Apapacho! It sounds like one should say ‘bless you!’ after hearing that word, right? This word has a Náhuatl origin but in Spanish translates basically to “hug or caress with the soul”. This is also the name of a very inspiring program at Biblioteca Los Mangos. Developed, implemented and run by Adriana Garcia, Los Mangos director and Candace Kaye early childhood development specialist, they say that “the program was created to support the development of early literacy skills for young children with their parents.
Apapacho is not a program that teaches reading. Rather, Apapacho is a series of research based child development principles and human values put into action. During the six meeting times that comprise each session, the experience path of the program goes from the brain to the hearts as a natural journey. We understand that we are hugging with the soul in Apapacho while we build the young child’s capacity to
1) experience, express, and regulate emotions;
2) form close secure interpersonal relationships; and
3) explore the environment and learn within the context of family and cultural expectations.”
This program is not just ‘story time for kids’. Oh, it is so much more! They tell me: “The Apapacho team designs, proposes and conducts activities that impact in a very positive way the family dynamics of building relationships, the young child’s sense of achievement and the confidence of the parents in their task as life trainers in the community, culture, society that is ours. The interactive nature of the relationship between a child and his caregivers is essential to the developing brain as it forms the complex web of visual, language, motor, and social-emotional connections necessary for later literacy learning. These positive relationships lead to trust, which then gives a child the resilience to face new challenges, actively explore, and focus on the task of learning.”
The pending issue of these programs, specifically Apapacho, is to reach out to the most disadvantaged families in our community, to those who do not reach the library due to economic reasons or because they do not have anyone to support themselves for the care of other children in the family.
A free program, Apapacho is funded by private donations that does not offer miraculous results, but rather builds a foundation to make a difference in the early childhood years, so the child learns through natural play to support development and most importantly, builds a powerful bond of a positive life-long attachment between parents and children.
Apapacho has been a watershed in the literacy programs at Los Mangos Library for several reasons, the most important because, based on the results of parent’s interviews, they decided that all reading promotion activities should involve in some way – the family. For example, Story Time – directed to boys and girls from 6 months of age and up to 12 years old – has become the weekly family reading space.
I could write pages on Biblioteca Los Mangos. If you have never been, then put this on your to-do list! Young and old alike can and should visit (and support) our local library which was built and is run purely on donations. Located on Francisco Villa, close to Costco it is a plethora of activity, for everyone, all ages and languages. They have meeting rooms available, classes of all types and so much more.
Who does not remember as a child, spending time at their local library? I certainly do. It was my haven. My escape. And in this time of electronics, emails and fancy equipment, don’t we all need a little slice of peacefulness from time to time?
How can you help? Just send me an email!
Bravo and hats off to Adriana and Candace for this program and all of the programs at Los Mangos. Two quiet and unsung heroes in our community.
Here’s to an inspirational week!