Little Learners at the Library

UPDATE 1/6/2017: Now taking reservations for the upcoming January/February series at this time!

True life confession: I’m not a parent – not yet, anyway. I could tell you that I totally understand how busy your life is, or pretend to know the intricacies and nuances of the insane juggling act that is family life, but let’s be honest: I just don’t.

But I see you day in and out at the library, grabbing picture books, helping kids with their homework, chasing curious toddlers, and I can tell: your schedule is full. Have a child 3 or under? I’d bet it’s double full.

No matter how busy you may be, I – as a children’s librarian – want you to remember one thing: YOU are your child’s first teacher. The emphasis that you place on time spent together playing, reading, or just giving your child your undivided attention all contributes to their successful development.


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We want to help you set aside that small piece of time that will allow you to focus on your little one and your role as parent/teacher, minus any distractions. How will we do it? The Main Branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is reintroducing its Kiwanis Little Learners Parent/Child Workshop this Fall. What is this program and why should it be important to you? Well…

What IS Little Learners?

Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville, and supplementally funded by our friends here at Rocket City Mom, The Little Learners Parent/Child Workshop is a time commitment of five Fridays, each consisting of an hour and 15 minute session, that allow you to, mostly importantly, play. That’s right: PLAY.

I don’t mean iPads, computer games, or anything complicated. We’re talking about special time set aside for you and your child of 3 years or under to bond, laugh, share, and engage with simple, age appropriate toys (think blocks and shakers) in a casual environment with other parents and children.


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baby play blocks

Did you know that play reinforces language and literacy skills? Oh yeah, it does. So when your kids are pretending to be Spiderman or Hulk, or making up crazy stories about dolls and ponies in a magical fairy kingdom, there’s a lot going on there – there really is! Each week we’ll also offer a different “art experience,” which can include anything from paint to clay (time to get your hands dirty!).

So Much More Than Play

Aside from toys there are also resources available to help you further empower your parenting: from parenting books, handouts on literacy, book recommendations, and more, we’ve got you covered! We’ve also called upon our amazing librarian networking skills and have invited specialists from the community in areas such as nutrition, speech and language, development, and even the therapeutic qualities of music to join our sessions each week and answer your questions about your child’s developmental process.

What Little Learners Isn’t

son-99746_1280Remember: the goal is for this to be a comfortable, casual environment, so don’t worry about someone giving you a 15 minute speech on what you should be feeding your kid – not happening. You can ask questions and chat, or you can just finger paint and have a blast! It’s all about your needs and making the experience your own.


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We hope you’ll become a part of our movement to celebrate the importance of play and parent-as-teacher interactions during the early childhood years. Lee Jones, member of the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville and strong supporter of Kiwanis Little Learners, says this is “…an outstanding example of what can be done to promote early childhood learning …,” and we absolutely agree! If we haven’t convinced you yet there’s also the added bonus of having a chance to meet other parents, make new friends, and build a community of parent/teachers – all right here in the library!

Sign Up for Little Learners

The next five Friday sessions begins January 27th at the Huntsville Public Library on Monroe Street. There is no cost, but sign-ups are required and space is limited, so call 256-532-5949 to register.

Annie Mathys thumbABOUT THE AUTHOR: Annie Matthys has been a children’s/youth librarian for the past 6 years and is currently the Head of Youth Services at the Main Branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. She’s passionate about silly picture books, puppets (yes, puppets!), and helping kids learn to love their public library.