Blog post by Jane Mason, Operations Manager (Stock & Reader Services) Oxfordshire BookStart Coordinator, Oxfordshire Libraries.
Blackbird Leys is buzzing with activity on a Thursday morning, Didcot on a Friday morning, soon to be followed by Littlemore and Woodstock with other libraries approaching the planning stage.
What is going on?
Stay, Play and Learn sessions are a new initiative for libraries and are encouraging families into the library to play, talk, read and sing with their children.
There are mums, grandmothers, dads, aunts and childminders, all with the same goal, which is to get children socialising, talking, and communicating. This means getting children school ready.
Because we are in a library most of the activities are based around communication, language and literacy. The families are encouraged to interact with their children.
The volunteers who will be leading the sessions will model how to talk and play with children using the resources available. There is plenty of scope to develop concepts using books and toys.
It is lovely seeing children tipping all the toys over the floor and then choosing what to play with. (The parents always help clear up at the end of the session).
At Blackbird Leys the children particularly enjoy the large waffle blocks, the dolls house and small animals and the big wooden bus.
At Didcot they enjoy the foam building bricks, role play kitchen and the train track and cars.
The sessions end with a rhymetime. Rhymes and songs are a fun way of helping children acquire language skills.