By Heather Cameron
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Coaldale Public Library keeps even the littlest of kids busy with the Little Makers Program.
Kendra Birss, operator of the Little Makers Program at the Coaldale Public Library, says that the Little Makers program runs in tandem with Lego Club on Tuesday afternoons from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. and gives parents with two to five-year-olds an opportunity to sing songs, listen to a story, and then build with Duplo blocks.
“It allows parents to drop their older children off at Lego Club, but then have a way to entertain their younger children while they wait,” said Birss. “It also gives the younger siblings ownership since they get to participate in a similar program to the big kids; some of the program participants refer to it as ‘Duplo Club’ (just like Lego Club). It is a drop-in program for any caregiver with toddlers and preschoolers, not just Lego Club participants.”
Birss says that the library began offering this program in April 2023 and it was such a hit in the spring, it was brought back in the fall.
“The response has been amazing from families,” said Birss. “I’ve gotten great feedback and it has really grown in popularity”.
The program, Birss says, was conceived of by the Head Librarian, Dothlyn McFarlane, and herself in response to seeing the large amount of parents and young children who waited around the library for the older kids to finish at Lego Club.
“Each week, I bring a different theme to the program like farm animals, spiders, pumpkins, dinosaurs, etc., and I sing fun, energetic, sometimes silly preschool songs with the kids,” said Birss. “I then read them a picture book (also within that week’s theme) and then we build for 20 minutes or so with Duplo blocks (and sometimes we even try to build things with the blocks from the story, like a barn). We end with clean up and a snack that the library provides,” said Birss.
For more information about Little Makers, contact Coaldale Public Library at 403-345-1340.
“This program is important because it is helping to build early literacy skills, gross and fine motor skills, problem solving abilities and social skills with other children in the program, as well as providing an opportunity for the parents and caregivers to make connections with other parents,” said Birss. “I love this program and I think parents and their toddlers/preschoolers would find it really fun and engaging if they attended”.