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Children’s Centre online story hour continues with lively sharing of books and ideas every Saturday by 10 a.m. (West African Time) The online format has enabled children and parents from near and far to participate, with both storytellers and children presenting. At the same time Children’s Centre team members visit schools, including this visit by Dr. Meg Ngwuchukwu to Kids Quest Academy in Nsukka as part of their celebration of literacy week in March 2021.
Adolescent health was the timely theme of the 2020 International School Library Month (ISLM), which Children’s Centre celebrated on Nov. 5 with students from Urban Girls’ Secondary School and Excellent Academy. Prof. Nkadi Onyegegbu led the discussion, while members addressed such health risks as unstable homes, unwanted pregnancy, drug abuse, and menstrual pains. A question-and-answer session took up additional issues like masturbation, boyfriend/girlfriend, and homosexuality. Students from Urban Girls’ presented a drama on youth delinquency, and Prof. Jo Alumanah gave the final recap of a most stimulating session.
In response to the physical isolation imposed by COVID-19, Children’s Centre introduced an online teen reading club using the whatsapp platform. The group meets every Saturday evening 6-7 p.m. to discuss a story from Tekena Ikoko’s book, I Wish I Knew This before I Was Fourteen. Using a series of illustrative tales, the book aims at helping teenagers develop skills in self awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social competence. Stories so far have centered on issues of child sexual abuse, bullying, stigmatization, parental and peer relationships and overcoming rejection. The forum enables free sharing of views among teens, with adult members chipping in as well, in a lively exchange, always exceeding the time. Membership is open to all.
Saturday mornings 10 a.m. is time for the weekly Children’s Centre storyhour via zoom. The hour features an entertaining menu of folktales from far and near (from the Igbo tale of Tortoise and the birds to the German folktale Rumplestiltskin); stories of everyday life encouraging children to never give up on their dreams; and informative features on topics such as pollinators of the plants around us.
Saturday story hour activities for the first quarter of 2020 got off to a roaring start with a full program of stories & games, puzzles & puppets, Lego & play, every Saturday at 10 a.m.
Gracious Nursery & Primary School, Orba visited the library in March shortly before our COVID-19 shutdown. Children toured the library, shared stories, & played with puzzles, puppets & games. We hope this is the first of many such excursions by area schools as soon as we are once more open.
The Children Centre Library marked the World Book Day at Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nsukka. It was a fun-filled day for the pupils from nearby schools who participated. The occasion, chaired by University Librarian Prof. Chinwe Ezeani, featured a book display, story shared by a former staff child Akwugo Amucheazi Balogun via Skype, dances by Dr. Ezinne Njoku and Mr. Blind, and much more.
Children’s Centre celebrated World Book Day 2020 by catching them very young through visits to ante-natal & post-natal clinics. The visits began with a chance meeting of our Chair, Dr. Ngozi Osadebe, with young mothers at Akulue Memorial Hospital. The response was so enthusiastic she recognized a new direction for Children’s Centre outreach. At Akulue Memorial Hospital, University Medical Centre, UNN. Bishop Shanahan Hospital and Nsukka Health Centre, a team led by Ngozi, Elizabeth Babarinde and Evangeline Nwankwo talked with expectant and young mothers on pregnancy and childcare, as well as the importance of sharing books & reading with children, beginning with their babies. So interesting was the talk that our team was invited to come and share information & ideas every week.
Children of all ages enjoyed a rich variety of activities during the 2019 vacation program. Puppet play, stories and active play for juniors.
Older children learned practical skills in making bead jewelry and slippers, baked goods, and computer-generated cards; developed creative and information skills through drama, debate and creative writing; and enjoyed excursions to the Computing Centre and Home Science kitchen and sewing laboratory.
Children entertained parents and friends in the holiday program Grand Finale Sept. 4th. Preschoolers sang a song about the continents; the primary group performed a dance; while the senior group presented a drama and debate. Children also exhibited beads, slippers and soap made during the program
In order to encourage literacy and a love for reading in primary school children, the Children’s Centre introduced a reading club with Central and Community Primary Schools in nearby Onuiyi. The 2019 Reading Club took off in February at Children’s Centre Library with reading of The Beautiful Tree and Happy the Street Child by F. M. Mlekwa.
Some later editions held on site at the schools because of transport issues. In June children looked at the causes of war and its effect on adults and children alike in Afi and the Magic Drum by Thecla Midiohouan, and explored the concept of witchcraft and recent accusations against children in Eno’s Story by Ayodele Olofintuade. Both books generated very lively discussion.
