Mary (pseudonym) is a young girl who spends a lot of time these days at the Thomas Memorial Library. However, it wasn’t always that way for her. As an infant and toddler Mary had intense problems with noise, leaving home, and trusting caregivers other then her mom. Her parents sought medical advice, did research, and interviewed childcare experts. They attempted to place Mary in numerous childcare settings and worked with many nannies. All efforts failed. as Mary would either get physically upset or become frozen and withdrawn. Mary’s parents had accepted that she was likely to need special services upon her entering school.
In a final effort to have Mary included in group activities, Mary and her mom began attending pre-school programs at the Thomas Memorial Library. At first Mary was unwilling to participate, staying close to her mother’s side and watching the other children. But there was something about the librarian’s kindness, her soft, beautiful singing, and her patient teaching that captured Mary’s attention. Day after day, Mary would ask to go to the library to “see Rachel”. After months of observing and countless invitations from Rachel to participate, one day Mary finally did. She left her mother’s side, walked across the room, hugged Rachel, and participated in her first class. After that day, everything seemed to change for Mary and her family.
Mary learned she could completely trust the children’s librarian, and continued to attend children’s programs. She began to develop an insatiable appetite for reading picture books. She learned what it meant to be part of a group, follow rules, be a good participant, and make new friends. Now several years later, Mary has successfully transitioned to elementary school. She is very outgoing, makes friends easily, loves her teachers, and appears at no risk of requiring special services. To Mary and her family, Rachel Davis is a quiet hero that changed all of their lives.
Like Mary’s true story, research evidence has shown that the participation of children in high quality pre-school programs have positive effects on “learning, adaptive behavior, and health” (Brookings institution Report, 2017, link below). The Thomas Memorial Library offers many enriching educational programs for pre-school children that help support their transition into the learning environment. Over 300 children participate in these programs. Programs are listed on the TML website, on library flyers, and in newsletters. Come find out more!
Jennifer Bodenrader, a member of the Thomas Memorial Library Foundation Storytelling Committee, authored this true story about Mary (a pseudonym).