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posted August 11, 2004

Thursday (6:30) evening family circle time

July - August by the playground

THURSDAY EVENING CIRCLE GAMES: "Ring Around the Moon": circle games for families. Children's librarian Theo Heras from Lillian Smith Library has had a long-time interest in traditional circle games. She's coming to the park every Thursday to lead parents and children of all ages in these circle games. The fun will begin at 6.30 p.m., near the playground rain shelter, and will run from July 8 to the end of August. All are welcome. So on that day, people can do their farmers' market shopping, eat something cheap and tasty from the bake oven, take the kids to the playground for Theo's free circle game session, and then take everybody home tired and ready for bed. Theo said she wants to do these sessions as a gift to the park, since her own grandchildren have spent so many pleasant hours here (and Theo's son Zio now works at the park).

Here is a letter from Theo Heras, about what she's doing at the park on Thursdays:

I am Theo Heras, Zio Hersh's mother. Zio and his family spend many happy hours at Dufferin Grove Park. Both he and Catherine have told me about the wonderful things that go on there. I would like to contribute something.

I am a children's librarian working at the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library. In my capacity as a children's librarian, I have facilitated programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age groups for many years. I am also a singer. I try, as much as possible, to bring these two disciplines together. My programs include lots of music.

This past summer I took a course in early childhood music education. What we learned in that course were circle games, those games that are no longer being passed down from older children to younger children in the school playground. It's a loss really. When we learned the games in our class, there was a great deal of laughter and spontaneity; trust and camaraderie developed among my classmates. It was an exhilerating experience. I came away from the course wanting to share these games and this experience.

What I'm doing this summer (July-August, 2004) is to run an early evening family circle time at Dufferin Grove Park. It's an hour-long program once a week. The program is open to all members of the community, but designed particularly for families with children from birth to about 8-years-old. This isn't so much "music education" as organized play time. Traditional songs, rhymes and games form the foundation of the program.

Yours truly,

Theo Heras

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