Library helps children get ready for kindergarten

« Austintown Neighbors


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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Children in attendence at the Getting Ready for Kindergarten event danced to a song being played by librarians to help them gain listening and instruction following skills before entering school.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Librarians Nikki Puhalla and Lindsay Cramer danced with incoming Kindergarteners at the Aug. 8 Get Ready for Kindergarten event at the Austintown library.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Librarian Lindsay Cramer read "Kindergarten is Cool," to children gathered at the Aug. 8 Getting Ready for Kindergarten event.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Books about different skills for Kindergarteners were set up in the Austintown library during the Getting Ready for Kindergarten event.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Leah Ordean and Eden Gabrick worked together at one of the stations during the Getting Ready for Kindergarten event on Aug. 8 at the Austintown library.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.One station was set up at the Getting Ready for Kindergarten event at the Austintown library where children used different shapes to create a picture.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

The Austintown library hosted an event on Aug. 8 to prepare incoming kindergartners for the start of school.

The event, called Get Ready for Kindergarten!, was focused on helping children going into school to master the skills they need to succeed in their first year, according to librarian Nikki Puhalla.

“I think libraries now are focusing on kindergarten readiness skills for kids, so there’s a demand for that,” Puhalla said.

This is the first year the library offered the program, which was developed by Puhalla and another librarian, Lindsay Cramer.

During the event, children start out reading a story and singing a song with librarians.

This helps children develop listening and attention skills, as well as an ability to follow instructions according to Puhalla.

“There’s so many things that they need to learn before they get into kindergarten,” she said.

After the initial song and story, children and their parents are then encouraged to walk through the stations set up and go through the different activities themselves.

“In this program at least the parent and the child work together on these skills,” Puhalla said.

The stations included a variety of activities working on skills children need to know before entering school.

This included math skills, by creating shapes with play dough, fine motor skills by writing their names and working on ties and buckles and memorizing their home addresses and phone numbers.

The librarians also set up a feelings station where children and their parents can talk about how a child works through their different emotions, to prepare them totally for entering school.

“We try to not overwhelm the child and parents so this is more of a fun activity,” Puhalla said.

She said that the rise in kindergarten readiness programs in libraries may be a result of a lot of children no longer attending preschool.

“I think this is a good opportunity for them to pick up on some of these skills that they would normally get in Pre K,” she said.

The program ran twice in August, and will likely continue in upcoming years according to Puhalla.

For more information on upcoming events at the Austintown library, visit www.libraryvisit.org.

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