Reading, for ages 6-10, or Prime Time Preschool Reading, for ages 3-5.

Eligible organizations include schools, libraries, museums, churches and other community-based agencies that possess a valid EIN#. Prime Time, a program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, offers families a chance to come together to share a meal, read, and discuss the important themes often found in children’s books.

Organizations whose applications are approved will host the 90-minute sessions once a week for six weeks. Prime Time programs take place at no cost to host organizations or participating families. Each partner site will receive a $1,000 site support stipend and a set of the children’s books used during the program, and participating families keep all books for their personal home libraries.

Training in program operation and the Prime Time method of using open-ended questions to spur meaningful discussion will be provided in January.

For more information about Prime Time reading programs, visit www.primetimefamily.org or email [email protected].

Prime Time Returns in Person for Fall

Families across Louisiana will have the opportunity to once again gather in person for story-sharing, family discussion and shared meals as part of Prime Time’s high-quality family literacy and engagement programs this fall.

More than 50 Prime Time Family Reading and Prime Time Preschool Reading programs will take place in 21 parishes across the state, and nearly all will return to in-person programs for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prime Time programs are about connections – with each other, our families and our communities,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “When these discussions take place in person those connections are deepened, as are the conversations that take place around the important humanities themes found in the books that are part of Prime Time programs.”

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), Prime Time programs involve story-sharing around an award-winning children’s book during a weekly session that takes place for six weeks at libraries, schools, churches, community centers and other local sites. Prime Time Family Reading, for ages 6-10, and Prime Time Preschool Reading, for ages 3-5, encourage families to personally connect with literature and each other and think beyond surface considerations of who, what, when, and where – by using open-ended questioning that spurs and encourages rich discussion across generations. For Preschool Reading, hands-on activities are incorporated to keep younger children engaged.

Prime Time programs are free for families and the partner organizations throughout the state that host them. Families also get to keep the books from the sessions to help build their home libraries. Prime Time’s fall reading programs are sponsored by the Beaird Family Foundation, BHP, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Grayson Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Shell USA and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In addition to Louisiana sites, Prime Time reading programs are hosted by state humanities councils throughout the United States. This fall, 10 states will host Prime Time reading programs.

“Fall is always an important season in the lives of children and families. Back to school means that the calendar begins again and with it the excitement of possibilities, connection with new and old friends, and exploring new learning challenges,” said Shelly Stocker, LEH vice president of education programs. “This fall, we are deeply grateful to be able to again ensure that family engagement around amazing literature is an easily accessible component of the lives of Louisiana families and beyond.”

Find a Fall Program Near You

 

Prime Time Pops initiative encourages male role models

Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other male role models play an important part in the early development and long-term well-being of young children. With that in mind, Prime Time Head Start is launching a new initiative called Prime Time Pops.

Prime Time Pops will involve fathers, grandfathers, community leaders, Prime Time policy council members, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities board members and other male role models in activities at Prime Time Head Start centers throughout the upcoming school year. They will also help bridge the gap while our Head Start programming is closed for the summer.

Throughout the summer break, Prime Time Head Start will be sharing Reading with Prime Time Pops videos on the Prime Time YouTube channel. This weekly video series will feature our “Pops” reading preschool-appropriate books, and combines Prime Time’s goals of promoting family engagement and literacy.

Prime Time Revives Historic Campus with New Head Start Center

Prime Time Head Start officially welcomed students, caregivers and the entire community to its newest Head Start center on April 8.

Prime Time Head Start on the former Immaculate Heart of Mary campus in Lafayette began offering classes in February. It marked the return to use of a historic community institution. The campus can serve more than 200 students.

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime Time Head Start was selected by the Office of Head Start to provide Early Head Start and Head Start services within Lafayette and Iberia Parishes in October of 2020. Prime Time is federally funded in Acadiana to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers. Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers now serve Acadiana families at four locations, with two in Lafayette, one in Jeanerette and one in New Iberia.

Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family. Prime Time also operates Head Start centers in Ouachita Parish, as well as award-winning family reading programs statewide.

 

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Prime Time Cuts Ribbon on Head Start Center in Jeanerette

Prime Time Head Start officially marked the opening of Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start in Jeanerette on April 7.

Students started attending classes on the campus, which is located at the former Jeanerette Elementary School, at the beginning of the school year.

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime Time Head Start was selected by the Office of Head Start to provide Early Head Start and Head Start services within Lafayette and Iberia Parishes in October of 2020. Prime Time is federally funded in Acadiana to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers. Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers now serve Acadiana families at four locations, with two in Lafayette, one in Jeanerette and one in New Iberia.

Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family. Prime Time also operates Head Start centers in Ouachita Parish, as well as award-winning family reading programs statewide.

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Grant Applications for Fall Programs Now Being Accepted

Grant applications are now being accepted from organizations that would like to host a Prime Time family reading program in their community in the fall. 

