Story Hour returns Friday
Children ages 3-5 will be greeted by very familiar characters when they go down to the basement of the Heart of America Library on Friday for Story Hour.
Story Hour sessions go from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., and have a different theme every week. Under the direction of Marlys Ostrem, with assistance from library staffers Kim Morgan and Bonnie Kuehnemund, and library director Sheila Craun, the hour sessions are full of activities designed to get children ready for reading and school. Activities include flannel-graph presentations, big picture books, puppet shows, exercise to music and physical activity. Each week there is a different theme, the first week’s theme being Winnie the Pooh.
“It’s so much fun, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t so much fun,” Ostrem said. “It’s a chance for creativity and writing.”
Craun said: “It’s a way for people from the community to come into and discover the library on a different level.”
Originally, sessions took place on Wednesdays. With preschool taking place Monday through Thursday, the library decided to hold story hour sessions on Fridays through the school year.
“We’re open to changes or suggestions,” Craun said.
Pre-registration is preferred before story hour begins. Parents are allowed to wait for their children in the basement hallway the first few weeks, but are advised to wait upstairs afterward.
“When the weather’s good we could expect 25, 26 kids,” Craun said. “When it snows or gets cold it goes down a little bit. I think the lowest we had last year was 12 kids.”
The Story Hour program has been in place for over 50 years, with Ostrem heading it up for more than 40. She started teaching with her daughter, Kathy Vangsnes, and she has seen kids who have gone through the program have children and grandchildren also go through the program.
“There are tears sometimes. Sometimes it’s from kids getting their fingers pinched in the chairs,” Ostrem recalled. “One year we had a little boy who said ‘You can’t sit by me’ to a little girl. So then one of the teachers took this boy and said, ‘Do you want to have friends?’ He said, ‘I have friends but they’re not here.’ She said, ‘Would you like a new friend?’ He said ‘Yeah.’ So she brought the boy back to the girl he wouldn’t let sit by him and said, ‘There, you’ve got a new friend.'”
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