Two BA students bring 'Christmas Story Time' to Cragin

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Dec. 5, 2011
Brandy Bussier (left) and Katie Ciesinski lay out the craft materials for their 'Christmas Story Time' program at Cragin Library. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Brandy Bussier (left) and Katie Ciesinski lay out the craft materials for their 'Christmas Story Time' program at Cragin Library. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

Even though they are just beginning their high school experience, Bacon Academy freshmen Brandy Bussier and Katie Ciesinski already have a handle on what they would like to do in the future.  And both are already well on their way to achieving their goal of becoming teachers of young children.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, Bussier and Ciesinski hosted Christmas Story Time at the Cragin Library. Open to children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old, Christmas Story Time was developed by Bussier and Ciesinski as a class project for an early childhood development class that they are both taking.

For their project, Bussier and Ciesinski read Jan Brett’s “Christmas Treasury,” a collection of holiday stories by the well-known author that Bussier and Ciesinski believed would appeal to many different kids. The collection also includes the story “The Mitten,” which was the focus of Bussier and Ciesinski’s program.

“We both really like the story,” said Ciesinski of “The Mitten.” They incorporated into their program a craft project, in which the children construct a paper mitten, decorated with foam letters, “that they get to hang on their Christmas tree,” said Bussier.

“It was an interesting way to spend a Friday night,” joked Bussier of the preparations she and Ciesinski did the night before, drawing out mittens and different colored pieces of paper for the children to cut out, and separating tiny foam letters into cups. Both were thoroughly enjoying running the program, and their only worry, which proved to be unfounded, was that they wouldn’t have many children show up.

A handful of young children gathered round as Bussier and Ciesinski took turns reading from the “Christmas Treasury.” The children quickly engaged with the readers, frequently adding comments and asking questions in affirmation of the quick rapport that Bussier and Ciesinski - who had worked previously with young children in camps and through babysitting - were able to build.

“It’s a good experience for them,” said Joann MacDonald, children’s assistant at the Cragin Library. She said the library staff was happy to assist them in completing their project, for which both Bussier and Ciesinski were grateful.

“They [the library staff] were really helpful,” said Ciesinski.

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