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Local librarian shares timely tips
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I smile not only because it's so darn cute, but also because babies' brains are full of possibilities and, with every word and every description offered, those adults are building bridges for learning.
Studies have shown that early experiences and interactions are critically important in brain development and that while the majority of the brain's cells are formed at birth, early experiences are required to "wire" the brain's circuits for learning.
Our ability to impact brain development is stunning and inspired the theme "Early Years Are Learning Years" for this year's nationally celebrated Week of the Young Child.
Locally, the Early Childhood Development Program of Germanna Community College, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area and The Childcare Network have joined forces to focus attention on this topic.
Building learning bridges is easy--no special skills are required. Simply talk, read and play with young children. Singing and listening to music are important, too. They introduce patterns, language and, of course, movement. Here are some recommendations to get you rocking.
Singer-songwriter Raffi is an oldie but a goodie. His voice alternates easily between sleep-inducing soothing and movement motivation. Many of his original songs like, "Baby Beluga" have been turned into wonderful books that can be sung (or read) aloud. If you're not ready to go solo, there are plenty of albums for singing along.
My favorites are his earliest, "Singable Songs for the Very Young" and "More Singable Songs for the Very Young." Fresh adaptations of traditional songs like "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "Workin' on the Railroad" are included. One of his most famous, "Shake My Sillies Out," debuted on the first album and has become a classic. Children everywhere (and most adults, too) know the lines "Shake, shake, shake my sillies out and wiggle my waggles away."