Children are Capable

“Children can do more than you think.” That was one of the first things I heard when I accepted the job of Noble Thrive by 5 Coordinator. 

I remembered back to when my son was young. What did I let him do on his own? Probably not much because I was afraid he would hurt himself, or test my patience. He’s 20 now, but I admit there are still things I am afraid to let him do on his own. I suppose I would have fallen under the category of “helicopter parent.” I’ve apologized to him for that. 

The Apple Tree Center, which provides Preschool, out of school camps, and before/after school care understands the concept of “children can do more than you think.” On November 24, 2021, they engaged the children in the kitchen, preparing for a Thanksgiving feast. They divided into groups, with one working on the mashed potatoes, one taking on the task of preparing the pumpkin pie dessert, yet another setting the table, and a group making the stuffing. There were even more groups, as it takes a lot of hands to make a Thanksgiving mealT

Everyone from preschoolers (the youngest being age 3) to upper elementary students got involved. They had a wonderful time mixing, scraping bowls, adding ingredients, and yes, sampling a little of the food along the way. They were having fun, but best of all, they were learning and building confidence in themselves. They can do the work…under the careful guidance of Miss Debbie and other adults, of course. 

It’s not just preparing a meal that The Apple Tree Center lets the children do. They also sweep floors, clean up after themselves, and put toys away. Sometimes, it’s disappointing for parents when the children are happy to do that work at the center, but refuse to do it at home! 

I wish I knew then what I know now. If I could have a do-over of raising my son, I would let him try so many more things earlier in his life. I can hope that he will learn from my mistakes and allow his own children the chance to try thing new things, even if he doesn’t think they can do it. Children know when they are ready!

Here’s a video from our partners The Dekko Foundation about how children CAN be self-sufficient. Let us know what you think, and how you allow your children to explore at home.  — Jenna Anderson, Noble Thrive by 5 Coordinator

Children Need Meaningful Connections to Thrive

We believe every child can thrive by 5…in fact, it’s in our name! But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a pretty incredible seven-year-old to tell you how to make it happen.

One of the things Molly said really resonated with us…

Kids are hard-wired to seek out meaningful connections.

The Developmental Assets® Framework created by the Search Institute has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed. Many of them focus specifically on supportive relationships. The Search Institute believes children need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.

  • Family support—Family life provides high levels of love and support.
  • Positive family communication—Young person and their parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek parent(s) advice and counsel.
  • Other adult relationships—Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
  • Caring neighborhood—Young person experiences caring neighbors.
  • Caring school climate—School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
  • Parent involvement in schooling—Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.

According to the Search Institute, those developmental relationships need to do five things:

  1. Express Care
  2. Challenge Growth
  3. Provide Support
  4. Share Power
  5. Expand Possibilities

These five things aren’t hard to do…and in fact are often done every day without even thinking of it. Simply listening to your child – putting down your device and listening when you are together – can show you care. To challenge growth, let your kids try new things. They can do more than you think they can! They can help you with dishes, fold laundry, join in cooking or baking, and will love every minute of it. Support them by giving them a hand if they try to do too much and standing up for them when it’s needed. Share your power by working with children to solve problems and let them have a say in decisions that affect them. Simply by introducing them to new people and experiences, you can expand their possibilities.

You’re there for your children, and Noble Thrive by 5 is here for you. We can connect you with local resources to give your family a bright future. Visit us online at

Libraries Offer Free Early Childhood Education

Posters of trees with plastic apples attached
Felt apple pie baking activity

Our local libraries have a lot to offer families with young children, as well as child care providers. Among the benefits are free Early Childhood Education tools. 

Preschool Storytimes offered throughout the week bring parents in with their children to listen to stories, sing songs, and get their hands on activities that help with development and learning. These events are offered Fridays at 11:00 a.m. at the Ligonier Public Library, Mondays at 10:00 a.m. at the Limberlost Branch of the Kendallville Public Library and Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. at the Kendallville Public Library. The Noble County Public Library, with branches in Albion, Avilla, and Cromwell, offers storytime weekly in Albion on Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. In Avilla, storytime is on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. and in Cromwell the sessions are on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to these scheduled events, libraries can also offer activities in local child care centers, as staff time allows. 

Many libraries offer play areas for children, and the Kendallville Public Library is no exception. 

A lot of thought goes into KPL’s play area, which features activities that involve large and small motor skills, role playing, creativity, and imagination. The bottom line…the children are learning (but having fun doing it). 

November’s theme at the Kendallville location will revolve around the new 171 gallon Salt Water Fish Tank that is currently being installed. The theme that was in Kendallville in October, Apple Orchard, moves to to the Limberlost Branch in Rome City in November, so children still have a chance to go apple picking!

KPL Youth Services Assistant Tracey Walton (a former YMCA Preschool Teacher) says she starts with a theme and then challenges herself to find activities that lead to learning.

“Children can take a basket and simulate the activity of picking apples from the trees on our wall,” she said in October. “This activity can be fun by itself or be expanded by reattaching the apples to the velcro circles. This can be a challenge for the younger children but it is amazing to see them troubleshoot as to why it didn’t stick  — it may not match up with the velcro dots on the wall. If they choose, they can bring their apples to market, make an apple pie, sell their pies…lots of role playing in this activity.”

Along with the main theme, Tracey said she usually puts out blocks to build with (enhances motor skills), or magna tiles (motor skills plus visual stimulation when used on the light table). 

“Cute play areas draw attention, but it is the activities that keep them engaged,” said Tracey.

The collections at libraries are filled with enriching books and activities for your children! From STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Kits to Launchpads to Board Books perfect for infants and toddlers, the libraries are dedicated to offering the community what it wants and needs. Is something missing? Just ask about it at your local branch! The great thing about the library systems in Noble County is that they are all part of Evergreen Indiana. This consortium of over 180 libraries in Indiana works together to loan parts of their collection to other libraries. Not everything can be delivered to your home library, but most items can. Plus, your library card can be used when you visit those libraries in person. For a complete list of Evergreen Indiana Libraries, visit this link.

For more information on what your local library offers, here are the people you can contact at each library system:

  • Kendallville Public Library (Kendallville and Rome City): Mary Graber at
  • Ligonier Public Library: Angie Scott at
  • Noble County Public Library (Albion, Avilla, and Cromwell): Kelly Parks at