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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Baby Time 2.16.15

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Greetings!

Last Monday was the last Baby Time scheduled, and because of a power outage, the library was closed. I missed seeing everyone and hope that the unexpected closure did not cause any major inconveniences. I crossed my fingers that most families decided to stay in their warm homes with their babies that morning instead of brave the cold to head to the library. At the bottom of this post you will be able to see a slideshow created from photos taken during the last Baby Time.

New flyers will be out soon at the library advertising children’s programs for March, April, and May. Miss JoAnna and I try to provide thoughtful programs that meet our community’s needs.  We hope that you find something that works for your family so we may continue to see you at the library.

We have observed that play time after story times is always a favorite time for the children, and as educators, we understand that play is essential for young children to learn:

Investigation: An Open Play Time

Thursdays, April 2 – 30, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, for all children

We will provide a variety of activities designed to invite your little ones to explore, investigate, and manipulate in order to better understand the world around them. This drop-in event may include messy elements so please dress ready to discover and play!

In January the library hosted a Baby Yoga class that had a guest presenter. The program was for babies birth – 12 months. I observed how much the mothers valued this program and wanted to replicate something similar:

Baby & Me

Wednesdays, April 1 – 22, 1 pm, for babies 1-12 months plus a caregiver

Bring your baby for a relaxing and informative class that focuses on songs and massage to bring FUN and JOY into your little one’s day! Bring a blanket or yoga mat and your baby’s favorite toy.

Miss JoAnna and I believe in the importance of outdoor play. Our library is making efforts to bring children closer to nature by having a fish tank, inviting children to take care of the library’s indoor plants, and adding bird feeders outside the children’s resource area in the library. With May comes warmer weather, and we want the children to be able to play outdoors. We value what we do in the library during story time, so we decided to take our story time outdoors:

Stories in the Park

Mondays, May 4 – 18, 10:30 am, for birth – 3 years

Join Miss KT and Miss JoAnna at Hereford Park for a fun-filled outdoor story time. We will leave the library at 10:10 am if you are interested in walking to the park with us. After a mixture of stories, songs, rhymes, finger plays, and movement activities, enjoy play time at the park! Please feel free to bring picnic snacks or lunch. We will bring blankets! If the weather does not permit outdoor play, story time will be held at the library. Siblings are welcome.

The safety of the children in our community is very important. The preschool age is the perfect age to teach children about different safety topics and Miss JoAnna will be utilizing the community’s resources to educate preschoolers and their families.

Preschool Story Time: All About Safety!

Thursdays, May 7 – 28, 11:15 am, for 3 – 6 year olds

Join Miss JoAnna for a special preschool story time series featuring guest presenters from the community! This month we will be looking at various safety topics through stories, songs, rhymes, games, and art explorations. Siblings are welcome.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

 

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Baby Time 2.9.15

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Greetings!

I am happy to share another slideshow from our Baby Time play explorations. A highlight for me during Baby Time was seeing the children interact with the ground corn cob. I have two young children. When I take my boys to different places, I am always looking for ideas that I can incorporate into my programming at the library.  Last December, I took my then 3-year-old and 7-month-old to the Natural History Museum, and both of my boys loved playing in a fossil sensory table that was filled with a new, interesting material. I asked the staff and learned that the material was ground corn cob. I knew that I would have to share this at the library with the children.

I like ground corn cob because it has a different feel from sand or dirt. Margaret repeatedly felt the cob with her hands to try and understand it. I also like that the material is natural and safe if young children accidentally swallow it. Last, I like that the material utilizes a part of a food that is not consumed by people or animals. The feed store told me that the ground corn cob is usually sold as litter for animals.

I am trying to make an effort to not use food for play experiences. I have learned that it can be confusing to children to see food in a play environment because it sends mixed messages. Children are told to eat the food in one situation and not eat it in another. In addition, it is wasteful to use food in a play experience because food is best eaten. In the past, I didn’t understand this. I had children paint with vegetables to see texture and  play with whip cream to explore their sense of touch and build with marshmallows to encourage math and creativity. I no longer do that. I don’t care much for the taste of marshmallows or whip cream, but I do love vegetables and think it is a waste for them to be covered in paint instead of making a child’s body stronger when sea shells, sticks,  rocks, carpet squares, and other easily found items can teach texture just as well. I also understand how a hungry child may look at a piece of desirable food being used to build with instead of consumed. As I mentioned earlier, I am always looking for good ideas to incorporate in my programming. Sometimes, learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning what to do. I watched a person at a summer event  teach my child and other children to drop Kit-Kat bars, Hershey kisses, and other chocolates into a tub of water to demonstrate sinking and floating. I watched eager tiny hands try to grab the candy to eat it and quickly get reprimanded. I felt my own hungry stomach rumble and saliva pool in my mouth and thought, “What a waste.”

-Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby Time 2.5.15

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Greetings!

It has been almost a week since last Baby Time. The days have flown by for me, and I want to make sure to share the slideshow photos from last week before tomorrow’s Baby Time.

The slideshow will reveal that the children loved scooping, eating, and sticking materials into the snow. The parents playfully painted the snow with the children. Gemma loved moving her fingers around in the water. The sound of the beads, shiny color, weight, and texture continued to delight the children, especially Mia who piled them on top of herself like a blanket. The balls, car, and tent entertained the children, too. With each wiggle, sitting on a container filled with balls was a fun sensory experience for Nate. The balls were also fun to throw or pass. Last, the triangle mirror provided curiosities for young Perry. Enjoy the photos, and I look forward to tomorrow’s Baby Time and new play experiences.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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