Holmes Library's Winter Story Celebrations helps children transition from preschool to kindergarten

By KELLEY MOHR Staff Writer Published:

Children can discover a new world this season with Winter Story Celebrations at the Holmes County District Public Central Library in Millersburg.

Children ages 2-5 are invited along with their parents and caregivers to join the Children's Department for stories, songs, crafts and more.

The Story Celebrations, however, are more than just story time. Through fun activities, children will learn skills to help them transition into preschool and kindergarten, said head of Children's Services Michelle Skolmutch.

In the Children's Department, Ellen Weaver chooses a theme and a corresponding picture book to actively engage children in the act of reading.

"In between reading, she teaches the children finger play or some activity that helps reinforce -- without the kids actually knowing it -- what kids need to understand in order to become readers," Skolmutch said.

This includes vocabulary, letter recognition and repetition, skills that will help prepare children for entering school, she said.

Then, Story Celebrations involve more stories, a song or an action rhyme and a craft appropriate for the theme.

For example, said Skolmutch, if the theme is winter animals, the children will do a craft involving a penguin or a polar bear, "with possibly a little assistance from mom. It's something that mom and child can do together and allows kids to have a safe environment to try something new."

Children can learn to use markers appropriately in a supervised, non-messy setting, or learn the etiquette required when handling scissors.

"In addition to being something fun that the kids enjoy, the crafts help build motor skills, such as the ability to use scissors, and they do artwork to get them familiar with that. So they have a chance to use (those skills) before they get to kindergarten where they are exposed to all those materials," Skolmutch said.

Story Celebrations also can familiarize children to the school environment in other ways.

"It gives kids a new environment and exposes kids to being with other people so that when they go to school, being with a group is not such a foreign thing. Story Celebrations teaches routine and how to interact with other kids their age," Skolmutch said.

Wintertime is an excellent season to invite children and parents into the library, added Skolmutch.

"The excitement of Christmas is over, kids have cabin fever and it's a great activity for moms because when they come to the library, not only is (it) something to do with their child but there is something for the whole family," she said. "They can take a brake from the TV."

In addition, the library offers a warm respite from the cold, with plenty of books to choose from.

"Who doesn't want to snuggle up with a cup of coca and read a book?" asked Skolmutch. "There are comfy places in our children's room where they can snuggle up with their child and read a book together."

All children between the ages of two and five are encouraged to attend. Beginning Jan. 16 and running through Feb. 6, Central Branch Story Celebrations will be held Wednesdays at 11 a.m. The East Branch located in Walnut Creek will host Winter-Spring Story Celebrations for parents and children ages 2-5 on Mondays at 11 a.m. from Jan. 24 to Feb. 11. Registration is requested.

Call 330-674-5972, Ext. 211, or stop by the Children's Desk to register.

Reporter Kelley Mohr can be reached at 330-674-5676 or kmohr@the-daily-record.com.

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