On January 17, at 2 p.m. six adventurous heart-stealers escorted their moms to Eagle Point Library’s meeting room. They arrived to inaugurate the eight-week program called Babies in the Library. Ranging in age from six months to twenty months, participants expressed their enthusiasm with smiles of approval.
Last to arrive, shortly after things got started, Connor’s mom Erica drew empathetic chuckles and nods with her comment, "They never need a nap unless you have to be somewhere."
Library director, Charlene Prinsen introduced county-wide program coordinator Margie Cicerrella who then led the activities. An educator and librarian for fifteen years, Cicerrella commended the John and Betty Gray Learning Foundation for the grant that funded the event.
"The process of learning begins at birth," she said. "Before they can
learn to read, children need to know how books work. Read to your child
at least twenty minutes every day. Preferable to TV or other media,
being read to aloud helps the development of the child’s brain."
explained the inclusion of rhymes and rhythms structured into the
curriculum. These learning tools stimulate young minds, she said.
attendees sat in a brightly-colored circle and joined in word and
finger play. The adults sang along in familiar tunes with motions
ranging from the cow’s leaping over the moon, to the little star’s
Observant youngsters clapped on cue to provide
the rhythmic backgrounds. Toy rattles became the instruments that
accompanied the lyrics and melodies.
The leader then
distributed a small board book to each child. She read audibly from
several pages that incorporated familiar animal sounds-cows’ moos;
pigs’ oinks, etc.
After approximately thirty minutes, the
group sang closing song, "Good-bye, Baby," to the nostalgic tune of
Cicerrella pulled a few more toys from a box for the children to enjoy a final quarter hour of unstructured play time.
program received excellent reviews from the moms present. "I’ve always
read to my older kids," said Erica Neyt. "Then when I heard about
‘babies in the library,’ it prompted me to start reading to my
seven-month old also."
Elena Rich hugged her ten-month-old
daughter, Taylor. "I think this is a great way to get mothers together
in a community setting," she said. "It’s a good way for babies to
interact with others in their age group." After agreeing with others
that they look forward to the next seven Thursday sessions, Rich
added, "I intend to invite more friends to bring their little ones,
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent