More than an opportunity to learn, the kindergarten readiness program, The Edge, at the Newark Public Library also offers each child one-on-one time with a caregiver. Melissa Kowaleski helps her son, Jadon with a craft project.

Flapping their arms like lady bug wings and singing a buggy song, three to five year olds are getting an edge on kindergarten readiness at the Newark Public Library.

Stacey Wicksall, education outreach librarian and New York state certified teacher-librarian, is creating programs that correlate to what is going on in the schools.

“Instead of working like two separate entities, I like to link the public library and school system, teaming them as a partnership,” she said.

To accomplish that, Wicksall came up with The Edge, an eight-week program for pre-school kids, based on the New York state kindergarten curriculum.

Through songs, motion, games and stories, children are learning shapes, letters, sounds, colors, numbers and counting.

“There are a lot of hands-on activities, visuals and things Camryn really gets into,” said Nick Tolleson, of Newark, who has been participating with his daughter in the program. “It’s a good way to get her into reading.”

As kids and caregivers scrambled to the floor where the craft nook is located, Wicksall had them counting the number of dots on dice, then gluing that many spots onto their bugs. The craft, she said, plays a two-fold purpose, allowing children to learn when they first create it, and again when they talk about the craft at home, reinforcing the concept that was taught.

Besides the learning aspect, parents see other benefits.

“I think its good for my daughter to have the interaction with other children,” said Sarah Fantauzzi, of Newark.

Tracy Miller concurs.

“My daughter’s confidence level and her ability to share what she knows has improved,” she said.

By familiarizing children with the library and staff faces, Wicksall hopes the program will keep parents and children returning.

“I hope it will lead to parents seeing what is offered,” said Wicksall. “We offer great programs that can boost your success in life.”