Oh, my adorable, fat-cheeked, round-bellied Wandering Ones. The storytime kids who have just found their legs and refuse to sit still. It’s sort of half-and-half among the adults: half of the parents apologize for their wandering little ones (I tell them they have nothing to apologize for, that this behavior is normal for their age, the kids are still absorbing something out of story time, and it’s a social activity for both the kids and adults), and the other half of the parents are clutching their kids tightly, unwilling to let them wander off, as if it’s bad manners to let their kids wander during story time and afraid they’ll crash into things.
I’ve actually come up with what’s turned into a great solution: during my “hello and welcome to storytime I’m Miss Annabelle please put your phones away and sing along with your kids they love it when you participate if your child is crying feel free to take him/her out and you can come back when s/he’s more in the mood or you don’t have to come back at all go as the spirit moves you I’m really happy to have you here thanks and let’s get started” talk, I’ve added another bit of spiel.
The part of the room where the kids sit, between me and the door, is all mats. But behind me is the easel with the flannel board on it – it’s tipsier than a freshman at a frat party – some stacked mats, and other supplies, toys, and musical instruments. In other words, things that are MUCH more interesting than I am. (We have to find a place to store all these things away from prying hands and eyes.) So my new bit of spiel is something along the lines of “I know that kids love to be on their feet during storytime, which is fine by me. But if you could help me by restricting their wanderings to just the mat area, please. There’s a lot of stuff behind me that we don’t want little hands to get into” – and I gesture with my hands here to demonstrate “behind me” and “in front of me” – “so if little ones could just stay in front of me, that would be best. Thanks so much.” The adults have been really responsive and helpful with that. This change has primarily stemmed from the flannel board once toppling over on my head (OUCH), plus I like to see who I’m talking to. This isn’t really a problem with the babies or preschoolers, but it’s been a useful reminder with the ones and the toddlers.
Any child of any age is welcome in a storytime at our branch – this isn’t the way at all of my city’s branches – but personally I think that since we’re really careful about planning our storytimes for each age group’s growth benchmarks with age-appropriate stories and songs, that’s the group that should attend. Of course, one step in either direction isn’t bad (a baby can attend ones or vice-versa), but a baby won’t be comfortable in preschool storytime, and the other way around.
Today was fun! We had a lot more dads than usual (we had four!) and I used some new books, too.
All new books, in fact. I use a lot of Jane Cabrera and Mem Fox, and both Mommy, Carry Me Please and Two Little Monkeys didn’t disappoint. (With Mommy, Carry Me Please, I asked the adults to give a little tickle or touch with the body parts named where the animals carried their babies, and that was popular – the back, the belly, the feet, etc.)
I also brought back my five little pumpkins velcro and poem from yesterday. My kids are now definitely my guinea pigs. Which sounds bad, but hear me out. I’m doing at least two storytimes a week throughout October, of all different age groups, and I’ll be using the five little pumpkins in each one, at least twice within each storytime. I’ll be interested to see how each age group picks it up, remembers it from storytime to storytime, whether the words or the hand motions. Even today, after the second time we did it, I saw a lot of the baby sign language motions for “more.” So they like it, as did my toddlers yesterday. A good sign!
Today’s top spot goes to Sister A with E.B. White.
Samantha Parkington is BACK!!!
11 questions for R.L. Stine.
A quiz to figure out what you should read next. (I got the one book I refuse to read.)
There are Harry Potter fans (like me), and then there are people who are just one toe over the line (like this guy)
From Friend E:
From Mama Bear:
I got 11/15 and am “a total book nerd.”
How do favorite books and assigned reading intersect? Here’s a Venn diagram. (Science!)
Good news for Sherlock Holmes fans (not you, Cumberbabes)…