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Planning For Pre-School Storytime

Facing a group of two-year-olds and their parents can be scarier than a job interview. What can you do to make this a positive experience for you and your little patrons?

After over a decade of working in a kindergarten through eighth grade school I made a change in my life. I became the Coordinator of Public Services at MY public library. This position encompasses the youth programs. Great! No problem! I've worked with children for years.

Yet, when I faced that first group of two-year-olds and their mothers I was petrified. I did what all good educators do, I over planned. One of the books selected was too long and the kids lost interest. Okay, I needed to back-up and re-think my approach. Toddlers are not kindergartners.

Three-year-olds are not kindergartners. Many three-year-olds don't know how to use scissors and one activity became a nightmare of tears as they grew frustrated trying cut out simple shapes. I decided that it was best to pre-cut anything that we were going to be gluing. (In the future I may include basic on how to use scissors.)

Each community and story-time group is a bit different. Do you have a program that is highly populated with five-year-olds? You may be able to include longer stories and more complicated crafts. But, it is easier to add these activities to later storytime programs as you gauge the abilities of the group.

There is a basic format to storytime in a public library that varies from the 10-10-10 format of a school library. The time of the program lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. Unlike a school library there is no check-out time built in. Caregivers most often select books with children before or after storytime. Here is a general overview of storytime structure:

Storytime is fun! I love the children's reactions when they connect to a great story. We have fun as they draw on the sidewalk with chalk or lie on the carpet and wiggle to music. It is a marvelous way to help children learn from the earliest years that books are fun.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Paula S.W. Laurita. All rights reserved.
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