The Attleboro Public Library offers an hour-long science program for kids 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. The program explores STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) concepts in a multi-modal way through story time and hands-on activities. The library has made a commitment to offer more programming based on STEAM for the community. Topics change monthly and have included 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 multi-user and multi-outcome 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. The librarian also tries to choose activities that can be replicated at home. The experiments involve typical household items or inexpensive items that families could buy. Since the children are pretty young – ages 3-5 – the activities are quick and safe. Ideally, adults feel empowered to try out the same, or similar, experiments at home if their child shows an interest.
Link to Curriculum
Activities are often 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. And, since elementary students do a report on the solar system, one of the themes focused on planets. Science Saturdays help reinforce what kids are learning in school to establish relevance and make a deeper connection.
Special thanks to Krystal Brown, Children’s Librarian, Attleboro Public Library. http://attleborolibrary.org/