PILOT MOUNTAIN — Pre-schoolers were given an opportunity to appreciate the stars in the night sky as the Charles H. Stone Memorial Library resumed its summer reading program.
Branch Librarian Anna Nichols explained that a nocturnal theme in this year’s program has been emphasized. She said that this has given a children an opportunity to explore what happens at night and perhaps even overcome fears about the unknown. This marks the thirteenth year for the event.
“This has been a great opportunity,” said Nichols. “We have such a great time.”
The program has utilized an igloo-shaped planetarium on loan from the Yadkin County Public Library, which shares the lab with others in the North West Regional Library system.
Participants benefited from Lanette Phillips’ lifelong interest in the stars as she told the children Native American lore concerning stars and constellations seen in the night skies. Phillips, a former planetarium director, was able to demonstrate this to children through the library’s use of the inflatable planetarium.
“Once you discover the planets and the stars you can find your way around the sky every night,” said Phillips, who is a sixth grade science teacher at McGee’s Crossroads Middle School in Johnston County. “Children are just naturally drawn to stars and space because there are so many unanswered questions.”
Phillips welcomes the chance to relate different stories about the stars to children.
“The only thing we commonly learn about the stars is through the Greek civilization version of how to see constellations,” added Phillips. She said many learn of nighttime stars through these Greek names such as the Big Dipper and Orion.
She told participants that the North Star, for instance, is referred to in many Native American traditions as the Camp Fire of the North. It is also used for guidance. She said that the big dipper is referred to as the Revolving Male and the Cassiopeia Constellation is known as the revolving female.
Phillips told of a tradition that says braves in the sky chase the “Great Bear” and wound but do not kill the bear. This tradition says the leaves turn red in the fall from the blood of this celestial bear. She also told the children about a great spider that climbs down the Milky Way and on to the land.
She said that she has always loved the stars and had to learn about them on her own. Phillips said it was a natural transition for her to move into teaching sixth graders, whose curriculum includes studying the stars.
The summer program’s schedule includes local yoga instructor Dianne Blakemoore, who will lead a yoga class for participants who are 5 and younger, on July 17 at 10 a.m. at the library.
On July 18, “Amazing Teacher: Dare to Dream” will be held at the library at 10 a.m. and will feature Steve Somers who will use magic to teach children about the power of dreams.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.