Santa Barbara Public Library System will host a free weekly bilingual playgroup for young children and their caregivers, 8:30-10:30 a.m. starting Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Eastside Library 1102 E. Montecito St.
Community members can get a taste of the playgroup when the Library on the Go is set up at Kids World playground Alameda Park, 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
The playgroup program will offer a comfortable, supportive atmosphere where babies, toddlers and preschool-age children have time to play with educational toys and learn together. There is no need to register.
Caregivers are encouraged to drop in and linger over a cup of coffee while engaging in play and learning activities with their children. They can come late or leave early if needed.
Midway through the open play time, the group will gather for bilingual songs and short stories followed by a snack. Occasionally, guest community experts will be available to visit with participants and answer questions about such opics as child development and nutrition.
Participants will be given their own musical shaker eggs, books and other learning toys after they visit the playgroup multiple times.
The project is the result of Santa Barbara Public Library’s participation in a pilot program through the California State Library Early Learning with Families initiative and supported by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.
Along with seven other libraries that received grants through the project, Santa Barbara Library staff explored current research regarding the importance of play and the impact fostering a growth mindset can have on school readiness.
Participating libraries are expanding on a successful PlayCafe model developed by Oakland Public Library, designed to extend welcome to Friends, Family and Neighbors who care informally for children in the community.
“Santa Barbara Public Library is excited to add the Stay and Play sessions to our calendar of early literacy classes,” said library director Jessica Cadiente. “Our goal is to meet the community where they’re at, and offer high quality, research-based learning opportunities for young children; and these new classes with a flexible, drop-in format achieve both goals.”
The library serves as a gathering place for young families and caregivers and also provides regular storytimes, music and science programs for children. For more about happenings at the libraries, individuals can access the SBPL web calendar with all events, programs and classes, and/or sign-up for the SBPL newsletter in English or Spanish.
Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org. All library programs are free and open to the public.
— Molly Wetta for city of Santa Barbara.