Music has a profound effect on many people – especially children.
To a kid, music is fascinating. A song can help soothe an infant to sleep, and singing a song in a group setting can help children learn rhythm, or repetition of pattern, and even develop social skills.
Debbie Blakeslee leads the Kids Rhythm and Play Group at the Tahlequah Public Library every Monday morning from 10 to 11:30, and believes in the practice of rhyme and rhythm as part of a child’s early development. She and her 6-year-old, Meghan, participated in a similar group for military families on Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma City.
The Tahlequah children’s group Blakeslee leads is for infants and kids up to 5 years old and their caregivers, whether it be mom or dad, a grandparent or even a baby sitter.
Learning how to share is one of the first lessons the group practices.
“We ask the caregiver to bring a toy that the child wouldn’t mind sharing with the other kids. We encourage them to share toys,” said Blakeslee. “A lot of times, a child is always interested in someone else’s toy. We always do a sharing song. We pass a stuffed dog to learn your neighbor’s name. It’s called ‘Bow wow wow, Whose dog art thou?’ They have to pass the dog to their neighbor, and we all say ‘bow wow wow, whose dog art thou?’ And we do classic songs like ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and learning songs, where they learn about the five senses or counting - just basic things that pre-school age children are learning.”
As described on an early childhood development website, The Creativity Institute, kids of all ages express themselves through sounds they find pleasant, or harmonized. Music is pleasing to the listener, the repeated beats or sounds in regular patterns can be fun, while music and rhythm can be helpful to children when needing to express their emotions. It also helps to release energy or direct it toward creative and productive goals, like practicing social skills that will be used in public settings like school or daycare.
“It’s also for the caregiver to be able to interact with other parents or adults,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to stay at home and not have that interaction with other mothers or grandparents, or whoever it is.”
Blakeslee said the group offers a snack time, and items brought are on a rotating schedule so each caregiver may contribute. Activities like the learning songs or parachute play are held during circle time after the kids enjoy their snack.
“We shake the parachute and make things pop like popcorn. The kids really enjoy parachute play,” she said. “We also do freeze stands. We play CDs, and they tell them when to freeze. The caregivers and the children participate together.”
Music has a profound effect on many people – especially children.
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Season of sparkle
Continuing a tradition dating back 20 years, officials for the city of Tahlequah and Northeastern State University jointly flipped the switch Tuesday for Lights On at Seminary Hall.
Held at dusk in front of the venerable campus building, Lights On was hosted by Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, and Penny Turner, wife of NSU President Steve Turner.
Rooming house closes
Operators of The Stepping Stone Rooming House closed the facility doors Tuesday evening, three days ahead of a city-imposed deadline requiring residents to vacate the property if the building wasn’t brought up to code.
Emma Presley and Robert Clark have run the day-to-day operations of the facility for about six years. Now, the two are gathering their own belongings and cleaning up the building so they can be out by Friday.
“I’m ready to move on,” Clark said Tuesday afternoon.
Local authors are gaining popularity
As self-publishing gains popularity, more and more local residents have added the title “published author” to their resumes.
Northeastern State University graduate and Tahlequah resident Dustin Mitchell recently released her children’s book, “Alivia’s Angels,” and has met with success during book signings at NSU, the Cherokee County Community Building and Stage.
RAD courses available by arrangement
When a woman is being physically threatened, a bit of knowledge can provide the margin she needs to defend herself and escape danger.
Such is the reasoning behind the Rape Aggression Defense program, which is offered locally by law enforcement officers and deputy marshals.
“Fortunately for our community, we have several RAD instructors prepared to teach the classes,” said James Flores, investigator for the Northeastern State University Police. “There are four instructors at the NSU Police Department, five at the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, and one at the Tahlequah Police Department. We frequently work together when we teach courses.”
Accused child killer dies of cancer
A man accused of killing a 3-year-old child in Tahlequah last month died Tuesday morning, according to officials at the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Buford Ellison had been hospitalized in Tahlequah since early last week. Administrators at CCDC worked with District 27 prosecutors to have Ellison moved from the jail to the hospital when Ellison’s health conditions began to deteriorate.
According to police, Ellison was suffering from the late stages of cancer.
He and his common-law wife, Jeri Danyce Sanders, were arrested last month at the Stepping Stone Rooming House and accused of murder in the death of Sanders’ child, Dakota. Detectives claim a baby sitter realized Dakota had died several hours after Sanders left the boy’s “lifeless body” in her room.
City council extends Dumpster regulation compliance date
Tahlequah city councilors have given local businesses an extra year to comply with new Dumpster regulations.
Local businessman Bryce Felts has been asking the council to exclude businesses that existed as of June 3, 2013, from following the ordinance. He insisted the new regulations would cost businesses and the city too much money and wouldn’t solve the problem of containing and hiding trash.
Vintage toys making a comeback
The Thanksgiving leftovers have been packed away, Christmas trees and decorations are appearing, and children are working busy on their wish lists for Santa.
Some shoppers may be surprised to find time-honored favorites mixed in with the electronic gadgetry on this year’s lists. A glance a retail advertising circulars will show that Easy-Bake ovens, Furbee, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nerf, Star Wars and My Little Pony are not only available, but are popular among today’s kids.
Adding a twist to the Christmas tree
With Thanksgiving passed and December begun, Tahlequah is now bedecked in holiday lights and color.
Conventional decorations account for most of the decor, but Humane Society of Cherokee County and the Woodall School library each put their own little spins on the traditional Christmas tree.
The HSCC has decorated three trees with handmade construction paper “stockings,” each featuring an animal at its shelter. The Woodall library tree isn’t a tree at all - it’s a stack of books, but it looks a lot like a tree.
Stilwell pair thwarted from taking TVs
Two Stilwell women who allegedly tried to steal televisions from Walmart Sunday morning were arrested after they tried locking themselves into bathroom stalls at Burger King.
Tahlequah Police Lt. Billy Dowling said Shavana J. Reynaga, 29, and Lawanda J. Soap, 33, tried to take two 60-inch Vizio TVs out the front door of Walmart. Reynaga pushed the cart through the store and out the doors with Soap helping her pull the cart, according to Dowling’s report.
Authorities: Hunter shot, ‘left for dead’
Family and friends of a Coweta man shot Friday night in the Welling area hope the public can help them identify the shooter.
John Mason, 27, was hunting with his father on Corps property a couple miles south of the Illinois River Bridge, near South 540 Road.
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