El Verano Preschool Director Sonya Valiente put in a request months ago for a visit from the First Five Express and was ecstatic on Tuesday afternoon to welcome the program to her campus.

The First 5 Express is a bilingual children’s activity center that travels across California to inspire families to understand the importance of a child’s earliest years and the positive impact they can have on brain development through talking, reading, and singing.

The reading event was geared to preschoolers and Valiente invited the school’s transitional kindergarten and all kinder classes as well.

“Parents and children were so happy with this event,” said Valiente. “They were asking me if it’s coming back next year. This is my second year doing this event and I love it. I will do it every year because it brings children and parents together and it teaches them the importance of reading!”

Valiente said that families left with a positive feeling about reading as well as books, crowns, puppets and a bag encouraging all to read.

The promise of First 5 California is to invest in integrated programs and resources designed to benefit three target audiences: the child, the teacher and the parent. Current efforts focus on the areas of nutrition, early literacy and language development, and smoking cessation, among others.

The First 5 county commissions fund local service providers, health and learning programs, and resources tailored to meet the needs of families and community.