Four half-hour programs are described in my project URL. As with “Family Time” (April 2012 at Lincoln Park Public Library), the purpose of “Little One Time” is to encourage interactive activity beyond the traditional library story time. My purpose in creating “Little One Time” is to inspire very young children and their regular caregivers to bond together over conversations which can be sparked by stories, songs, finger plays and age-appropriate games such as “Peek-a-Boo”. In encouraging conversations, I realize that the youngest babies will be limited to pre-verbal skills such as facial expressions and sounds such as “goo goo” and “waaah!”. However, when a loving caregiver talks to a baby and mirrors the baby’s actions back to him/her (eg. “Yes, you’re my little goo-gooer”), the caregiver builds trust in the child’s mind, as well as setting the stage for verbal and social skills to take root. These skills, combined with the sharing of stories, rhymes, songs, etc. also eventually will help with school-readiness – and school-eagerness – in that the “Little One Times” help caregivers learn how to present literature, conversation and other verbal and interpersonal activities in a way intended to be enjoyable for both caregiver and child.
Sadly, as I was completing the “Little One Time” programs, I learned that my position as Youth Services Librarian at Ecorse Public Library is to be eliminated on October 1, 2014. Although I am disappointed that I will not be able to implement the programs at Ecorse library, I have saved them on library files in hopes that one day the library will be in a more sound position with regard to staffing and programming. The first three years of a child’s life are increasingly known to be the most important time in a child’s intellectual and psychological development, and I would be eager to promote my programs in any library or child-care setting which seeks programming that encourages this type of early childhood development.