Pop-Up Storytime at the Edgerton Community Garden

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Hi everyone!

This morning I hosted a pop-up story time at the Edgerton Community Garden. Six families joined me for a morning of stories, songs, beautiful weather, gardening, and exciting parachute play. Even though it was a very hot morning, everyone enjoyed combining two of my favorite things (books and the outdoors) in an outdoor community setting!

We started by welcoming everyone to the garden by greeting each person with a welcome chant:

 

Hi Miss JoAnna (or insert name)!

We’re so glad you came today, came today, came today!

We’re so glad you came today, to the garden to play!

 

After our welcome chant, we practiced a few signs in sign language (“more” “together” “happy” and “friends”) while singing The More We Get Together. Some of the signs were familiar to the majority of children, such as “more”, while others were not. Some of the older children remembered signing this song in preschool!

Next, we shared Candace Fleming’s Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! Each time the rabbits nibbled in Mr. McGreely’s garden, the children would help me chant “Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” while Parker acted out the action with a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal. We also made predictions during the story by guessing whether or not the rabbits would be able to overcome Mr. McGreely’s obstacles.

After the story, it was time to stretch! We sang a modified version of the “Getting Dressed” song to sing about some of the things we’d need to go gardening, such as gloves, hats, shovels, and waterhoses. Oliver, Margaret, and Amelia Jane enjoyed pretending to put on their gardening gloves the most.

The last story we read today was Betty Ann Schwartz’s pop-up ribbon book What Makes a Rainbow? We practiced identifying the different colors of the rainbow as each ribbon joined the rainbow. Andrew told us that he liked green the best, and Amelia Jane told us at the end that “Sunshine!” was needed to complete the rainbow.

Continuing our experience with colors and rainbows, the entire group enjoyed using the big rainbow parachute! We practiced making big and small waves with it, used our strong muscles to pop foam balls off the parachute, and best of all, shrieked in delight when we used the balls and parachute to toss the balls to create fireworks! At the end, the children enjoyed running underneath the parachute while the adults waved it over their heads.

To end story time today, we sange “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with star props and collaboratively watered our community garden plot. We looked at some of the vegetables growing in our plot (cucumber, tomoatoes, and beans) and made sure to water them so they could grow bigger! Some of the younger children, such as Margaret and Amelia Jane, asked the older kids to water their hands and enjoyed splashing in the water hose while the older kids watered the plants.

Today was such a lovely day. I thouroughly enjoyed spending time outdoors sharing my love of reading and gardening. Thank you so much to everyone who came today. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next Pop-Up Storytime at the Edgerton Community Garden!

 

Enjoy some of the pictures from today’s  story time! A big thank you to my husband, Ryan, for capturing such fun moments!

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Read and Play Clinic: Curious George

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Hi everyone!

A few week’s ago I kicked off the first of my monthly Read and Play Clinics. The purpose of these events is to offer families a Saturday event that combines early literacy skill development (such as reading along with a text, listening to stories with repetition, rhyme, or other devices, engaging / playing with a variety of activities, cutting with scissors, coloring, etc.) with a high-interest topic. After the story time portion of the program, the families are offered a variety of activities to engage with including at least one that results in a take-away product to continue the experience at home.

In June, we celebrated one of my favorite literary characters: the mischievous Curious George! We read three Curious George stories, jumped like monkeys on the bed, and learned to sing and signThe More We Get Together”. Afterward, we made our own tin-foil boat with Miss Kristi and counted how many beads each boat would hold without sinking. We also used small construction trucks in rubber mulch like George did in one of our stories. The children practiced their fine motor skill development by creating food (and other creations) with play doh like Chef Pisgetti, cutting out Curious George finger-puppets, and colored a picture of Curious George flying away with balloons.

At the end of the experience, each child received a certificate from the Read and Play clinic as well as other give-aways. Looking back at the slideshow below reminded me of how much fun we had that day and how much I am looking forward to July’s Read and Play Clinic this upcoming Saturday, July 19!

 

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Friends Group Brings Outback Ray to the Library

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Hi everyone!

This past week, the Friends of the Highland Square Branch Library brought Outback Ray to entertain and educate us! Whether it was the famous Spongebob snake or the soft chinchilia named Bindi, we all had a wonderful time! Outback Ray provided opportunities for each child to touch two animals: Spongebob and one of the other animals depending on turn-taking. Each child seemed to relish his/her personal time with the animal.

Please enjoy this week’s slideshow of pictures. I look forward to seeing each of you here next Tuesday at 11am for the famous magician, Rick Smith, Jr.

