A partnership between the South Sioux City Community Schools and the South Sioux City Public Library is giving area special needs children an opportunity for developmental growth.
The Toy Lending Library is a special area in the public library where parents of children in the district's Early Childhood Special Education Services program can check out and bring home toys chosen by therapists and purchased by the school. The toys are all designed to help with developmental growth in areas such as speech/language, gross and fine motor, hearing, vision and health.
“The district can offer toys that might be a little more expensive,” said Laura Throener, speech language pathologist for the district. “We can then coach the parents how to best use that toy to help their child.”
Each toy comes with an instruction sheet in English and Spanish detailing how to use the toy, what areas of development it focuses on, how much the toy costs if it's lost or broken and where to purchase the toy if the child really enjoys playing with it. The toys can be checked out for three weeks before they are returned to the library, cleaned and made available for another family to check out.
Becky Eckhardt, the district's Director of Student Services, noted that this program has been a positive partnership for the school.
“It's a great way to get children and families into the library and encourage literacy and learning,” she said.
The program has made a big impact on three-year-old Alejandro Garcia-Quezada, said his mother Lidia Quezada.
Alejandro used to not listen or pay attention at home but since taking part in the Early Childhood Special Education Services and Toy Lending Library, he is better behaved and listens, said Quezada.
She also added that the instruction sheet that comes along with the toys makes it easy to use them at home.
Those interested in signing up their children (ages birth to five) for the free services of Early Childhood Special Education can visit the Early Childhood Office at 820 E. 29th Street or call 402-412-2884.