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Llano Library PALS Workshop Foundation for Child Development

The Llano County Library's Play and Learn Series is for children ages 1-3 and their caregivers. It offers programs each Monday from March 27-April 17.

LLANO — The Llano County Library is known as the place to go to learn more about running a business, check out movies, and discover history.

Now, the facility is a Family Place Library, part of a national network that provides a welcoming community environment with resources to help families nurture their children’s development and early learning during the critical first year of life.

To begin this mission, the library is offering a monthlong workshop called Play and Learn Series (PALS) designed for children ages 1-3 and their caregivers.

Several weeks ago, library director Tommi Myers and children’s librarian Ann Rossberg traveled to New York to train for the new workshop and met other librarians from across the country.

“We are a family-centered library,” Rossberg said. “We’re going to become the location for all resources. We’re going to help you.”

PALS seminars are 10-11:30 a.m. Mondays at the library, 102 E. Haynie.

An orientation was held March 20. The first educational part of the workshop is Speech, Hearing, and Language Development on March 27. Llano Independent School District speech therapist Christi Johnson will lead this portion.

Upcoming workshops include:

• Health and germs on April 3 led by Amanda Dukes, a public health nurse for Burnet, Llano, and Marble Falls;

• Child development on April 10 led by Kathleen Gray, a Llano Elementary School counselor;

• Nutrition on April 17 led by Bonita Baczewski, a nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas.

Rossberg said each expert is donating her time.

One important element of the workshop is each child must have a willing adult to play with them and read to them, Rossberg said, because parents and caregivers serve as the primary examples for their children.

“Getting parents to get on the floor and play with (the children) is a really important part,” she said. “The kids need that interaction and that bond. The unconditional love transfers, and they understand that from parents and caregivers. They have a strong foundation. That’s part of what we’re doing.”

Reading to them also helps them put words together to create sentences and teaches them the value of phonetics.

“They won’t struggle,” Rossberg said. “Their greatest role models are those who are raising them. Why not take advantage of that time?”

The children also will learn how to socialize, share, and take turns with others.

Rossberg said research has shown that children’s minds are developing and open to learning between the ages of 1 and 3.

“Their minds are ripe for learning now,” she said. “We won’t bombard them with letters and shapes and colors. That’s not what those kids need to see at that age. It’s important to play and learn all the skills.”

The library received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provision of the Library Services and Technology Act.

More than 400 libraries in 29 states have been designated Family Place Libraries.

Rossberg said the plan is to conduct this workshop twice a year with the next one in the fall.

“We want to help families recognize the library is the place to come for speech, language, and development problems,” she said. “We will give you names of people in our community who can help. There are special resources we have who will come to them.”

Call Rossberg at (325) 247-5248 for more information.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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