Essic Robinson Head Start preschoolers listen to Mayor Brant Walker as he reads one of their favorite books, “Llama, Llama Time to Share.”
ALTON – Leaders in the Alton area are spending time with preschoolers at Essic Robinson Head Start in Alton as the school celebrates Community Helpers Week.
The week was designed to introduce the students to leaders in their community and to see what they do.
“We chose this week because it is Fire Prevention Week, but then we decided to expand it and invite more people from the community to participate,” Essic Robinson teacher mentor Alison Christy said.
Members of the Alton Fire Department kicked off the week by giving the children a tour of their firetruck. One of the firefighters also put on his gear and mask to demonstrate how they help kids when there is a fire.
“Some students were scared at first when they put on the mask, but then they are aware and know that this person is here to help them,” Christy said.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker also came to the center to tell the children about his job. He read aloud from the book “Llama, Llama Time to Share.” The book teaches children about the importance of sharing.
“If you can reach kids at this age, it can make a difference,” Walker said.
Later in the week, members of the Alton Police Department and Pastor Darrin Williams of New Beginnings Outreach International will spend time with the students.
“We hope that the children will aspire to be like these leaders. They are heroes and someone they should look up to,” Christy said.
The Essic Robinson Head Start center at 1802 E. Broadway is one of five centers operated by Riverbend Head Start and Family Services. The nonprofit prepares 945 impoverished children for kindergarten through its early childhood development programs and works with the parents to address issues they are facing so they can better support their child’s education.
“This is a great program,” Walker said. “Education is the key if you want to break the cycle of poverty.”