The Attleboro Public Library offers an hour-long science program for kids ages 3 through kindergarten one Saturday morning a month from October to June. The goal of the program is to encourage children and their caregivers to learn and discover together. Younger siblings under 3 are encouraged not to attend so that the adult can give their full attention to their child. The program explores STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) concepts through story time and hands-on activities. The APL has made a commitment to offer more programming based on STEAM for the community. The topic changes monthly and has included such topics as space, water, simple machines, gardens, colors, weather, gravity, magnets, bubbles, math, and insects. The program begins with each child receiving a nametag and the librarian reading a book (either fiction or non-fiction) to the families about the topic. Then children and their caregivers move at their own pace through 5 or 6 stations set up with different activities. After they complete their activities, families can checkout other books about the topic or pick up a hand-out with activities to do at home.
Activities are sometimes chosen based on what the local preschools and public schools do in their science classes. For example, the closest elementary school to the Library has a school garden which inspired the garden science theme. Also, since elementary students do a report on the solar system, one of the themes focused on planets. Science Saturdays help to reinforce what kids are learning in school to make a deeper connection.
The librarian also tries to choose activities that can be replicated at home. The experiments involve typical household items or cheap items that families could buy. Since the children are pretty young – ages 3-5 – the activities are quick and safe. Hopefully, adults will feel empowered to try out the same, or similar, experiments at home if their child shows an interest.
Special thanks to Krystal Brown, Children’s Librarian, Attleboro Public Library. http://attleborolibrary.org/