Terianne and Madelynn Skaggs are enthusiastically throwing leaves in the air as the wind howls and blows leaves everywhere.
Photo by Andy Towle.
The kiddies wandered into the Payson Public Library on a mellow Wednesday morning, ready for games, story time and some important life lessons
About a dozen children showed up to the weekly event, which mixes books and activities like Wednesday’s game of throwing fall leaves made of construction paper.
On this recent Wednesday, the lucky children got two stories: “Blueberries for Sal,” an award-winning classic published in 1948, and a short, modern book named “Hooray For Fall.”
Children also learn impromptu life lessons during story time. One child spotted the cover of “Blueberries for Sal” and immediately declared, “I don’t like that book.”
Children’s activity coordinator Harryette Stanley admonished, “You should always give a story a chance.”
Ahh, one of life’s more important lessons: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The lesson may have been impromptu, but Stanley says she also incorporates purposeful lessons into story time. At another story time before Halloween, for instance, she plans to talk about being scared, tell the kids that fear is a normal emotion and provide tips on what kids could do if they felt fear.
Pre-schoolers are busy learning everything from the alphabet to the importance of sharing. “If they can learn it in a fun way,” said Stanley, they more likely retain the lesson.
Before the story time, children danced a rain dance, snapping their fingers, rubbing their hands and stomping their feet. The ritual perhaps exhausted the kids’ more immediate wriggles, calming them down enough to sit through a puppet show and two books.
The puppet show, performed by Stanley and library Assistant Director Margaret Goodell, involved animals crowding into a warm shelter during a rain storm — did the kids’ rain dance work?
Parents said they love pre-school story time.
Monica Skaggs brought her 5- and 6-year-old children to story time during fall break. Her 5-year-old daughter’s birthday missed the cut-off date for kindergarten by two weeks although Skaggs says she was definitely ready for kindergarten. Story time gives the little girl a chance to socialize and prepare for school.
“This is really great for her,” said Skaggs. “They have a lot of fun.”
Repeat attendance fills the crowd, said Stanley. Some kids have been coming for years.
“A lot of parents make a day of it,” following the story with a search for books in the library and then perhaps a picnic in the park.
Parents don’t have to sign-up, and the event costs nothing.
The library offers a host of family-friendly activities besides Wednesday’s pre-school story time.
Thursday mornings feature Tikes and Toddlers story time, followed by bilingual story time in the afternoon and Crafty Kidz for all ages at 4:30 p.m.
The library also offers creative writing groups for younger and older kids, Family Music Together events and Family Gaming Fun.
Check the Web site for schedules and details at paysonlibrary.com.