HCN News & Notes

Story Time Focuses on Preschool Mental Wellness

SPRINGFIELD — Preschoolers at New Beginnings Child Care had a special guest reader when Cheryl Fasano, president and CEO of MHA, joined the youngsters for story time via Zoom from her office on May 26.

“What a joy and a privilege it was to read stories to the children at New Beginnings,” Fasano said. “May is Mental Health Awareness month, and there are some lovely stories about mental wellness that are appropriate for little ones. A great example is The Grumpy Tortoise. It’s a sweet and simple story of a tortoise who is finding his way out of his grumpy feelings. Though he starts the day with a scowl, he finds himself in a variety of pleasing activities and, bit by bit, feeling less grumpy. Spoiler alert: the tortoise ends up having a wonderful day, and at bedtime, he doesn’t feel grumpy at all.”

Tabitha Desplaines, director of Early Education and Care at Springfield Partners for Community Action and New Beginnings, organized this story-time event and invited Fasano to read. While COVID-19 concerns continue to ease, it still made sense for the story-time guest to read remotely.

After their story time, children were engaged in an arts and crafts activity based on The Grumpy Tortoise and all those things which help them feel a bit less grumpy.