Out & About: Hartland Story Time Introduces Children to STEM Concepts

Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hartland — Taking the kids to story time is undeniably a great way to improve vocabulary, introduce literacy and provide social outlets.

Now, a new story time in Hartland will focus on books and reading as a way to introduce the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM.

“Picture books are a great way to introduce STEM because they provide a story context,” said Amy McMullen, the children’s librarian at the Hartland Library, who will be leading the free story time. “Reading provides a method of incorporating the STEM vocabulary and practically any book or story can be used for STEM.”

The “I Know Numbers” story time will be happening every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. beginning today at the Hartland Library, 153 Route 5 in Hartland. Kids can expect to listen to a story and then participate in numbers-based activities. The activities are designed for kids who are three and older, but all ages are welcome.

“I love — and have so much fun sharing — how any book or situation can be an opportunity to count,” said McMullen.

There has been some division between humanities and STEM topics in education, but McMullen said that it’s natural to bring both together.

“We incorporate art with STEM because all children and adults learn differently,” McMullen said. “Also, STEM and art are so closely linked. Concepts such as symmetry, light, size and shape can be demonstrated through a simple art project.”

Kids can expect to count participants, fingers and toes, and even the windows in the room, McMullen said. She will also introduce the numerical figures so that children can begin to recognize numbers. Building activities with wooden and foam blocks provide hands-on experimentation with engineering and science.

“You don’t need a ‘science’ book to help children learn science concepts,” McMullen said.

Although the story time will offer kids a variety of opportunities to master concepts, the main focus is on having a good time.

“I do my best to make story time good for all ages,” McMullen said. “We don’t expect infants to join in the counting or singing but we know that infants are watching and listening to everything going on around them. What better way to show a small child that learning is fun?”

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Editor’s note: For more information about the story time, call 802-436-2473.