The Livingston Park Tot Lot has been established as a place for parents and children to enjoy recreation, but now it also will include an education component for those who are interested.
Dupé Aleru of Tutors for Tots said that support came quickly for her idea to host the First Annual Mommy & Me Read Aloud classes in the small park this summer. Aleru started the small business after being laid off from the Long Beach Unified School District about a year ago. She worked at Lincoln Elementary and then was transferred to Lowell Elementary before being let go.
“The parents at Lowell were very supportive,” she said. “They loved me and were sad I got let go prematurely.”
With contacts in the community, Aleru said she was able to get some tutoring gigs to get here business off the ground. She specializes in helping children ages 3 to 12.
“That’s the foundation,” she said. “That’s where kids might get left behind. So I wanted to fill in those gaps before they get to middle and high school.”
Before going full-tilt with her business in Long Beach, Aleru said she spent some time in Beverly Hills that helped craft her summer program.
“You notice trending things there,” she said. “There were a lot of mommy and me classes — like yoga or dance or some other kind of after school enrichment. Here’s all these mothers, at least 20 of them with strollers, working out with their kids (at a mommy and me bootcamp).
“I know a lot of parents at the Livingston Park Tot Lot, so I thought, ‘Let me try this concept with reading.’”
She said that the primary emphasis of the once-weekly classes would be to teach through reading to help younger children prepare for moving forward past kindergarten.
“I’m going to have a space where kids can sit down, and each week there will be a different book,” she said. “There will be a short read with students and then a question and understanding portion. It will help with awareness, reading and their fluency.”
Beyond the reading, Aleru said she would like to incorporate an interactive game or activity afterwards, which would be linked to the book of that week.
Aleru published her own book, “Animals In Action, A-Z,” which she presented during the first class. She said she has a whole collection in mind to fill about two months worth of classes.
“I want to build a sense of community, especially with the kids in our area of Long Beach,” she said. “It’s just an extra fun activity. It’s low cost and something where (parents) can relax while I take charge for 30 minutes.”
Aleru added that it was key for that parent or guardian to be there during the learning process.
“A lot of students need that parent support,” she said. “It’s a partnership. As a teacher, we can’t do it by ourselves.”
The First Annual Mommy & Me Read Aloud classes will take place from 11 to 11:30 a.m. each Tuesday between now and Aug. 30 at the Livingston Park Tot Lot.
Classes cost $5 per student. For more information, visit www.TutorsForTots.com.