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Nurturing parents’ teaching skills

Fri., Oct. 18, 2013

Two Saturday programs offered by the Spokane County Library District aim to teach parents how simple and everyday activities can help children gain important skills before kindergarten.

Love Talk Play is a statewide campaign that stresses parents’ role in teaching their young children, whether they’re talking back to babbling infants to build the basics of language or sticking pipe cleaners into colander holes with preschoolers to teach them about shapes.

Saturday’s library programs, for infants to 5-year-olds and their caregivers, are the final two installments in a series paid for by a state grant to spread the Love Talk Play word among Spokane County families.

“The purpose of Love Talk Play is to support the parent as the child’s first and most important teacher,” said Mary Ellen Braks, the district’s library services manager for early learning.

Children who feel loved and nurtured, Braks said, have the confidence to form relationships with their teachers and peers when they start school. The talking part of the campaign emphasizes the value of conversations between parents and children. Playing builds social and other skills.

After a show by Spokane-area children’s musician Corey Jenkins, who performs as Jenks, the library programs will put parents and children to play using items available at home or a dollar store, Braks said. In past programs, participants have lined the insides of unused pizza boxes with felt and cut shapes and animals that can be used to tell stories. They’ve made Froot Loop necklaces on pipe cleaners to practice making patterns.

The point is that parents need no fancy toys to help their children practice fine motor skills.

“The child’s best toy is their parent,” Braks said.

Participants receive free Love Talk Play bags stuffed with resources such as toy balls and activity cards to pull out on the bus or in the grocery line.

Adrian Rogers

When and where: 10 a.m. at the Medical Lake Library, 321 E. Herb St.; call (509) 893-8330 with questions. 2 p.m. at the Airway Heights Library, 1213 S. Lundstrom St.; call (509) 893-8250.

Admission: Free. No registration required.

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