All posts tagged "parenting"

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Adventures in Preschool Science

Science helps us to understand the natural world and gives us the tools that help us predict what will happen next. Preschool-aged children are at the very beginning of their exploration of the world. It is hard for us to remember what it was like to see something in the world for the first time. Everything is new, exciting, and seemingly magical. This is the age when children first begin to ask “Why?”. They have an ingrained curiosity as they try and make sense of the world around them. At this stage in a child’s development it’s important that parents and caregivers create a science rich environment; asking questions and developing a child’s critical thinking skills. 

Picture of child with experiment

At the Berryessa Library we held a six week program called Adventures in Preschool Science. Each week parents and children were invited to explore a topic. Families learned about plants, weather, color, engineering, chemistry, and the human body. Each week I gathered the children at the front of the room and we read a book about the topic (fiction or non fiction). After reading the story, families went around the room and explored the different science stations. Each station had an experiment related to that day’s topic and a sheet of questions that the parent or caregiver could use to engage with their child throughout the experiment. All of the experiments and questions were chosen to help build those critical thinking skills, to give the children an expanded vocabulary, to teach them more about how the world around them works, and to learn new ways of communicating their ideas.


This program was as much about teaching the parents new skills as it was to engage their children. Parents and caregivers can create science rich environments at home without much effort. One of the most simple things you can do is to ask your child questions about the world while going about your everyday tasks. Ask your child what they think will happen when you add eggs to the pan, how do they think rain falls from the sky, what color will it make when you put a drop of red and a drop of blue food coloring in the pancake batter? It’s not about getting the right answer, it’s about asking the questions! If the child doesn’t know why or how, ask them to make a guess. Take the opportunity to teach them why or how something works. If you don’t know the answer either bring them to the library or do research online so that you can learn together. 

People with plant experiment

There are many other ways in which you can create a science rich home environment. You might grow a plant together or go on walks and talk about the plants, the sky, buildings, bridges, and cars. If you have a broken toy or electronic device, take it apart together and see if you can figure out how it works. Check out non fiction books from the library or watch nature documentaries. There is a wealth of simple science experiments to be found online and in our libraries. Above all else, create an environment for your children where they are free to explore and investigate the world around them. Ask and answer questions, try new things, and learn together! 


Jump into Science: Active Learning for Preschool Children by Rae Pica


Thinking Big, Learning Big by Marie Faust Evitt


Science Play! Beginning Discoveries for 2 to 6-year-olds by Jill Frankel Hauser

National Summer Learning Day

Logo for Summer Learning Day June 20

Mark your calendars! National Summer Learning Day is coming up on Friday June 20th! If you don't want to wait, you don't have to. You can celebrate Summer Learning Day all summer long.


How can you celebrate?


1. Sign up for our Summer Reading Challenge! This year's bingo grid is filled with lots of fun activities for everyone in the family.


2. Find out what events and programs are taking place at your local library this summer.


3. Use our Discover and Go program for discounted or even free tickets to Bay Area museums (Including the San Jose Tech Museum and the Cal Academy of Sciences in San Francisco!)


4. Host a family literacy celebration. Talk to your children about your favorite books and topics. Learn about a new subject together, or build something together. Ask grandparents to share stories about their youth.

The Hard Work of Playtime

Playtime can sometimes be seen as a distraction from the educational lessons of numbers and letters. But play is one of the most valuable ways in which children learn about their world, hone in and define their skills, as well as develop new skills in the process.


  • Play promotes the ability for children to learn deliberately.
  • Play gives children a way to express themselves when they don’t have the words to do so otherwise.
  • Play promotes language, critical thinking and organizational skills.


What it looks like: Painting/Drawing

What is really is: Writing skills


Make Your Own Art - Painting coverFor young children, working with crayons and markers is a basic introduction to literacy. They are working on their fine motor skills by learning how to hold onto a writing tool. They are learning brush strokes, which will help with forming letters as they get older. They are learning in an easy and relaxing environment, allowing them to be creative with their designs.


