Librarians from the northwest corner of the state recently gathered at Gunn Memorial Junior Library in Washington for a firsthand experience with an early childhood digital learning solution called the Early Literacy Station.

Manufactured by AWE, the Early Literacy Station is a touch screen computer designed specifically for children 2 through 8, featuring more than 70 educational software programs spanning seven curricular areas.

"We were glad to help librarians from other Connecticut towns learn about these digital learning tools," said Jean Chapin, the library's executive director, "which are much easier to maintain for users at this level than traditional computers."

"Many local parents have discovered how much fun their children have with our AWE computers, and we welcome children from neighboring towns to come try them, too," she said.

The station does not require an Internet connection, so it is a safe and secure educational computer solution for children in the library.

The colorful keyboard and engaging graphics entice young patrons to try the machines.

According to library officials, children are frequently found working at the stations in pairs, which fosters collaborative and interactive learning opportunities.

Parents and caregivers also enjoy sitting with very young children as they begin to develop early computer skills through experimental play.

The Gunn Junior Library has three Early Literacy Stations, all purchased with funds from a donor.

Subjects include reading, math, drawing, geography, science, music and typing.

Many of the programs are available in bilingual Spanish and bilingual French, as well as in English.

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