Putting some thought into it: Programming & librarianship, Part 2
My Story Time program and my Toddler Time program are very similar, with a few exceptions. For Story Time, we sometimes use our parachute or play London Bridge. Toddlers are too young to follow instructions well with either, or they get freaked out, I’ve noticed. We also read longer stories (of course) and sing more involved songs. We also dance to this. But the biggest change is that we do crafts.
I am a big fan of little kid crafts, but it’s incredibly difficult to find good crafts for little ones even in the age of Pinterest. The main reasons for that are time limitations and child limitations. I do not–DO NOT–choose crafts where the parents do most of the work. The goal of crafts are to get the kids following instructions and using scissors. Many parents, especially of the children at the young end of the group, do all the cutting for the kids, and end up putting the craft together for them. Actually, it’s not usually the parents. It’s the grandparents. But hey, that’s their call. With the threes, I totally get it, but by close to five, they should be attempting it, however poorly, by themselves, unless they have motor issues. It happens. And, in case you were wondering, yes, almost every kid does the “hold the scissors kinda backwards?” thing for a while. I never realized how weird holding scissors is for the first time until I started doing crafts with the littles. Their natural instinct is to hold the scissors in a way I call “backwards” but only because I have no other word for it.
So, anyway, we end up doing a lot with paper plates and sometimes Oriental Trading crafts (but only if they’re lying around, because I’m cheap and also I don’t think they’re as creative), handprint crafts and paper bags. The crafts almost always tie into a theme.
My elementary school story time came about in an interesting fashion. I was doing an outside story program at the local Barnes & Noble and I realized that, because of all the distractions of books, toys, and other kids, the only ones who were really focused on my stories were the children’s older brothers and sisters. They were so interactive, and they loved it. It occurred to me that, DUH, kids don’t stop wanting to be read to just because they are in school now. So I began the Older Kid Story Time (OKST). Eventually, due to scheduling issues, I combined it with my craft program and made it a yearly program.
The stories are not only longer, they are often from the non-fiction section. Over the first summer we had the program, we read Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman. Afterward, we flipped through the book and practically read it all over again to see the different countries and how the story was told. We talked about different foods and clothes and customs in other parts of the worlds, and then we talked about elements of the story that were the same. It was a hit. Another hit was Librarian on the Roof!, which is a true story by M.G. King. Again, there was a lot of discussion.
With OKST, I like to find games that fit the themes of the books. My OKST was originally an hour and a half, but unfortunately had to be pared down to one hour, which made both crafting and gaming difficult in the time alloted. But it’s do-able. And the kids still love being read to.
So that’s my four-tier story time system. If you have any other questions about it, let me know in the comments.