Children’s Centre celebrated the 2019 World Book Day with Library and Information Science students and schoolchildren. LIS students marched for reading awareness while the Head of Department, Prof. Nancy Achebe, sensitized members of the public to the importance of books and reading via the media. A team from Children’s Centre Committee visited schools in the area to share stories and promote learning.
ISLM culminated in a Grand Finale at the Children’s Centre on Nov. 5, attended by 100 pupils (twenty from each school) and their teachers. A welcome address by Ngozi Osadebe urged children to share reading experiences and make friends with pupils from other schools. Elizabeth Babarinde shared a Nigerian folktale and led singing activities. Evangel Obim talked on Developing a reading culture; while Grace Onyebuchi discussed Why I love my school library. After a lively musical interlude led by Florence Chukwurah, Grace introduced children to educational use of social media. Ngozi Osadebe concluded with introduction of the bookmark program, a way of sharing Nigerian culture with children in other lands.
October 2018 saw a round of activities on the theme: Why I Love My School Library. We began with a series of story hour visits to five public primary schools. A team of four—Grace Onyebuchi, Elizabeth Babarinde, Evangel Obim and Judith Ezegwu—shared books and knowledge about cultures of East and Southern Africa, Europe, Asia and South America with primary grades 3-6. This introduced the children to varied cultures while exploring universal themes relevant to children everywhere; the program also stimulated love of reading and introduced varied library resources.
Children’s Centre celebrated International Literacy Day 2018 with reading and storytelling activities led by Committee Chair Ngozi Osadebe and staff member Florence Nwachukwu.
Children’s Centre celebrated World Book Day in March 2018 with a workshop on developing reading culture for pupils from 15 primary schools within Nsukka Central. Dr. Amaka Ejikeme and Mrs. Ify Nwadike- Obim gave talks on the theme. Mrs Victoria Fagbemi-Akanmidu and Stanley Chukwuemeka from SWS Foundation told stories of their personal life experiences on how they started reading from early life and how determined they were, aiming at fulfilling their life dreams. We also had a comedian Ugwu Kenneth from the Department of English and Literary Studies to make the event lovely and colorful, while Mrs. Elizabeth Babarinde took the pupils on a library tour.
For secondary school students the 2018 World Book Day was celebrated on Friday 23rd February with a program at Anglican Grammar School, Nsukka. The aim was to impart the benefits of books and reading through a presentation on “Developing Reading Habits among Adolescents: a Necessity for Building Leadership Skills”. Two motivational videos were played and comedian Ugwu Kenneth, an old boy of the school, was invited to tell jokes that made students laugh until tears were almost rolling down their cheeks.
Funds donated by Chief (Dr.) E. C. Iwuanyanwu were immediately put to work revitalizeing the area for younger children: rearranging shelves and seats, refurbishing furniture and adding color in tables, storage and throw pillows. A play area was added with toys arranged in colorful baskets and miniature kitchen, dining and living areas. The collection was expanded to include more blocks; small figures and vehicles; puppets, jigsaw puzzles, and picture books.
Children’s Centre Committee joined a delegation of the University Women’s Association (UWA) in paying a courtesy call on our benefactor, Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu, the ”Ahaejiagamba” at Owerri on the 13th of February, 2018. Once again he displayed his goodwill by attending to our concerns and donating a gift of N500,000 for Children’s Centre. He also promised to do much more as was discussed with him.
On Friday, October 28, 2017 the Children’s Centre organized a seminar at the University of Nigeria Secondary School under the sponsorship of UWA Patron, Pharm. Chinelo Ozumba. The lead presentation, given by Prof. Agwu E. Agwu through a series of engaging videos, covered family life, body changes, peer pressure, drug use and digital wellness. Dr Scholastica Ukwuoma also spoke on acquiring a reading culture.
Children’s Centre collaborated with Libraries for Literacy Foundation in organizing a 3-day training workshop for welfare officers in charge of prison libraries and librarians in Anambra State. Workshop organizers were Virginia Dike and Maureen Okpala, with CP Nwakeze and Emmanuel Nwangene coordinating for the Nigerian Prisons Service, while Grace Onyebuchi, Ngozi Osadebe, and Anthony Izuchukwu served as resource persons. The focus was on teaching the trainers how to use comic book creation as a tool for developing literacy and entrepreneurial skills among inmates. This approach to literacy development was then applied in the 4 Anambra State prisons in 2018.
Prisons visitation took place on the 15th of February, 2017, during which two new shelves were donated by Prof. Jill Dike. A literacy program began the following week, led by Elizabeth Babarinde and Grace Onyebuchi, with able assistance from Mr. Joe Onah, the welfare officer in charge of the library. It began with the making of pocket books and writing of each other’s biography and will continue with learning how to create comic books.