Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
A mole made a mountain, out of his hill, on Wednesday, at the headquarters branch of the Clayton County Library System.
A handful of children gathered at the library, and listened to stories about an owl with noisy neighbors, and the mole who made a mountain out of his hill, just to spite an intimidating fox that wanted to get past the hill.
The youths also sang songs about monkeys jumping on a bed, and a woman who was "ridin' six white horses" when she came around the mountain.
The children were participants in the library's weekly "Imaginature" program.
"We're doing it to promote appreciation of nature, and animals," said Youth Services Assistant Sharon Jones, who runs the program. "We try to focus on the forest, and woodland animals in this area, so each week focuses on a different animal."
The mole was in the spotlight this week.
Jones said the "Imaginature" program has been around for six months, and is held every Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m. She said it was previously known as "Pajamarama Time," before she re-worked it to have a nature theme.
"I love animals, and I love the outdoors, and I wanted to do something in that area, for children to learn to love animals as well," Jones said.
The program features a simple format. The children, most of whom are pre-school-through-elementary-school age, listen to a handful of short stories, which are read by Jones. They sing a couple of songs between stories, and, sometimes, they dance while they sing.
"It's fun," said Jamya Shoemaker, 5, of Jonesboro, who was attending for the first time, on Wednesday. "I liked the songs and the stories."
Another Jonesboro youngster, Atasha Widemond, 6, added, "It's fun, because we can play, and dance, and read books ..." Widemond said she has been attending "Imaginature" for several weeks now.
Just about every time the group sang a song, she and Riverdale youth, Khasiyah Thomas, 6, got up and did a variety of dances, ranging from Hula dances, to plain, old "shake your groove thing" dances.
"The music is my favorite part," Thomas said.
Each week, the children wrap up the program by demonstrating their craft-making skills. This week's craft involved a scene of a skunk camping out, and roasting marshmallows over a fire. The youngsters colored in cut-outs of trees, a mountain, a sun, a tent, and the marshmallows.
They then glued those objects onto a piece of paper, that already had the skunk, and the campfire, printed on it.
"My kids are always running, and screaming to show their dad what they made that week," said Stockbridge resident, Amelia Ayala, of her children, Naela, 3, and Israel, 1. The mother said she has been bringing them to the program for a year, going back to when it was "Pajamarama Time," to get them ready for school.
"They don't go to school, yet, so they like having that structure, and that opportunity to learn the songs, and make the crafts," she said. "I feel like it's getting them ready, in a sense, for school. They are learning to sit quietly, and listen while someone reads to them."
The headquarters library branch is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro. For more information about "Imaginature," call (770) 473-3850.
Meanwhile, the fox will continue trying to find a way around the mole's hill.