CSM President Serves as Celebrity Reader to Preschoolers

Preschool students at the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center at the College of Southern Maryland gather around Celebrity Reader CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy on Sept. 18.

Dr. Maureen Murphy Selects Book About How People are Different, How They are the Same

College of Southern Maryland (CSM) President Dr. Maureen Murphy started her week surrounded by some of the youngest students at the college’s La Plata Campus — three classes of preschoolers at the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center (CLC) at CSM.
Murphy took a turn as a celebrity reader at the center on the morning of Sept. 18, reading “Whoever You Are,” written by Australian author Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub.

Once the children were settled, sitting on the floor in front of an easy chair, Murphy leaned forward and spoke quietly to her listeners: “Hi, everybody! Does everybody here like books?”

The students responded by enthusiastically sharing their names with the college’s new president, along with other miscellaneous information from their lives, most remembering to raise their hands beforehand. “It’s good to meet you all,” Murphy said.

Then Murphy shared the book she’d selected, Fox’s book about ways people are different (skin, names, school, lands, words) and ways they are the same (smiles, laughs, joys, love, pain). “Inside, their hearts are just like yours,” Murphy read.

At the end of the story, Murphy held up a second book, Richard Scarry’s “What Do People Do All Day?” a book by an author she said she remembers her own children enjoying. After she and the students discussed the cover illustrations, she passed the book on to CLC Director Shirley Allen as a donation to the center’s library.

The children expressed appreciation to Murphy for her gift and her visit with a chorus of “Thank you!” and multiple hugs.
Past Celebrity Readers at the CLC have included regional business leaders, politicians, writers and other community leaders.

The popular program is more than just fun, Allen said. “The Celebrity Reader program offers an additional enticement to interact with books,” she said. “The program also takes the children beyond the classroom/teacher experiences by connecting them to the diverse backgrounds of the readers, showing them that reading is fundamental to all people. Additionally, it is a fun experience and the children learn to associate books with pleasure.”

The St. Charles Children’s Learning Center at CSM has been in operation for more than 10 years and is accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education. The center provides CSM students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, quality, child-centered care for more than a 100 students from ages 8 weeks to 12 years old.

The center has 10,000 square feet of learning space, including nine child-centered classrooms, a gymnasium and a prep kitchen. In addition, the center has its own private landscaped playground and access to the campus grounds.

To view Murphy’s visit to the CLC, visit https://youtu.be/9NK_46I3JvA. For a playlist of Celebrity Reader selections, visit http://bit.ly/1TYwEhF. For information on the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center at CSM, visit http://clc.csmd.edu.