If you find yourself and your preschooler without much to do on Friday mornings, stop into the Ilsley’s downstairs meeting room for their preschool-aged story time. Librarian Kathryn Laliberte hosts a fun hour-long session of reading, singing, and crafts. The children pile into the room for story time and grab a pillow arranged in a semi-circle around Kathryn. Behind the pillows are chairs for parents, grandparents, and caregivers to rest, enjoy the enthusiasm of the room, and maybe even sing a little! Kathryn’s vivid reading brings a great many stories to life for the children and they love to participate in the stories she reads and the songs she sings.
Kathryn brings stories in to share with the children and her reading of them is a fully interactive experience. The kids listen and call out when prompted for a question about the story at hand. It’s a fun and exciting way to watch kids move up from the early days of baby and toddler story time. Alternating between songs and stories, the kids are free to bop and move around.
After signing off from story time with a goodbye song, the children migrate to the other half of the room which has been set up with an arts and crafts project at preschooler-sized tables and chairs. There is usually a theme, but the kids are then free to explore the materials and make more or less whatever they wish with what’s on hand. It is a relaxing and fun way to round out the hour and the kids always come up with something very creative.
Again, parking is fairly reliable at the library mid-morning, even if it means using the lower lot. Also, a note about the audience. This story time is intended for 3-5 year olds, but all are welcome. Just keep in mind that if you bring a younger child, the stories are longer and there are a fewer songs than the Tuesday story time. As always, remember there is an excellent play room in the Children’s Library and another arts and crafts table out there.
Minibury caught up with Kathryn to ask her a few questions about the event. We share her answers below.
MB: What’s your favorite part of story time?
KL: The opportunity to interact with the children and to see what they come up with throughout the year. They are so creative. We always do crafts at the end and I try to make a basic model for what is possible and the kids make it exponentially more exciting than I could have. Their creative flow is not reigned in by expectation. With very little encouragement they can go wild.
And I like being able to see where kids begin and where they end through the year – we follow the school calendar – both in terms of their crafting abilities and their ability to be observant. They are learning to sit as part of a community and take turns speaking.
MB: What’s it like to be a child at this playgroup? A parent?
KL: What we hope for iis to engender a love of reading and books through a positive experience of at the library! Kids listen to slightly longer stories, they are geared for preschool aged kids. I like to encourage the interaction between me and them and the book. We encourage the parents to participate but it’s not required. The children see them as models – mom is doing this finger play, i will do it with her. The craft part, while themed, is supposed to be a time to practice fine motor skills and engage with art ability and creative expression. Here the kids are open to exploratory opportunities to see where their minds go.
There’s development of early reading, math skills, and early social skills. It’s everything that’ll come in handy in the world and when they graduate into kindergarten.
MB: What’s a good thing to know about before someone attends this event?
KL: That even if they can only come for five minutes, that is OK. We have a very open door flexible policy. There is no expectation of everyone staying the whole time. There’s a huge amount of growth from the beginning to end of the year. It’s supposed to instill a love of reading. Parents don’t need to feel like kids need to be perfect angels.
And we get messy during the crafts! We encourage that. Kids explore through craft – painting with forks, tinfoil, cotton balls. We try to give kids art opportunities they may not otherwise have.
MB: What’s the best spot for little kids in town that no one knows about?
KL: The swings behind Twilight! It’s a nice gentle activity, close to town, and it’s a great place for a picnic.
MB: What do you enjoy about working with young children?
KL: What don’t I enjoy?! Their openness and willingness to explore with limited, if any, fear. Their openness to their peers. Their inherent generosity. The kids do the best job of being little peacemakers. They tend toward equal treatment and are pleasant to all.
Ilsley Public Library
Community meeting room on lower level
Fridays from 10:00AM – 11:00AM
- Follows ACSD school calendar, including snowdays!
3-5YO focused, but all are welcome