Community, Education, Feature

First Steps for Toddlers

Toddlers get to run around and play while simultaneously learning.



It’s no secret that Toddlers are very active and all over the place, they are hyper and chaotic and just can’t sit still, and this could make educating them early quite an arduous task. And this is exactly why the Fayetteville Free Library’s program titled First Steps for Toddlers exists.

“We know toddlers are up, they’re moving around,” said Kristen Peirson, Director of Creative Content and Programming for the Library, “you can’t really expect them to sit down for thirty minutes.”

First Steps for Toddlers is an early education program that is tailored to be more active for the Toddlers, incorporating things like dancing and walking, while still getting kids to learn through books and other techniques.

The kids engage in all kinds of activities during the program. They sing songs, shake rattles, walk around, and play around with each other, but Heather Matzel, the Director of Patron Services at the Fayetteville Free Library, says they are priming kids for learning in other ways as well, through STEM, or Sciences Technology Engineering and Mathematics, learning.

“…it was counting today, so right there we’re starting to do mathematics.  We did the five little ducks. Five started and then we went all the way down to zero. So they are actually being exposed to subtraction at a very young age, even though they don’t know that what it is yet…”

Counting isn’t the only thing the toddlers have done during the program, either, as the children have also done activities in the past like playing with blocks, which helps them learn things in engineering.

And while the program is certainly about education, it also helps the children grow socially as well, as it forces them to interact with kids their own age, invites sharing, and teaches them good manners like cleaning up after yourself.

But overall, one of the best parts, if not the best part, about the program for Peirson and Matzel, is the children themselves: getting to know them, and watching them grow up.

“I just love all our repeat patients.” Peirson stated, “I love getting to know the kids over time, and seeing their personalities develop in the Story Times. It’s really cool to watch a baby come in to Baby Story Time, and then they move up to toddler, and then there in preschool, and you kind of get to watch them grow and see the developments their making.”

Something that Matzel wholeheartedly agreed with. “…it’s really a joy to see them grow up in front of your eyes.”