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Caterpillar donates $21,000 to an educational workshop for local childcare providers

Caterpillar donated $21,000 to help fund a workshop teaching local child-care providers how to teach children the alphabet using a learning method called, zoo-phonics

Posted: Jan. 26, 2019 7:20 PM
Updated: Jan. 27, 2019 10:59 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Lafayette-based manufacturing company Caterpillar is investing in the kids of the community.

Local child-care providers spent Saturday morning learning a new method of teaching, thanks to a donation from Caterpillar.

Caterpillar donated $21,000 to help fund a workshop teaching local child-care providers how to teach children the alphabet using a learning method called, Zoo-phonics.

Della Johnson, an educational consultant who traveled from South Carolina to train the class said Zoo-phonics uses a different way of thinking about teaching the alphabet.

“What truly will help a child to be a good reader is if they are familiar with the sounds of the alphabet,” said Johnson.

Tammey Lindblom, program director with Right Steps Child Development Center in Lafayette saw the positive impact zoo-phonics had on young kids. She and the Right Step’s CEO applied for the grant a year ago.

“Caterpillar, after they went through the things they have to do, they were like, yes we want to fund this grant,” said Lindblom. “I think part of their reason besides the literacy piece is it was a collaborative grant so it really is including many childcare providers.”

Lindblom said there were 90 people in attendance from 26 different childcare services in and around Tippecanoe County. Each left with tools to help prepare children age four and under for a better life of learning.

“That is a lot of money, and they are using it to train all these teachers on Zoo-phonics is amazing to me,” said Johnson. “Daycares have fewer opportunities for these grants and funding than a lot of public schools so to hear that they got this amount of money to fund this type of program in their facility is amazing and I give high praise and kudos to Caterpillar.”

Lindblom said her facility has plans to follow up with each childcare provider who attended the training.

She said they will find out exactly how many children the program will serve this year.

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