MASON COUNTY — A long-running children’s program at the Mason County Library in Point Pleasant will have a new format this fall that will allow more kids to participate.
“Little Explorers Story Time,” formerly known as Story Hour, will have open registration throughout the year, as well as a more freestyle type of organization, according to Cindy Williams, library clerk and story time leader.
Story time is for children ages three to six years. It will be held, starting this week, on Thursdays at 11 a.m.
In the past, parents registered their kids for the event, which locked them in to a week-to-week commitment. Class size was limited to a certain number, and if that number was exceeded, children were placed on a waiting list until enough children were added for a second class.
Under the new format, Williams said parents do not register their children, but just come as they please. This will allow children visiting the area, or grandparents or others babysitting once in a while, to take advantage of the story time.
And since Williams will never know how many children will be attending any given week, a more freestyle program is planned. She said story time will remain organized with stories, music and movement activities, but will not have the traditional “make and take” crafts.
“We’re going to emphasize the process rather than the product,” Williams said.
She gave an example for plans the day she is reading a book about cookies to the youngsters. Williams said the children will be using cookie cutters to make their own “cookies” from a popular modeling clay. Other days will be spent painting, building, and crafting from items such as felt.
“Sneaky learning” is what Williams calls the components of story time. She said children learn about things such as engineering through building blocks. School readiness skills like taking turns, lining up, and raising hands before speaking are taught, as well.
The story time falls under a new children’s programming umbrella called “KidsConnect,” for which the library system received a $5,000 grant from United Way of the River Cities. The grant provides not only for story time, but for a new “Tot Time” for babies through 36 months, family nights, and after-school discovery days.
All three libraries, Point Pleasant, Mason, and New Haven, will hold all the KidsConnect events. The Point Pleasant library is the only one that will offer the new format for story time. Both New Haven and Mason will continue with the traditional story hour.
The library staff remains in contact with Mason County Schools, along with Jane Haddox of the Early Education Station, to ensure the children’s programs are not only fun, but also educational, Williams said. She stated the programs prepare younger children to begin school, and the school-age children to remain at their grade level in reading. All programs for kids are geared toward exploring the world through literature.
Regular children’s programs include:
Point Pleasant library – Story Time on Thursdays at 11 a.m., and Tot Time on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. (both with no registration necessary);
Mason library – Story Hour on Thursdays (registration closed), and Tot Time on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. (no registration required);
New Haven library – Story Hour on Tuesdays (registration closed), and Tot Time on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. (no registration required).
Special activities, including family nights and after-school discovery days, will be announced as they are set.
For more information on library programs, call at Point Pleasant library at 304-675-0894; New Haven library at 304-882-3252; or Mason library at 304-773-5580.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.