For the last two months, children have been enjoying the Harker Heights Public Library’s “Mother Goose on the Loose” program on Monday mornings.
Now, just for the month of April, the library has brought back the “Move It, Groove It” program, and with it a new set of skills for children to develop. The Move It, Groove It program was last done back in October.
Children’s librarian Amanda Hairston said, “This is a little different one (program). We’re going to focus more on movement, early literacy skills, delayed gratification, and other necessary preschool concepts.”
The class is tailored for children 3 to 6 years of age, though Hairston said, “Of course, younger siblings are more than welcome.” She also said that due to the skills such as the delayed gratification, “This is a much harder program for them.”
Hairston began the class by having the 30 parents and children stand in a circle, then sang and played “Ring Around the Rosie.” Then everyone sat in a circle and sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” complete with hand motions, at increasing speeds. Finally, everyone stood to sing and perform “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
The warm-up activities were all designed to teach those early literacy and early musical concepts. They also taught the delayed gratification, as the children were all acutely aware of the different stations that had been set up around the room with lots of toys and activities; they knew that they would be able to play, they just didn’t know when.
But once the last song was over, the children got their free-play time — they all counted to “three” and were let loose.
There were eight different stations the children could choose from, and each station was clearly labeled so that parents could see what skills each was targeting.
The puzzle station helped children develop problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
Manipulatives aided in identifying colors and patterns, as well as sorting skills.
Transportation toys helped to teach cause and effect.
The cooking station aided imagination and creative play.
The dramatic play station helped with roles and relationships, expression of emotion and communication skills,
Music worked with sounds and body awareness.
Blocks helped develop early math and science skills.
The final station was an infant toy station for the younger siblings, and there was also a large wooden boat and gel-tiles for hopscotch.
While the children made their way around the room, trying each station and the different variety of toys, there were two clear favorites — the cooking station and the dramatic play station with its selection of costumes. Unable to settle on just one, some children even combined toys from different stations.
Three-year-old Brylee Everett was one of those children. She was dressed in a superhero costume consisting of a cape and matching mask from the dramatic play station, and sported some jingle bells around her arm from the music station while she alternated playing at the music and block stations.
Brylee’s mother, Sarah, drives her all the way from Salado just to take part in the program. She said, “We probably come once or twice a month.”
All too soon, it was time to clean up, which most of the children pitched in to do.
Hairston said, “That was super fun, it went really well. The first session is always the hardest. Over the next few weeks, we’ll work more on those movement and gross motor skills (like those during the warm-up at the beginning of the class) and have a shorter playtime.”
Move It, Groove It is held every Monday morning at 10 a.m. during the month of April.
For more information, contact the library at 254-953-5491.