WWO Toy Library Ribbon Cutting at OPL
In September 2015, after 18 years serving children abroad, WWO brought its Element of Play® program to Orange, NJ. We launched the Toy Library program at the Orange Public Library (OPL), with the goal of serving an ethnically diverse community facing poverty and unemployment. Orange has notable similarities to communities served by Element of Play® abroad. The global issues of health inequity, trauma, toxic stress, and limited access to early childhood services and educational attainment are found equally in Orange and abroad.
When Toy Library was in session at the OPL, the multi-purpose auditorium space in the children’s room was transformed into a stimulating space with mobile shelves filled with colorful, educational toys and child-centered programming facilitated by WWO staff and volunteers utilizing the Element of Play® curriculum. At the end of the session, the “mobile” toy library was disassembled. This process was repeated a few times each week, during scheduled Toy Library times.
In 2018, we worked to transform a space provided by the OPL into a “Toy Library Corner” designed to serve the needs of children ages 0-6 and their families. What began as a mobile program has now become a new stationary Toy Library, providing children with a dedicated, structured, supportive play space filled with toys and books chosen by age and stage of development and curated for targeted support across five developmental domains (cognition, communication, fine and gross motor and social-emotional).
The project started in March 2018, through WWO’s partnership with the Orange Public Library and the interim Library Director, Lorraine Ruiz. WWO worked with the Director and the Library Board of Trustees to plan for the creation of a permanent early childhood space utilizing a corner of the Children’s Room that had been previously enclosed with partitions and used for storage.
In May of 2018, WWO presented the plans for the new Toy Library at the Library Board meeting and the project was approved by the Trustees. The interim Director departed in the Spring of 2018 and WWO quickly established a relationship with the new interim Director, Betsey Epstein, who has been a key partner in the process of renovating the space. WWO collaborated with the Library to clear out shelving, paint, and furnish the space with child-friendly furniture and age-appropriate, scientifically curated toys and books to create the brand-new Toy Library. The libraries new director, Sarah Wiggins, who started in January of 2019, has been a great supporter of WWO as we begin to offer early childhood programing at the new Toy Library Corner.
On Thursday, June 13 2019, WWO and the Orange Public Library will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially launch the new Toy Library. Please join WWO Founder and CEO, Dr. Jane Aronson, as well as the library’s Director, Sarah Wiggins, members of the Orange Public Library Board of Trustees, local elected officials, and the children and families we serve as we celebrate the opening of this exciting new space.
Event details below:
WWO Toy Library Ribbon Cutting at the Orange Public Library
Thursday, June 13, 2019 | 5:30pm to 6:30pm | 348 Main Street, Orange, NJ