Not school of rock, but SK toddlers love Baby Band

Little visitors to the Manchester Library are rocking out to a program that’s louder than most activities there.

The “Baby Band” program of the Kitsap Regional Library is an idea credited to youth services librarian Aleah Jurnecka in Silverdale. The program consists of parents bringing children ages 3 and younger to play percussion instruments such as shakers and bells. The librarian leads the kids in musical tracks and songs to sing and dance along to as well.

The interaction with music is linked to research that notes a tie with early learning in motor and reading skills.

Youth services librarian Nell Ramsay in Manchester said music can stimulate the auditory system, which is key for children as they develop language and reading skills. “Additionally, kids have an opportunity for physical growth through gross and fine motor skills, whether shaking instruments or doing full body movement to the music,” she said.

Ramsay said the program can expose kids to different musical instruments and genres. It also provides an in-person interaction with other children who may not have had access to it during COVID. “The reasons for celebrating music with kids are just manifold — huge,” she said.

The program has expanded to other branches before and after the pandemic. When it came time to expand to South Kitsap, Ramsay said she was excited. “Since we had a baby storytime already in Port Orchard that does really well, I said I would love to give Baby Band a try here at Manchester, and it’s received a wonderful reception,” she said.

Over the past few months since completion of the branch’s remodeling, Baby Band has become a regular early-morning favorite. Reagin Knudson said she loves taking her two children there. “I think it’s really good to expose them to music and socially get out of the house. Both of them love music,” she said.

Even though Knudson said her kids like to wander around most of the time, it’s still a good musical environment that can help them grow and learn. “It’s a lot of fun, and they get excited,” she said. “They know when we’re going to the library, and they know what we’re doing there.”

A toddler watches the librarian do actions for a song while catching the eyes of another youngster.
Dad watches his kid play with a drum pad. Even the child in the car seat is enjoying the performance.