Check out our painting and How to Draw collections for instructions and inspiration on your child’s next project!


What it looks like: Rhymes and Singing

What is really is: Storytelling, narration


My First Nursery Rhymes coverBasic nursery rhymes, fun and silly songs help children develop their narration / storytelling skills. Through nursery rhymes, they learn that stories have a beginning, middle and an end. Singing allows them to develop and learn about concepts outside of their daily experiences.


Attend our storytimes, or check out a book on nursery rhymes or a music cd for fun in the car and at home.


What is looks like: Trips to the park, zoo, etc.

What it really is: An awareness of the larger world


Discover & GoPlay can be done safely in the home, it can also be done outside in parks, grocery stores, the zoo, museums, or even the post office. Every outing has the potential to be a fun and educational venture. By exploring the world around them, children learn about the societal functions of their community as well as their role in the community. They learn about community helpers (police, fireman) local retailers, volunteers, organizations, business, vehicles, buildings, etc. All the details that make up the world around them.


Check out our Discover & Go for free or reduced price tickets to bay Area museums for Bay Area library cardholders.


"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious

learning. Play is really the work of childhood."

- Fred Rogers

Social Workers in the Library - Last Session At King Until August

NEED HELP?  Help is here:  Social Workers in the Library


At King Library: Tonight, May 5, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Call: 1-408-808-2350

(Please note: Last session at King Library until August 2014!)


Is something happening in your life that you have questions about concerning:

  • Education
  • Emergency Services - food/clothing/housing and crisis support
  • Employment
  • Family Matters - parenting, childcare, divorce, elder issues and domestic violence
  • Health Improvement - mental, physical and health insurance
  • Immigration
  • Support Groups - men, women and teens


Make an appointment to get a FREE 20 minute session of information and referral or advice, from a member of the National Association of Social Workers. Everyone at some point in their lives could use the advice of a social worker. Our volunteer social workers are offering it - Free of Charge.


Social Workers in the Library, is a partnership between the San José Public Library, San José State University's School of Social Work, National Association Of Social Workers - California Chapter, and the SJSU School of Library and Information Services.

Fun Books for New Dads

For new dads having your first child can be an exciting and exhilarating time, but also one filled with lots of questions. Luckily San Jose Public Library offers a multitude of fun books to help guide you through this stressful time. Here are some books for new dads that will help you out and also help entertain:


The Baby Owner's Manual cover The Baby Owner's Maual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance by Louis Borgenicht and Joe Borgenicht

Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Baby Owner's Manual explores hundreds of frequently asked questions: What's the best way to swaddle a baby? How can I make my newborn sleep through the night? When should I bring the baby to a doctor for servicing? Whatever your concerns, you'll find the answers here—courtesy of celebrated pediatrician Dr. Louis Borgenicht and his son, Joe Borgenicht. Together, they provide plenty of useful advice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of childcare. 



Show Dad How coverShow Dad How: the New Dad's Guide to Baby's First Year by Shawn Bean

For dads who are excited to be involved with their new baby, but might not quite know where to start, Show Dad How is an ideal resource. From practical to playful, 156 awesome things every new father needs to know--one step at a time. In a series of nearly wordless, highly informative, often hilariously illustrated, step-by-step activities, dads-to-be learn how to do dozens of useful tasks. 




A Man's Guide to Having a Baby coverA Man's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything a New Dad Needs to Know about Pregnancy and Caring for a Newborn by Dominic Bliss

Practical advice helping new dads prepare for the biggest event of their lives. So your partner's pregnant? If you're like 99% of the male population, two words will immediately have sprung to mind: great and arrrgghhhh! Don't panic, you won't be the first to freak out at the good news, and this handy little guide is here to talk you though everything that's going to happen in the nine months before the baby is born and the first year after the birth. Written with the dad in mind, it's full of great tips to ease your nerves, fill you with confidence, and make it sound like you know what you're doing when you talk to other new parents .

Posted by Olin Laster on Apr 28, 2014 | Comments: 0 |

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