Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Circle of Security

blue and teal swirl--logo for Circle of Security
Circle of Security International Logo
I learned about Circle of Security as an approach to parenting and parent education the other day at a meeting, and I just had the chance to poke around and see what it is all about.  There are some great short animated videos.  Check them out!  Basic points include:

  • It is important to "be there" for children, no matter what emotion they are expressing--and to work against our own fears and insecurities and discomfort with their strong emotions to recognize that it is normal and healthy to have feelings like anger, fear, sadness, and exuberant happiness.
  • Providing kids with a "circle of support" allows them to explore, but also to come back for comfort, and to know that they will always have someone bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind helping them navigate and setting boundaries for them.  
  • Remembering there is no such thing as "perfect parenting" and that if we do well enough most of the time, it is enough!
  • Relationships and connections are where it is at!

I recommend checking this out as parents and grandparents, aunties and uncles, friends, and also as people who parents turn to when they are feeling overwhelmed by the ins and outs of parenting.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Empowering Parents

A parent and child play together with a toy grocery store
A parent and child play together in Hawkins
Many of you have been trained in the Every Child Ready to Read curriculum, emphasizing helping parents and caregivers understand the importance of five early literacy practices (Playing, Talking, Singing, Reading, and Writing), and the simple things they can do to help their children's brain development.  If you aren't already familiar with this program, please let me know, I'd love to talk with you more about it!

Today at a meeting for a local group trying to get a Talking Is Teaching effort off the ground in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, I learned about the Vroom App, which is designed to help parents/caregivers build brain-boosting conversations into every day activities (eating breakfast, getting dressed, and more).  There was a powerful SHORT video on the site (scroll to the bottom of the home page), emphasizing the importance of sharing with parents that they have the power and ability to make a difference in their children's brain development.  Check it out to get inspired.  And then let's talk about what you are doing to help parents and caregivers feel empowered to make a difference for their children.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Play Is the Way!

A toddler playing with blocks
A child playing in Bloomer
Every several months, I have a chance to get together with early childhood professionals from around western Wisconsin, and it is often some of the most fruitful time I spend.  Not because I get a lot of taks ticked off my list, but because I hear about what kinds of things others who work with young children are thinking about, what kinds of issues families in the region are facing, ideas about how to include kids who speak English as a second language or kids with disabilities, and opportunities to work together on projects.  I also tend to learn a lot, including about the absolutely critical nature of PLAY in child development.  For young children in particular, it is absolutely crucial for them to have time to play.  I know there is a role for libraries, here, and I have seen some incredible spaces and programs that encourage imaginative play in libraries in IFLS-land and beyond.

Play Is the Way is a new 3 minute video created by Sheila Briggs at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  I highly recommend taking a peek.  And showing it to your stakeholders, especially if they aren't sure if you need the space and resources for play in your library, or if they question a change in the focus of your programming.  The video makes some really great points about skills kids are learning in play:

  • Focus and ability to shift attention
  • Figuring out power dynamics 
  • Communication and articulation
  • Creating, negotiating, and changing rules
All of these things activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is critical for developing executive functioning skills and leads to better self-regulation and academic success.  While playing, children can solve more complex problems and tend to speak in more grammatically complex ways than they would if engaging in a teacher-driven activity.  It takes intention and skill to set up these spaces in such a way that kids are able to explore and learn, and the payoff is definitely worth it!