The Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library may still be holding most of its programming virtually, but it is slowly beginning to hold in-person programs, as well. These programs may look a bit different from those held previous to the pandemic, but the spirit, and the fun, are still the same.

Registration is required for in-person events, and are open to only a limited number of people (generally five families at a time). Masks are highly suggested (and required for those ages 10 and up), and social distancing is still required, as well. But these safety precautions are no deterrent for parents and their children (or library staff), eager for the in-person interaction.

With the success of the in-person programs held only two weeks ago (the first since October), library director Lisa Youngblood held another on Saturday morning, this time a music program for children ages 2 to 6.

Mats for children and their families were, once again, spaced out for social distancing, with buckets that held the things they would be using for the day. “All their instruments are in their buckets,” Youngblood said, explaining some of the adaptations that she had made for the program. Also different from previous music program, she said, was, “There won’t be free-play at the end of the program, but there will be free-dance (using the items in the buckets).”

“Welcome to our first in-person music time in one year!” Youngblood said in greeting at the program’s start, opening with a game of “up and down” using her xylophone. She introduced children to musical terms such as octave, andante, and presto, both explaining what each meant and modeling the terms with body movements and voice modulation.

Youngblood also taught some basic sign language for a song that they all danced to, then had everyone get out their jingle bells as they played “stop and go” around her colorful parachute. Here she had them working on gross motor skills with waling, marching, and tiptoeing, as well as counting skills and more voice modulation.

Children also practiced rhyming and repetition through the nursery rhymes “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Jack and Jill.”

“We’re going to make music by striking…and scraping,” Youngblood then told everyone, having them get out the rhythm sticks from their buckets. She worked on skills such as patterning and counting, and added the “Alphabet Song” for them to sing and practice keeping rhythm.

After using brightly colored scarves for the song “I Got Stuck in an Elevator,” the children and their parents got to experience some parachute play, before finishing with more “up and down” with the xylophone and, finally, some free-dancing.

Four-year-old Andrew Powell said his favorite part of the program was scraping the rhythm sticks together. His mother, Harker Heights resident Megan Powell, said of the program, “We’re just glad to be back, we’re glad to have stuff to do.”

Youngblood said of the program, “It’s a great program. It’s one of my favorite ones. It works on so many pieces of early development, and it’s joyful.

“I love (being) in-person,” she concluded.

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