Applications will be accepted from March 15 until April 15. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time reading programs accept applications from community organizations such as schools, libraries, museums, churches and other community-based agencies that possess a valid EIN#. 

“For the first time since the pandemic began we anticipate most, if not all, of our programs will take place in person,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “While we’re proud of what our Prime Time team members, partners and families were able to accomplish virtually during that time, we also know that so much of Prime Time is about the personal connections we make with each other, and we can’t wait to make those connections in person again.” 

Organizations can choose to host a Prime Time Family Reading program for families with children ages 6 to 10 or a Prime Time Preschool Reading program for families with children ages 3 to 5. Prime Time programs are designed to promote literacy and family engagement. Each session begins with a storyteller reading a carefully chosen, award-winning children’s book. Families are then engaged in discussion around the themes found in the book. Preschool programs also involve age-appropriate hands-on activities. 

Organizations whose applications are approved will host the 90-minute sessions once a week for six weeks. Prime Time programs take place at no cost to host organizations or participating families. Each partner site will receive a $1,000 site support stipend and a set of the children’s books used during the program, and participating families will keep all books for their personal home libraries. 

“In the last two years we have been proud to provide programming in a virtual format, which has allowed families to continue to benefit from Prime Time and deepen their connections with program sites and children’s literature,” said Shelley Stocker, vice president of education programs. “Planning for this fall we are hopeful that gathering in person will be possible once again, allowing families to share a meal with each other and enjoy the informal interactions that create lasting engagement with the community organizations and schools that host Prime Time in their communities.”  

Training for selected programs will be provided in July. 

Prime Time’s fall programs are made possible by Baptist Community Ministries, the Carolyn W. and Charles T. Beaird Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Grayson Foundation, Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation, RosaMary Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Shell, and W.K. Kellogg. 

For more information about Prime Time reading programs, email [email protected]. 

Prime Time Head Start Kicks Off Enrollment for 2022-23 school year

Prime Time Head Start is now accepting applications for free preschool for the 2022-23 school year. 

Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start in Lafayette and Iberia Parishes accepts children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Prime Time Head Start in Ouachita Parish educates 3- and 4-year-olds.

 “As a parent, safety, high quality, and affordability are high criteria on my personal list when seeking child care,” said Stalanda Butcher, Vice President of Head Start Services for the LEH and Prime Time. “At Prime Time, we go beyond basic licensing safety requirements. Our centers are staffed with highly-qualified teachers and curriculum coaches, we have trained family service advocates and all of our programming is offered at no out-of-pocket cost to families.” 

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime TimeHead Start helps children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities that will set the foundation for lifelong learning. Prime Time Head Start follows a Tier 1 Curriculum, the top rating for instructional materials by the Louisiana Department of Education, in order to help provide a seamless transition into kindergarten.  

The Early Head Start program promotes the physical, mental, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers in a safe and caring environment, and the expectant mothers program offers support and services to families before birth. Prime Time welcomes students of all abilities, with 10 percent of seats reserved for children with special needs. 

In addition to services for students, Prime Time embraces a family engagement approach with support and services for the entire family. Those opportunities include help with going back to school and employment, Family Engagement Network Meetings, Family Learning Parties and a parent and caregiver Policy Council through which families help govern Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers. 

Families interested in enrolling their child can visit our Lafayette and Iberia page or Ouachita page for more information, registration links and contacts for our enrollment team.

New Director to Lead Prime Time Head Start in Acadiana

Prime Time Inc., the Head Start grantee for Lafayette and Iberia Parishes, has appointed Dena Thomas as the service area’s Head Start Director. 

Thomas most recently served as the Director of Comprehensive Services for Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start, a subsidiary of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. In this role, she worked with family advocates to ensure proper implementation of ERSEA (eligibility, recruitment, selection, and enrollment) systems and tracking of student data, as well as ensured strong family engagement, partnerships and enhancement of the services provided to Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start families.

Thomas has served children and families in the Head Start program in the Acadiana area for more than a decade, working as an operations manager, Head Start center director and Early Head Start teacher in programs throughout Lafayette, Iberia and St. Martin Parishes.

“Dena Thomas has a heartfelt connection to the work of Head Start and Early Head Start. Her extensive early childhood background, appreciation to detail, and unwavering commitment to our children, families, and staff made her the prime candidate,” said Stalanda Butcher, Vice President of Head Start Services for LEH and Prime Time, Inc. “I look forward to seeing our programming in Acadiana elevate to greater heights under her leadership.” 

Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her master’s in Business Administration, with a minor in Organizational Leadership, from Ashford University. 

“I am excited and honored to be chosen as director for Prime Time in Acadiana. Providing quality education to young children and comprehensive services to families is my passion,” Thomas said. “As director, I commit to overseeing the implementation of this work and to continuing to build partnerships in Acadiana to help stabilize our community.” 

Prime Time Head Start is federally funded to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers, at its centers in Lafayette, New Iberia and Jeanerette. Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family.