NORMAN — The Norman Public Library is making a connection with some of its youngest visitors and soon-to-be readers — through music.
“Music grows every part of the brain, from listening skills, language development, coordination, concentration and memory to logical thinking, reading and writing,” said Mary Ann Boersma, child development specialist with the Cleveland County Health Department.
That's the point behind Music Connection, a twice-weekly program of the Children's Services Department of the library.
Norman Music Connection is a reorganization of a program the library has offered for the past five years.
To celebrate the kickoff of the new effort, the community is invited to programs set for 7 p.m. Thursday and 10:30 a.m. Friday.
The program is offered at those times most Thursdays and Fridays, giving parents the option of a morning or evening opportunity.
During those times, the traditional “quiet in the library” moniker in the children's department does not apply, as children sing, play instruments and dance.
“Hearing something in a song really helps young children to learn it,” said children's assistant librarian Beverly Theige, who leads the classes each week.
The program is for ages 3 to 7 and features songs, rhymes, some dances and a chance to play a few simple instruments. During the summer, local musicians share their talents with the groups and allow children to look at their instruments.
For younger children, the Rhythm Babies class, which is offered at 9:30 a.m. Fridays, often swells to nearly 100 children and parents, as some of the library's youngest customers get an early taste of sound and song.
The library has hosted music-centered classes for more than a decade, when longtime library supporter Gloria Jean Fenn hosted the Rhythm Babies class once a month. Theige came on board about six years ago to expand that class as well as create a class for slightly older children.
In each age group, Theige tries to include repetition in what children do, often sharing some of the same rhymes and songs for a month or so at a time as part of the program.
“Many times a child may come and be completely silent, or keep bouncing off the walls, and you wonder if they're getting anything from it,” Theige said. “But then after a month of it, they are participating a lot more, or I'll hear from their parents that they are singing some of the song we've done here at home. It's very rewarding to hear about that.”
To learn more
For more information on any of the programs and services offered by the library's children's department, call 701-2630 or go online to www.justsoyouknow.us/norman.
Christian Potts is public information officer for the Norman Public Library.