 

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Mind, Body, and Sole Performers

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Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather (when it isn’t raining) and finding time to read and move! The past two weeks, I have really enjoyed greeting so many of you at our Mind, Body, and Sole performances. Last week we hosted Dr. U R Awesome and watched as he put almost everyone in giant bubbles! This week, Sogbety Diomande joined us for some dancing and drumming. I loved watching each of you dance and clap along.

Please enjoy the following pictures of the performances. I look forward to seeing everyone next week at 11am for SciMobile!

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Until next time,

JoAnna

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Baby and Me 6.17.15

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Hello,

I hosted Baby and Me last Wednesday at the Highland Square Branch Library. The program is designed to provide a time for caregivers to bond with their babies and socialize with other parents/caregivers who also have babies 0-12 months old. I like to teach the adults some simple activities they can do with their children to build literacy skills and stimulate brain activity. I believe children learn best by following their interest. We can discover their interests by exposing them to all sorts of materials that engage the different senses. I like to use materials the are found around the house or non-typical toys to send the message that educating your child isn’t about accumulating stuff, or toys, but instead is about supporting experiences.

Aloe Plant: When you run your hand along it, the texture is spiky and may stimulate curiosity. Plants are everywhere, and it is so easy to just let your baby practice grasping by letting him grab on to a wet leaf after a rain, touch rough bark on a tree trunk, lay down on soft grass with no blanket, or smell flowers while outside.

Aluminum Foil: It plays with light, makes noise, and can change shape easily.

Parachute: Don’t have a parachute? Use instead a large sheet or blanket and let your child experience something lowering and raising above his head and feel the breeze as a result of the movement.

Mirror: Let your baby look at himself or herself in a mirror to help understand body parts and learn facial expressions.

Lavender Scented Cloth: Expose your child to familiar and unfamiliar smells to comfort or spark curiosity.

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Pinwheels: Teach about wind and cause and effect while adding a little magic and mystery.

Bells and Egg Shakers: They fit easily in small hands and are great first instruments. Make your own egg shaker with old plastic eggs from Easter and beads or other found noise makers around your house.

Books: Let your child touch them and chew on them and experience them. Children are never too young to be read to. Also, follow their lead. Never force them to sit in your lap if they are not in the mood to read. Instead, read when they are willing. Read bits of books. Leave books close to the ground so they can crawl over books and find them while wondering. Let books be a part of their world.

Paper Towel Tubes and Screws: Tubes change sound when spoken into. They have holes and encourage children to experiment with size. What fits in a tube? They are magical because they have the “now you see it” and “now you don’t” affect. Screws are similar in shape to paper towel tubes, but contrast in size and texture.

 

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Shredded Paper: Let children make messes. Imagine what it feels like for a baby to sit in a pool of paper. What happens when you toss the paper into the air? It invites questions.

 

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Please enjoy a slideshow made from some photos I took while the children and moms played during Baby and Me. I look forward to the next Baby and Me this Wednesday, at 1 pm. Call 330-376-2927 if you have any questions.

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Gifts from the Garden Club: a NatureConnect update

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The Highland Square Branch Library Friends Group recently was awarded a $500 project grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division to build up the habitat by the bird feeder in a way that would invite more bird species for children to observe. The bird feeder was given to the library last year by the Highland Square Garden Club. The bird feeder was installed outside the children’s resource area window as an invitation for children to observe and learn more about nature. Signs were posted on the window that identified different local birds to build vocabulary and act as a teaching tool for caregivers to use with their young children or for school-age children to read themselves. A monthly chart was provided for children to sticker the birds they saw outside the feeder to track the activity.

After observing the feeder and looking at the tracking calendar, I noticed that not many birds visited the feeder. Jamey Emmert from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division came out to the library to give her input. She told us that there was perhaps not enough vegetation around the feeder for the birds to feel safe from predators while feeding. She also hypothesized that the frequent foot traffic on the sidewalk near the feeder and the glare from street traffic could also scare the birds away.

After her visit, Lamar, a school-age boy and library regular, helped me hang up pieces of yarn in the window to eliminate some of the glare and prevent birds from flying into the window, which was another concern brought up by Ms. Emmert. Lamar found me a week or so later and reported that more birds now visited the feeder. He was right. The feeder now regularly has fearless sparrows feeding from it; the same birds that can be seen trying to eat food scraps outside the cafeteria at the Akron Zoo. I was happy that the sparrows came because they are worth observing, but I was still disappointed that we didn’t have any other species of birds. In collaboration with the Friends Group, I applied for the ODNR grant and was excited to have it awarded to the Friends Group to work towards our goal of creating a richer habitat that would invite more species of birds.

The Highland Square Garden Club knew about our goal for the feeder and generously donated a serviceberry tree to the space. It was just recently planted. This tree will provide food for birds and also as it grows will provide a safe place for birds to make a home or hide in when they are at the feeder and feel threatened. With the project grant funds, soon to come will be new soil around the feeder, Ohio native plants, and hopefully another tree on the other side of the feeder.

