circle-timeToddler Time yesterday so clearly showed why we do the things we do in libraries–and then encourage parents in homes and teachers in preschools, day cares, and home cares to do the same. It’s truly glorious to watch growth happen!

My toddler group actually runs in ages from birth through age 3-ish. I saw the magic make itself known with the two age extremes yesterday, all in the course of about twenty minutes.

On the youngest end, two little ones who have literally been coming since they were newborns anticipated actions and words. Before we got to a movement, they were ready to do it! Before the word was said, they were saying it! Their brains have learned the words, learned the movement, and most importantly, learned the sequencing.

Sequencing is all about creating order and meaning out of our world. It is a deeper level of thinking; the brain is wired for it; it’s a unique part of being human.  It would be so easy to have said for the last 12-15 months that these moms and babies were doing “nothing” or “wasting their time” week after week sitting through Toddler Time. But brains were picking it up, taking it in,–and doing something with it all. It was waaay cool to see it beginning in these little ones.

Give a child what they need and they will grow themselves up. 🙂

On the other end of the age range were two young three year olds. One was a fellow who actually had to take a break from Toddler Time for a while.  He simply wasn’t happy coming–and made that very clear to everyone. Mom was encouraged to keep bringing him in to check out books and to continue to read at home. And to try Toddler Time again later. We didn’t want to “make him” come, be extremely unhappy while here, and then associate those feelings with books, music, and the library.

The break worked. He’s here most weeks now but something of a “sideline sitter” by his choice. Not a problem. But yesterday, due to the snow, the group was very small. He spent time beforehand looking at a truck book with a friend, side by side in their chairs. And then he sat and listened intently while I read Red Truck.

Promptly at the end of the reading, he shouted, “AGAIN!” I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to reinforce such a positive response. We read it again, (much to everyone’s enjoyment). It was a surprising and illuminating moment.

The other boy burst into giggles when I read the word “Sploosh!” in the first reading. He repeated it several times. He was delighted with it, like a novel, new toy. On the second reading? He “knew” the word when we got back to that page. Print awareness in action and again, the pairing of a positive feeling with new learning.

Most weeks we do what we do, over and over, wondering if we are accomplishing anything. What a joy when we have a day like this one!

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