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The new Youth Services department is now located on the first floor of the library. We're open during regular library hours: Mon-Fri, 9 AM - 9 PM,
Sat, 9 AM - 5 PM, Sun, 1-5 PM.
Contact us for more details.

Visitors to our library will encounter a new, exciting, and very interactive Youth Services department, unlike any other they have experienced. We love showing families around and talking with them about the thoughtful planning and design of our new department. Read on and learn more about this amazing space for kids and young teens!


Youth Services: Why We Play

Helping kids grow and develop also means giving them an opportunity to engage in play. Play encourages cognitive development, literacy skills, social awareness and motor development. Active play helps in improving coordination, self-esteem, social skills, physical body systems and thinking skills. All of these things help create successful readers and learners - so we created a new Youth Services space that encourages learning through play.

“Play is associated with neuro-physiological development that leads to stronger academic achievement, increased concentration, and improved math, reading, and writing test scores.” (Playful City USA, KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play. “Play Matters: A Study of Best Practices to Inform Local Policy and Process in Support of Children’s Play.” KaBOOM. KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, 2009. Web. January 30, 2013.)

Chalkboard/Magnet Board


Using chalk on a vertical chalkboard helps develop arm and hand skills that lead to writing, while encouraging inventiveness, creativity, graphic awareness, problem solving and social interaction (“Look what I made!”). Drawing with chalk helps promote the “tripod grasp” needed for efficient writing. For toddlers, scribbling is the motor form of “babbling.” The magnet board activities encourage literacy, motor, and storytelling skills, as well as phonemic awareness and alphabet letter knowledge. Additional activities can teach math skills, spatial relationships, and geometric concepts.

Pretend Marketplace/Playhouse Puppets, Costumes and Stage


There are many benefits for kids who engage in real, dramatic or theatrical play. Acting out new or familiar stories gives them insight into narrative structure and points of view. Role-playing encourages empathy as kids learn to see through someone else’s eyes and experiences. Pretend play introduces new vocabulary and social interaction as children engage with others. This type of play fosters cognitive development through problem solving, mental planning (“Wow, are we going to play spaceship?”), self-monitoring, and evaluation.

A puppet theater gives kids freedom from inhibitions and encourages speaking and listening skills. On stage, theatrical play develops public speaking skills and the ability to express different emotions, provides opportunities to role-play various life events, and helps to develop the imagination while strengthening spatial and kinetic skills.

DUPLO Room/Imagination Playground Blocks

DUPLO blocks and the Imagination Playground pieces encourage loose parts play. Loose parts play develops logical and mathematical thinking skills through actions such as counting, classifying, and estimating. Kids stimulate their imaginations by developing stories and turning abstract materials into concrete objects. Building specific projects develops problem solving skills and building with others encourages social communication skills such as negotiating, blending ideas, and more.

Playhouse Slide

In addition to the stage and puppet theater, the new playhouse has stairs, a viewing tower and a slide. Incorporating a slide into our space provides a movement experience that encourages spatial awareness, core stability, balance, and leg and hip flexibility. In addition, using a slide stimulates the vestibular system (important for balance and coordination), which is important for a child’s development. The playhouse stairs also foster whole-body muscular strength, flexibility, and the sense of proprioception, the awareness of body position.

Technology Play

Throughout the new Youth Services space, there are opportunities to interact with technology. This type of activity increases a child’s graphic knowledge, the ability to recognize and make sense of visual information and digital handling skills. Engaging the child with technology makes them an active participant and can create a positive learning experience. Read on for specific examples.

iPads:

Beyond providing experience with the Apple iPad, apps selected for the library provide literacy skills, information awareness, and graphic knowledge. Using the iPads can be a solo activity or it can involve friends and family. iPads loaded with appropriate apps are available for varying ages of children.

Light Bright Wall:

This large version of the classic children’s toy encourages young artists to create while supporting pattern recognition, sorting, motor skills, collaborative play and parent/child play.

Digital Pond:


Interacting with the digital pond provides an opportunity to experience cause and effect relationships while encouraging small and large motor skills. When people move towards the fish, they swim away. If people stand still, the fish draw near.

Word Wall:

Words and images fall from the sky as visitors use their shadows to interact with them. Kids interact with words and images, learning how their movements, shadows and distance from the wall affect the objects.

References - read more about the power of play

Beyond the Chalkboard
Why Is Play Important?
Benefits of Active Play
Active Play for Early Childhood Centres and Family Daycare
The Top 5 Benefits of Play
Research-Based Case for Recess
Play Matters: A Study of Best Practices to Inform Local Policy and Process in Support of Children's Play
The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

Chalkboard:
The Arts as a Core Academic Subject
Normal Developmental Hand Skills for Young School Children
Fine Motor Skills Developmental Milestones
When Children Draw
The Importance of Art in Child Development
Writing to Become a Reader

Pretend Marketplace:
What is Dramatic Play and How Does It Support Literacy Development in Preschool?
How Dramatic Play Can Enhance Learning
Fine Motor Skills Developmental Milestones
Benefits of Puppet Play
Why Use Drama Games or Theatre Games?

DUPLOs/Imagination Playground:
Imagination Playground Associate Training Manual

Slide:
Play On!
Proprioceptive Play

Technology:
The Importance of Art in Child Development
Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8
Self-control? It's child's play. Some classic games help limit anti-social behavior.


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