Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) President Antonio Pérez read the children’s books “Frog on a Log” and “Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa” to a captive audience of two-to-five year olds during a visit to BMCC’s Early Childhood Center April 6.
Around 20 youngsters sat on the floor in a semi-circle around the President.
“Which story do you want me to read first?” he asked, and the children shouted that they wanted to hear about Llama Llama’s first overnight stay with this grandparents, the story by author Anna Dewdney.
Pérez schedules a visit to read to the children at the Center each spring semester. He is also known to drop in on any given day to say “Hello,” said Early Childhood Center Lead Teacher Glenda Torres. “Some of the older children know who he is, “ said Torres.
In past years, the President has read other books such as “Lola Reads to Lola,” by Anna McQuin and “Olga the Brolga,” by Rod Clement.
When the President got to a page in “Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa” where Llama tries some of Gram’s food and likes it, one of the children shouted, “My Grandma makes really good oatmeal and tomatoes!,” to which the rest of the class responded in laughter.
The President continued to engage with the children by reading “Frog on a Log”, a rhyming story written by Kes Gray and Jim Feld.
The story tells readers and listeners that cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, and frogs sit on logs.
“What about puffins?,” asked the president as the young listeners laughed. “Puffins sit on muffins.”
After story time, Pérez asked each of the children their name. Some were shy and spoke softly, while others shared not only their first but also middle and last names.
When he was finished, he asked which story the children liked the most and the majority agreed they had enjoyed the story of Llama and his overnight visit best.
“Llama is a happy story isn’t it?,” asked the President. And the children agreed with a resounding “yes!”
Currently, the BMCC Early Childhood Center serves the children of BMCC students, around 120 families. The Center’s objective is to create critical thinking in young children. This is done by forming healthy attachment to adults, developing a positive self-image, development of the 'whole child' and supporting the idea of continuous growth through an enriched curriculum.
BMCC’s Early Childhood Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for the Center’s daytime program and from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. for the evening program. The Center is open on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.