KOCHI: When it comes to introducing children to books and arts, Maria Mathews feels that no age is too young. Maria, who specialises in arts and crafts sessions with children, especially toddlers, is leading a story telling session for toddlers aged one to four at Schoolkutti.com Children’s library at Vellayambalam in the city. She says there are hardly any fun-filled learning activities focussed on toddlers which is why she decided to come up with such a session.
“It could be because parents here have the luxury to have someone take care of them at home,” she says. Maria says she loves working with young children. Apart from that, baking has always been a hobby. “I used to bake regularly from home for friends and family when in UK. Along with that, I also used to organise storytelling and craft sessions for toddlers,” she said.
Maria adds that storytelling sessions and activities should begin for children at an earlier age. “Back in the UK, parents would bring their babies as young as three or four months, and get together in a government library. There they conduct Rhyme Time, sing out nursery rhymes and read out stories to them. There would also be puppets and other stuffed toys so that babies and toddlers feel comfortable,” she said.
While many might think that toddlers are hard to teach, Maria feels it is just a matter of getting to know them better. Not just that, she feels that toddlers have no inhibitions and need to be exposed to activities with other kids. Maria says she had exposed such activities to her son at an early age. “I started reading out books and stories to my son from when he was six months.
In the course of time, he started enjoying the story-telling sessions. Everything depends on how much willing people are to experiment. It is not just about the story, rather it is more about how you express or tell it to them,” she said.She feels the same about craftwork. Maria is planning to conduct similar initiatives for toddlers, in an effort to introduce them to books in a fun way.