In August, I conducted a MGOL workshop for Parents as Teachers in Superior, Montana. There were only two librarians, but lots of parent educators, PACES educators, Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers, and a variety of people who work in different roles at the Mineral County Health Department.
About 5 years ago. I traveled to Montana for the first time to conduct a training for the state library’s Reading Rendezvous. One of the participants, Laura Acker, is a parent educator. She brought MGOL to this area and the Mineral County Health Department believes the effects have been so positive on families and the community that they brought me here to train more people.
The people in Montana are incredibly friendly and the scenery is exquisite. One of the librarians brought me some Huckleberry jam that was made by her grandmother, and it was delicious. I had never tasted huckleberries before. The person at the Mineral County Health Department recommended that I stay in a yurt rather than a hotel or motel, and it was an incredible experience! (See the yurt below. The cows in the neighboring field liked to come over and moo “hello” in the mornings!)
Today, a few weeks after the training, I received the following email from Laura, who gave me permission to post it:
I am not your typical attendee to this organization’s training. I work for the Mineral County Health Department, Superior, Montana, and I am a parent Educator. I visit families who have young children ages 0-5 in their homes and teach parents about child development and bring fun activities that support optimal development. By default, I was also offering story times in my community’s library because our community did not have one and we were in need of a place for families with young children to gather. The librarian saw an opportunity for me to receive some training in Storytime demonstration and I was fortunate to attend a training hosted by the Montana Library Association in 2019.
At that training I was introduced to the Mother Goose on the Loose story time curriculum. That training was transformational for story time in our small rural county. I was given the tools to deliver a story time that parents saw their children, even babies, engage in. The parents learned songs and stories to take home and perform with their children in their home environment. I saw attendance rise and the community of young parents shared their love of MGOL with others with young children.
Currently, I host story time 2 times a week in two different libraries using the MGOL curriculum. I have been using this curriculum and see the affect it has on school readiness. Children are walking into preschool ready to sit and learn. They know how to take turns. They are familiar with rhyming and how words are broken down into syllables. They are inclusive and celebrate others. Parents are transformed as well. They are asked to engage in their child’s learning right from the beginning and be a role model for how to participate. Parents grow in confidence to sing in public, participate in somewhat goofy actions, and set a routine that encourages literacy. Families in Mineral County feel welcomed into the Library and are checking out children’s books without worry of the consequences (fines, ruined books). Parents report learning that they didn’t realize the importance of repetition until they attended MGOL.
As an implementor of this curriculum, I can’t tell you how many parents thank me for offering something weekly that they can take their children to that brings them so much joy. Parents reported that they do not sing with others outside of church. MGOL provides adults and children that emotional release that singing brings to our bodies and souls. MGOL is transforming parents of young children and I strongly recommend MGOL to any one who works with parents and young children whether they are librarians, child care providers, parent educators, social workers, teachers or whatever profession that feels called to support the bond of the parent child relationship.
I love the fact that a nursery rhyme based early literacy program touches lives in such unique and profound ways. I am grateful every day for the opportunity I have been given with MGOL.