We will continue to observe the space around the feeder and ask that our patrons do too as we watch the landscape change and we see the results of our continued efforts.

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Children were invited to draw pictures of what they want to see when they look out the window at the bird feeder to guide us in our selection process as we decided what plants to purchase with the grant. Their drawings are currently on display in the children’s resource area near the feeder.

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I am so appreciative of the Garden Club’s support, and I hope that a flock of birds and people fly to the library to enjoy the club’s gifts.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby and Me 6.3.15

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Hello,

Baby and Me is in session for June 2015. I had the pleasure of meeting three new babies at the first Baby and Me class. The babies were all close in age and had fun playing together. This series I shared new songs and items for the children to explore, and I chose to incorporate calming lavender oil on cloths and  fragrant wood tree cookies to engage the babies’ sense of smell. After we sang Row, Row, Row Your Boat, I brought out a plastic pool filled with shredded paper. Three babies fit nicely inside and stayed there happily for a while. I took photos during some of the portions of the program and have them included in a slideshow for the mothers to see and share with friends and family, and also for others to view to see what is happening at the library. Enjoy!

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I look forward to next Wednesday’s Baby and Me gathering.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Stories at the Park

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Hello,

In May my colleague and I were lucky to present for three Monday mornings in a row a “Stories at the Park” story time series at the local park. The series embodied what JoAnna and I value most in early childhood education: family, stories, play, the outdoors, and exercise. It was delightful. We were lucky to have our participants provide us with great attendance and encouragement to repeat this series in the Fall. We plan to do so. One of our patrons, Svetla Morrison, mother of Freya and a professional photographer, went so far as to take pictures of the event (with participants’ permission) and share them with me to share with you.

Here is her letter to me:

Hi KT,

Here are some pictures I took of what you and Joanna did at the Hereford Park for our little ones.
I am (and believe is everyone else who heard about this) so happy that you decided to take the story time outside. Story time and fun out in fresh air – there is no better thing for our kids. Brilliant idea!
As I mentioned to you yesterday, feel free to use these for anything that might benefit the library and will show how much extra work you ladies put to enrich our kids weekly activities and learning through fun.
We are so happy that the voting a couple of weeks ago went in the library’s favor.
My only request is, if any of the pics will be shared on facebook (and elsewhere online) to please give credits and tag my professional page – Svetla Morrison photography.
Thank you!

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby and Me – April 22 recap

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Hello,

I took a phone call today while working the circulation desk, and it was another librarian on the other end from another city who had some questions about programming for babies. She contacted me because of this blog. I told her and will share that it was very motivating to know that she had read the blog. I had taken pictures at the last Baby and Me, and I so wanted to share them, but I had not yet done so. As soon as I finished helping patrons at the circulation desk, I went on my computer and started writing this blog and creating the slideshow.I am not a professional photographer in the least; however, when your subjects are babies and smiling parents, beautiful photos are a natural result. My favorites are the pictures of the mothers and caregivers reading to the babies. It sends the clear message that children at the earliest age love having a parent read to them, if only for a few minutes at a time if that is what the child’s attention span requests. When time is frozen in a photo, it is clear that in that one second of those few minutes, a child and a mother are bonded by a book.

The next Baby and Me series starts the first Wednesday in June at 1 pm. I encourage caregivers with children ages 0 – 12 months to join us. It is such a warm and loving environment. A room full of babies and happy caregivers will fill your eyes with smiles and is always a high point of my day. I wish it to be a part of you and your baby’s day, too.

 

 

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby and Me – April

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Hello,

I recently started offering a new program series called Baby and Me. Baby and Me is for babies birth to 12 months old plus a caregiver. It is a relaxing and informative class that focuses on songs and massage to bring fun and joy into the baby’s (and parent’s) day.

This program developed after I observed Art Babes at the Akron Art Museum and Baby Yoga presented by Kristin Schon at the Highland Square Branch Library. I reflected that young children under 12 months old could easily lose the spotlight to their older toddler and preschool siblings in my former Baby Time program, so they needed a special program for children who are not yet walking. During Baby Yoga, I observed the calm environment that featured new parents meeting other parents and babies receiving close attention from their caregiver. I realized the importance of honoring the mother or caregiver who loves and cares for her baby each day. I liked the use of play with different materials interwoven in Miss Amanda’s Art Babes program alongside songs and movement activities instead of saving them all for a playtime at the end. I’m more easily able to talk about the materials with the caregivers, and why I believe they are valuable to the children.

If you would like to learn more about Baby and Me, I encourage you to watch the attached slideshow and attend our next program schedule for this Wednesday, April 22.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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