Kids are meant to play. And not just because it keeps them out of your hair for long enough to cook dinner. Cops and robbers, or pony boutique — it doesn’t matter. Very young minds are thirsty for experiences that allow them to exercise the judgment and confidence that they see in their adult role models, and play situations are just that. If your kids were pretending that the living room floor was a pool of deadly lava, would you worry too long about them knocking over your grandmother’s lamp? Probably not. You’d let them play.
That’s the name of a brand new program at Portland Public Library (5 Monument Way) that explores what children learn when they explore imagined situations. It’s Let Them Play! and it begins with Terri Petnov’s A Workshop for Parents and Caregivers of Young Children, on Thursday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. The focus is on the development of early literacy skills in children, and how the magic happens when they have placed their attention on something in the kids’ world that we all left long ago (but are overjoyed to revisit by watching them). Petnov is certainly qualified, having worked for 25 years at SMCC, starting an Associate Degree Program in Early Childhood Education and a Laboratory School for Preschoolers, now accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Learn more about her philosophy, and the new series of programs, at https://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/let-playa-workshop-parents-caregivers-young-children/
Once you’re fired up about the ideas in your kids’ minds being connected with words and sentences (volumes, if we let them tell us!), check out the South Portland Public Library’s (482 Broadway) Book Bambinos, every Thursday including March 9 and 16, at 10:30 a.m. This is for tots aged from birth to 18 months. They are invited to participate in finger plays, rhymes, bounces, and books appropriate for their age group, all in preparation for their own ‘book group,’ where every child gets to hold a copy of a chosen board book to follow in as the wise and lovely Miss KIm guides them through it. These are the memories that they will store up like literary gold.
Hey, speaking of literacy, might you have resolved to read more this year? Show your kids that you have the healthy habit, too.