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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
After perusing the shelves for a new book to check out, the children sat in front of the Children’s Programming Room in the Walpole Library.
The glass doors were closed, but as the clock’s hands inched closer to 1:30 p.m., the children peered through the glass, watching Walpole Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Programs’ (CFCE) coordinator, Yvette Sammarco, and Walpole Library’s children’s librarian, Kara Dean, setting up for “Parachute Play!”
As the two opened the doors and welcomed the children inside the room, the children soon discovered that there would be more to the program than, well, playing with a parachute. With the hour-long program, children ages three and up work on their literacy skills, learn new songs, stretch and strengthen muscles, and unleash their creativity.
Kara - or Miss Dean, as the children called her - began the program by reading Mo Willem’s “Leonardo the Terrible Monster.” The children listened contentedly and giggled when Kara used funny voices delivered the dialogue.
When they finished the story, Yvette revealed the parachute, unfolding it as she gave the children instructions on how to shake the parachute, raise it high, and bring it down low. They practiced these maneuvers once each participant grabbed hold of one of the parachute’s bright pink handles, preparing for one of the parachute songs they would soon hear.
As they raised the parachute into the air, many of the children expressed that they wanted to run underneath it. So, Kara and Yvette recruited some of the parents and caregivers to join in on the fun and help hold the ‘chute, while the children stood below it. The caregivers also assisted in giving rides on the parachute, which tasked them to pull the parachute in circles as a handful of children sat in the middle.
They continued playing as they listened to a couple of songs, including one that instructed the children to walk the parachute in circles, raise it in the air, and freeze in their spots.
Soon, Yvette brought the craft activity on the tables to the children’s attention. Placed in front of each chair was a piece of colored construction paper with a cutout of a butterfly laid on top of it.
The children chose their seats and set to work using the multicolored dotters on the table to add some color to their butterfly’s white wings. As they finished their coloring, Yvette helped the children tape pipe cleaner antennae to the butterflies.
With a full hour of activities that all of the participants were able to enjoy, both Kara and Yvette could be sure that the Walpole Library’ upcoming CFCE program would be just as well-attended.