Familiar Wonders

Municipal Library opens its doors to kindergartners ‚Äč
Posted on 10/18/2023
Zolah Jones

Poplar Bluff kindergartners had the opportunity to explore the newly completed mural in the sensory garden of the Municipal Library during a series of field trips arranged last week.

“I don’t know who has more fun, us or them,” commented Assistant Library Director Belinda Birrer about the hour-long tours scheduled by class Tuesday through Friday, Oct. 10-13. Birrer noted how she enjoys the enthusiasm of the students who brag about having “been here before.”

The kindergarten students first enjoyed a music and movement session, story time and a pumpkin experiment led by Children & Youth Services Librarian Connie Roberson. Then they broke out into groups with library personnel, visiting the various activity stations designed to engage young readers.

“We just want them to get familiar with our services so we can help support early literacy,” Roberson explained. With a background in early childhood education, Roberson said the library has always been dear to her heart, as her late mother Jean Parsons also retired from the public institution as a clerk.

A scavenger hunt was orchestrated on the painted walls surrounding the raised flower beds of the recently unveiled piece entitled “Familiar Wonders” by watercolorist Mattilyn Grace Stacy, depicting the seasons, plants and wildlife of Southeast Missouri. Stacy, 19, attended Poplar Bluff Schools for several years, and was otherwise homeschooled.

When asked, kindergarten teacher Shelia Skorcz informed her students that she had been to the library “100 times.” Growing up in Fisk, she can remember visiting the North Main Street facility as a young girl on Saturdays, participating in story hour and checking out books. “We were country kids and my mom would read a lot,” she said.

According to Skorcz, the students have been taking field trips to the library since before the present-day Kindergarten Center opened in 2010, and was then located at what is Mark Twain School today. She started with the district in 1997, when the former 5th & 6th Grade Center had first opened, further condensing the elementary grade configuration, originally K-6.

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Cutline: Kindergartner Zolah Jones of Margaret Peacock’s class sits beside an autumn scene from the new mural in the sensory garden of the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

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