Curious Kids Balances Fun and Learning for Largo Preschoolers
Largo Library's Curious Kids program is an hour-long, free event for three to five year olds. A new theme is introduced every week.
For a group of wiggling, inquisitive three to five-year-olds, Curious Kids offers the perfect balance of learning and fun. The Largo Library children’s group provides a structured program of storytelling, music and arts and crafts.
Library Assistant Melissa Palaia, an energetic and enthusiastic teacher, storyteller and leader, shares themed programs she hopes will entertain the kids.
“It’s a wide range of interests and maturities, from three to five years old,” said Palaia, “It is structured, so kids learn how to listen, follow directions, use motor skills and respect others.”
Thursday’s theme was hibernation. Listening to fictional and nonfiction stories, the kids learned about what types of animals hibernate and how they hibernate.
Twenty kids sat on the floor or on their parent’s lap to get ready for story time. They watched each other, glanced at their parent and looked up at the pictures as the story unfolded.
“Eww, who would want to hibernate in mud? I wouldn’t,” said Palaia. “Well, maybe if I was a frog, I would want to sleep in mud. It keeps them warm.”
In between stories, Palaia asked the kids to get up and stretch. Music played as the kids jumped and danced. Arms stretched in the air, they pretended to go through hibernation. The dance gave them the burst of energy they needed after sitting and listening.
After stories and dancing, the kids scrambled to the arts and crafts table. They colored a sleeping bear with markers or pre-cut brown squares. After they finished the craft, they ran to the other side of the room to put together various, block puzzles.
“We love it. Especially craft time. We come every week,” said Heather, Largo resident and mom to four-year-old twins, Evelyn and Lexa.
Parents had plenty of reasons for liking the program. Many liked the structured setting, as an introduction to kids who aren’t in a school setting yet.
“I think it’s good to get them in a structured environment,” said Mary Timberlake. “It’s good to introduce them to the library at an early age.” She attends weekly with her sons, Micah, 4, and Ian, 3, who nodded they enjoyed the program.
Other parents saw the program as a chance for kids to learn about the world around them or enjoy something similar to their at-school siblings.
"It’s her time,” said Trista Meindel of three-year old Kaylee Rose, whose older brother is in school. “She’s also a bookworm. She loves books.”
Patti Gallagher started attending the program with her now eight-year-old daughter. She's continuing the tradition with her three-year old daughter, Jaydon.
“She needs interaction with other kids. Also she needs to see how adults and kids behave, not just mommy and daddy,” said Gallagher. “I want her to respect other authority figures besides us.”
Parents also mentioned the value of Largo Library's program in helping their family and community.
“I think it’s [the library program] a great base point. We don’t live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids, so this gives us the opportunity to meet other parents, find out about local programs and plan playdates,” said Gallagher.
More information about Curious Kids
Largo Public Library: Children's Program Room is located at 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, FL. 33771-2110. For more information, call (727) 587-6715.
Curious Kids is a free, weekly event, held every Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon. Pre-registration is not required. Parents must stay with their child through the entire hour program.