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Big Ideas For Little Learners

Big Ideas for Little Learners (BILL) is a family literacy program for children ages 3-8 and their caregivers to introduce and explore reading fundamentals through stories, games, and hands-on activities.

The program was developed and produced in partnership between the National Liberty Museum (NLM) and the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) at the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Philadelphia, with support from the William Penn Foundation. The materials included here contain activity plans, resources, and guidance for educators to implement the program in a formal early childhood education classroom or for caregivers to lead activities with their own Little Learners at home.

the Program

The program has three core components: a read-aloud of a thematic story, activity stations, and at-home activities. Thematic stories promote prosocial learning and introduce “Big Ideas” — respect, responsibility, perseverance, empathy, integrity, and courage — to young children. Modular activities for each theme extend learning and can be introduced in the classroom setting or packaged for at-home use. The “Big Ideas” introduced in the program are personified by Lila Liberty, a child superhero with special tools that she uses as a hero of liberty.

The components are:

Respectacles (respect)
Giving Gloves (responsibility)
Energy Boosting Boots (perseverance)
Power Pencil (integrity)
Courage Cape (courage)
Energy Boosting Boots (perseverance)

Browse the curriculum and download the full Educator Guidebook here!

If you would like printed materials and the Educator Guidebook mailed to you, you can request a copy by emailing

The Sessions

Session 1: Respect
Little Learners will explore the idea of respect and learn how to be kind to and accept others for who they are. Activities are centered around the book Red: A Crayon’s Story and encourage learners to celebrate what makes each of us unique. Little Learners will create their own Respectacles to remind them to see and treat others with respect.
Session 2: Responsibility
Focusing on the Big Idea of responsibility, Little Learners will read What If Everybody Did That? and explore what can happen if people do not take responsibility for their actions. They will practice letter sounds by participating in a “letter” bug clean-up and create their own Giving Gloves to identify ways they can be responsible in their own lives.
Session 3: Perseverance
In this session, Little Learners will read about Izzy Gizmo, a kid engineer who creates new inventions that improve the world around her. Like Izzy shows in the book, they will identify the ways they can keep trying, even when something is hard, by creating their own version of Lila’s Energy Boosting Boots. Little Learners will also assemble their “Reading Toolbox” by reading high frequency words and identifying words they need to keep practicing.
Session 4: Empathy
Little Learners will be introduced to Lila’s Sense-oscope and see how she uses it to practice empathy and understand the thoughts and feelings of others. They will read Last Stop on Market Street and create their own “bus story” that encourages Little Learners to identify and appreciate the beauty in things that other people might not find beautiful, understanding that everyone has a different perspective.
Session 5: Integrity
Little Learners will learn about integrity by discovering Lila Liberty’s Power Pencil that allows her to put her words into action and reading The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade. Then, they will practice their “size” vocabulary by organizing objects around the room and practice their rhyming skills by matching lock and IntegriKey word cards.
Session 6: Courage
In this session, Little Learners will read After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again and learn all about courage from one of the classic nursery rhyme characters. To further explore the book, Little Learners will identify the key parts of the story and create their own Humpty Dumpty. Then, they will make their very own Courage Cape to remind them of ways to be courageous in their own lives.
Session 7: Community
Complete the program by putting all six Big Ideas into action in your own community! Little Learners will read Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, a story about a young girl who notices an issue in her neighborhood and takes action to make real change. They will learn about cause and effect and explore their own neighborhood to identify ways they can have an impact themselves. Taking inspiration from Lila Liberty, Little Learners will create their own community superheroes and think about the ways they can show respect, responsibility, perseverance, empathy, integrity, and courage.

Thu ‒ Mon: 10am ‒ 05pm

Adults: $12 Seniors (65+): $10 Students (with valid ID): $8 Youth (ages 6–17): $6 Children (under 5): No Charge Museum Members: Free

321 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19106 (215) 925-2800