Pre-K Block Fest held inside Statehouse

Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 19:18:08-05

It was a block party inside the Statehouse on Wednesday as the Twiga Foundation hosted Block Fest.

Pre-K advocates, kids, and parents were on the Capitol's first floor rotunda to build block structures and also build support for early learning programs. 

The event is designed to teach children and their parents how to engage in block-play together. Organizers hope the day's activities also drum up legislative support for early learning and play-based education in Idaho.

Pre-K funding bills have been rejected by state lawmakers in years past. 

"It's going to make [legislators] smile," Patricia Kempthorne, Twiga founder, said "They're going to walk by and see the energy, just build a little bit more awareness."

Beth Oppenheimer is the executive director for the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC). Oppenheimer says state-funded early learning programs would help close the learning gap between children whose parents can afford to send them to a Pre-K program, and the ones with parents who can't. 

"We have kids that are entering kindergarten that have never held a book," Oppenheimer said. "We have kids that are entering kindergarten that have never held a crayon. So it's really important to have those opportunities for children."

Idaho is one of only six states to not provide funding to early learning education.