Sunriver Library Welcomes Interactive Early Learning Space for Children
Posted By: Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted: 1/16/2018
Playing and playing with others is important to a child’s development. When children play, they use their imagination and creativity, and they explore and expand their vocabulary when they make up games and stories. It may look like fun and games—and it is—but play is also essential for healthy emotional growth.
In addition to thousands of books, Deschutes Public Library gives children myriad opportunities to play and grow through early learning spaces. The newest of these spaces, found in the Sunriver Library, is complete and ready for children to explore.
“Children in the early learning spaces can wear costumes, sell items at a market, play with puppets, and build giant block constructions,” says Heather McNeil, Youth Services Manager for Deschutes Public Library. “These spaces are very popular—children love them. The bonus is that they encourage parental interaction, play, creativity and learning.”
With the completion of the new early learning space at the Sunriver Library, early learning spaces are now in every library in the Deschutes Public Library System: Downtown Bend, East Bend, La Pine, Redmond, Sisters and Sunriver. The spaces are funded through grants and donations. The Sunriver Library’s space was funded through the help of a $6,500 donation from the Sunriver Friends of the Library.
McNeil says the spaces, called Mango’s House after the library’s literary mascot Mango Monkey, are delightfully busy. “One of our greatest pleasures with these spaces is seeing that, after storytime, children no longer make a bee line for the computer games. Instead they head for Mango’s House and interactive fun and learning with mom, grandfather, babysitter and friends,” McNeil says.
All early learning spaces in Deschutes Public Libraries are designed to promote early learning, kindergarten readiness and a bond between child and caregiver. They also encourage the acquisition of six key early literacy skills: letter knowledge, print awareness, vocabulary, phonological awareness, narrative skill and print motivation. They’re carefully crafted spaces, but as far as children are concerned, they’re just fun.
“With these spaces children are playing and having fun, but they’re also building vocabulary, increasing their letter knowledge, practicing math and learning essential skills for kindergarten readiness, such as sharing and taking turns,” says McNeil. “They’re also developing the belief that the library is exactly where they want to be.”
For more information about early literacy and child development, please visit the library’s website at www.deschuteslibrary.org/kids/.