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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Baby Time 1.26.15

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Greetings!

Baby Time was back in session after having a week off due to the holiday.

The book I shared at story time was Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. I like this text because the repetition helps young children learn new vocabulary. After reading the book, a parent could apply the same poetic structure to describe anything in the child’s environment as a word game. For example, while taking a walk the parent could say, “Red car, red car, what do you see? I see an oak tree standing by me. Oak tree, oak tree, what do you see? I see a …..” Or while playing in your child’s toy room you could say, “Fast car, fast car, what do you see? I see a lazy turtle looking at me…” The options are endless, and if the child is interested and ready, he/she could play the game with you instead of just listening.

We had new friends join us at Baby Time, babies Jack and Perry, along with each of their mothers. These children were new to Baby Time but regularly attended last January’s Baby Yoga series presented by Kristin Schon. It was fantastic and inspired new programming the Highland Square Branch Library will offer specifically for caregivers and their babies 0-12 months.

One of the songs that Kristin taught that I love and find myself singing and likely butchering goes something like this:

Hey dum diddley dee

Hey dum diddley  dee

Hey dum diddley

Hey dum diddley

I’ve got a wonderful mom.

Each time she taught this song I observed the mothers all make a similar noise when the line “mom” was sung. The noise expressed both surprise and elation. It was important and unexpected that the mothers heard aloud that they were doing a good job raising their child. As a parent of two young boys, I also made that same sound when I heard Kristin sing “wonderful mom.” I think it is necessary to recognize the important work that parents do each day, and I think that any parent that takes the time to bring her child to the library is pretty wonderful.

– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian

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Baby Time 1.12.15

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Greetings!

We experienced another chilly Monday morning to start off our week. During Baby Time, we all read together the story How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?  by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I chose this title because putting away toys and items is something the children experience at the end of each Baby Time when we clean-up together. I know some of the children enjoy cleaning. Last week, Margaret’s mother shared with me that her daughter has a toy broom that she likes to use at home. It was Margaret that sang the clean-up song during play time this week while she put balls into their container. I also chose to share this title because I wanted to introduce the families to the “How Do Dinosaurs” series of books by Yolen and Teague which includes my favorite, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

I invite you to view the slideshow from this week’s Baby Time play time. While documenting the children’s play, I observed that William and his older sister Gemma desired gross motor play. William picked up a ball and threw it. Then he chased it and grabbed the same or a new ball to repeat the process. He and Gemma would look for challenging places to walk, like the small ramp or the raised section of the sensory mats. William climbed on the chair by the paint and then quickly climbed back down to the ground.  Gemma climbed quickly through the tunnel, and when she had it all to herself, she rolled and turned her entire body to move the entire tunnel.

Nate was less interested in gross motor play and more interested in painting. His mom painted his feet, and he decided that he wanted to use the brushes to make marks on the paper. His mom cleaned him, and Nate played with other toys and then came back to the paint to do more.

Twins Gemma and Gianna, and Margaret seemed to float from one play area to the next. They interacted with the different toys and observed the other children play.

Charlie, the baby of the group today, did most of his exploring by using his hands to grasp and feel objects like the snow and the toys.

Next week is a holiday and the library is closed, so I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces at the next Baby Time on Monday, January 26, at 10:10 am.

– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian

 

 

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Toddler Story Time on January 8, 2015

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Hi everyone!

What an exciting start to the new year! The toddlers really enjoyed getting back into the story time routine after our open play time in December. We started with “A New Way to Say Hello” where we practiced blinking our eyes, stomping our feet, and playing our horns! The newest activity for story time this session is the nursery rhyme and song die! Each child took turns rolling the die, and then we all said the rhyme, sang the song, and danced! It was so much fun!

We all read the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. together. Each child had their own copy of the book to hold as I read the story aloud to the group. I will be ordering multiple copies of the same book each week so we can all practice reading together! The best part of story time for everyone was the bubbles! We all tried to catch bubbles on our fingers and really enjoyed looking at the bubbles that landed in everyone’s hair!

Enjoy this week’s slide show!

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Until next week,

Miss JoAnna

Reminder: We are going to be getting messy on Thursday in play time, so please dress in clothes that can get messy! :-)

 

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Baby Time 1.5.15

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Greetings!

I hope all our families enjoyed celebrating their holiday traditions with each other and had a Happy New Year. We have had a chilly week that has likely kept young children indoors.  It may feel too cold to be outside with your young child, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t experience the outdoor wonders inside the comfort of their home. Bring the outside inside! Snow shouldn’t be wasted. I encourage parents to get a storage container and fill it with snow. Bring it inside, and set the container on a blanket on the floor. Add to the container different toys: things to scoop, fill, and pretend. Follow up the play experience with a great book about snow, like Baby Loves Winter or The Snowy Day.

I know the children at Baby Time have snow on their minds because last Monday, I observed some children calling the shredded paper and bubbles snow. I have made that connection before with the shredded paper. It was a new perspective for me with the bubbles. Imagine a room full of small color-catching bubbles gently descending. It does draw parallels to new fallen snowflakes.

If there is snow still outside on Monday morning, I will bring some in during the Baby Time play time for the children to play with to continue to build on their interest in snow, and their interest in filling and emptying containers.

I do my best to take pictures and notes during Baby Time. I do so to provide documentation for the parents and children about their experiences. I also do it to help me decide what to present at my next Baby Time. Upon reflection, some observations stood out to me from our play time that I want to share.

Last Monday next to the large shredded paper container I had a large empty container for the children, like Harper last week, to transfer the paper. Ella found a rubber duck and brought the empty container to me and told me right away that her duck needed water. I love it when the children interpret the play materials differently than I do. I filled up the container with a few inches of water, and she put the duck in it. Afterwards, she played with the duck and added shredded paper and pretended the duck was searching for food. Ella, Margaret and others added more paper, and soon it looked like the duck was hiding in a marsh.

Nate and his mother were playing with the light table toys. Nate smelled the containers. I found out it was similar to a container he had at home that has something in it with an appealing smell. Next Monday I will have to have something during play time that encourages children to use their sense of smell.

I want to also have something at next Monday’s Baby Time that allows the children to continue to experiment with the idea of things that roll. Sebastian liked rolling the marbles on the music tree. At one point, he switched to acorns and observed that they did not roll as well because sometimes one would get stuck half-way down and create a sort of traffic jam. Another child rolled a ball with me and then tried to roll a paper cup.

The slideshow contains pictures taken of play at the light table. I try to be diligent and capture images and take notes of the children’s investigative play, but I can’t always be everywhere. I observed clusters of children at the light table including Nate and his mother and visits from almost every child during play time. I did not get a chance to take notes about their discoveries, but I thought the pictures were still valuable to see.

Please take a look at the slideshow to see the fun the children had during last Monday’s Baby Time, and I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces next Monday.

– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian

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