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Childcare Resources explores emergent literacy with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

VERO BEACH – It was a day of reading and storytelling as early educators explored Emergent Literacy in Childcare Resources’ recent professional development workshop featuring Cynthia Raso and Meredith Osborne of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. Funded by Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee and hosted at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the seminar discussed how to build literacy by supporting pre-reading skills through classroom activities.

“We teach content that naturally elicits emergent literacy skills,” said Cynthia Raso, Director of the Center for Innovation in Early Learning, as she discussed how to connect reading with storytelling and real-world activities. “Think about storytelling going in two ways. Think about going to look at an object and telling an imaginative story, but also think about reading a book then going to visit an object afterwards.”

A group of women sit in a circle in a museum
Cynthia Raso, of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, discusses storytelling with educators.

In the afternoon, workshop attendees had the opportunity to participate in emergent literacy classroom activities themselves. In addition to exploring the museum’s collections, teachers rotated through learning activities with museum staff and docents, discovering creative and visual expression, storytelling, and how to approach artwork with young children. Educators also received an exclusive look at Deborah Butterfield’s Untitled #2725.1, not currently on display at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

A group of women stand in front of a small sculpture of a horse.
Shanti Sanchez, of the Vero Beach Museum of Art, discusses Deborah Butterfield’s Untitled #2725.1 with early educators.

“Bringing local early childhood educators into the galleries and studios to experience the power of learning from works of art in a variety of ways was a delightful opportunity,” said Shanti Sanchez, Vero Beach Museum of Art School, Youth and Community Impact Programs Manager. “It is our hope that they will return to the museum as well as to encourage the young families they serve to visit, enjoy, and learn at the museum. Every work of art has a story to share!”

Registration for Childcare Resources’ next early educator workshop, February 1’s Conscious Discipline with Master Instructor Kim Hughes, is currently open at


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