FMU’s Early Childhood Library to benefit kids, educators |

Francis Marion University has a unique new space where current and future Patriots can learn and grow through the power of children’s literature.

FMU recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its Early Childhood Library at the Gail & Terry Richardson Center for the Child.

Located in the center’s atrium on the university’s main campus, the library was a project of FMU’s Early Childhood Education program.

Children enrolled at the Richardson Center for the Child can borrow from a vast selection of children’s literature curated to complement early learning development. The kids can also enjoy story time with guest readers in the bright and whimsically decorated space.

FMU President Fred Carter kicked things off following the ribbon cutting, donning a pair of moose antlers and reading to a group of RCC children.

In addition to building youngsters’ love of reading, the library will also play a vital role in FMU’s ECE majors. The students will satisfy various components of their coursework by using the books now available.

“Making readers is a life-saving endeavor, and it just happens to be wildly fun and satisfying,” said Jeanne Gunther, chair of Francis Marion’s Early Childhood Education program.

Gunther unveiled the new library alongside Dr. Callum Johnston, professor of early childhood education, and teaching candidates who worked on the project. The library was made possible by REAL Grant funding, private donations, and support from Carter.

The Richardson Center for the Child, which offers childcare and development for children ranging from infancy to age 4, plays a critical role in several university research programs. In addition to early childhood education, FMU students in nursing, psychology, and speech-language pathology use the center as a training and lab site.

According to Johnston, the opening of the early childhood library was a natural fit to expand upon FMU’s current academic efforts.

“Early childhood education and children’s literature are inseparable,” Johnston said. “You can not have one without the other.”

The books at the Early Childhood Library were chosen based on their ability to represent diversity, display developmental appropriateness and address early learning as well as meet South Carolina education standards. FMU teaching candidates in the early childhood project will use the library’s selection for assignments as well as to build their knowledge of current children’s literature.

To learn more about the Richardson Center for the Child, visit www.centerforthechild.org.

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