House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, myself and members of the Norwalk delegation recently welcomed news that Stepping Stones Museum for Children will get help from the state in establishing an early learning and literacy laboratory.
The Early Learning and Literacy Initiative project—a collaboration between Stepping Stone, Literacy How Inc., Norwalk Community College and the Norwalk Housing Authority—is slated to receive funding from the state when the Bond Commission meets on Monday. The $500,000 will fund renovations to the Stepping Stones facility to establish the literacy lab. The overall project seeks to provide young children with a solid foundation for school, to inspire a lifelong love of learning and to ensure future academic and life success.
One of the most powerful things we can do for our children is to give them a solid foundation in literacy.There is no more capable organization to carry out this mission than Stepping Stones Museum backed by a cadre of able community organizations and learning institutions. This investment by the state will enrich literacy opportunities for scores of children.
“Stepping Stones has played an incredibly important role for Norwalk families through its ‘hands-on’ educational approach that enriches young lives. This state award will strengthen the relationships between Stepping Stones and the other key players in Norwalk from the community college level on down through local government,’’ said Rep. Cafero. “The Literacy Lab will benefit greatly from this infusion of state money and is a recognition that Stepping Stones enhances early childhood education.’’
“This grant to support a lab school at Stepping Stones—a critical component of the Early Learning and Literacy Initiative—will have an important impact on private and public sector goals to close the literacy gap in the state of Connecticut. This ELLI lab school will be an innovative model of immersive teaching and learning opportunities for both children and adults to learn, grow and succeed,” said Rhonda Kiest, executive director of Stepping Stones.
“Providing the necessary resources and supporting efforts that nurture and advance early learning and literacy programs is a smart investment,” said Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk). “Stepping Stones Museum is an important resource and this funding will enhance their ability to provide children with a more solid foundation for future success.”
"In education there is nothing as important as early literacy, and I am so glad that the state will be funding the beneficial work done by Stepping Stones to give children this opportunity to learn in their early, most formative years," said Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton). "The successes of this Norwalk museum not only help the local community, but have an important impact on the lives of children throughout our region."
"Considering the recent passage of the state's landmark education reform bill and the emphasis on early childhood education and literacy, it's fantastic that Governor Malloy has agreed to give money to Norwalk's Stepping Stones Museum so it can become a leader in early learning and literacy initiatives," said Rep. Bruce Morris (D-Norwalk).
"Stepping Stones provides an opportunity to learn valuable lessons about culture, all taught through the senses of sight, sound and touch, enabling children to enjoy learning, which is so important at their young age," said Rep. Terrie Wood (R-Darien)