Monday, March 2, 2015

Storytime: For the Littles

My first year of storytime planning I had three classes - 0-18 months, 18-36 months, and 3-5 years. The baby storytime didn't really work out. One or two moms came sporadically before Christmas, then never came at all after the break. I decided with the new season last fall to only offer two classes, Storytime for Littles (age 0-2) and Storytime for Bigs (age 2-5). I've been amazed at how well this has worked for us!

I do get a lot of questions about "my child is 2 years old, which class should he go in?" and my answer is always "Our Littles class reads two short books and mostly does songs and playtime. Our Bigs class reads three longer books and is more structured. It's up you which one you think your child would fit best in!" In both classes I get older/younger siblings that would usually belong in the other class. But the parents know what works best for them.

So here is what I typically do in my "Littles" class! It is VERY repetitive from week to week, where my Bigs class has a weekly theme and I post those here each week. Littles lasts about 20 minutes, Bigs about 30.

My opening and closing activities are the same as what I use in my Bigs class. Can ya tell we love repetition around here? :)

1) Greet with puppet
This is my friend Leo the Lion. He's a nice lion, his mouth doesn't even open! His favorite thing to do is wave to the kids. Therefore he helps us sing our opening and closing songs.

2) This is the Way We Wave Hello
(tune: Mulberry Bush)
This is the way we wave hello, wave hello, wave hello
This is the way we wave hello, hello, hello, hello! 

This is the way we clap hello, clap hello, clap hello...
This is the way we pat hello (pat thighs), pat hello, pat hello...

Repeat all 3 verses again.

3) These Are My Glasses - Laurie Berkner
I started using this song before reading our first book each week during my very first Summer Reading Program in 2013, and have used it ever since. The kids know it so well, I think I'd have a mutiny if I ever left it out now. We sing it through (acapella) twice.

These are my glasses (make the letter o with each hand)
And this is my book (hands together)
I put on my glasses (put "glasses" over eyes)
And open up the book (open book hands)
Now I read read read (hold book up in front of face like reading)
And I look look look (put glasses over eyes and look around room)
I put down my glasses and… (lower glasses)
WHOOP! Close up the book. (clap as if closing a book quickly)

4) Read a Book
I usually pick one book and read it each week for the entire month. I look for ones that the kids might already be familiar with, so that if there are any new or shy kids, they might feel more comfortable with something they've seen before. I've used:
Brown Bear Brown Bear
Goodnight Moon

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Big Fish Little Fish
Freight Train

5) Full Body Songs
I'll usually pick just 1 of them, and just go with the mood of the group.
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
If You're Happy and You Know It
We are the Dinosaurs

6) Songs with Manipulatives
I'm always prepared to do any of these, and I'll pick 1-2, occasionally 3, depending on how the kids are doing.
I Know a Chicken (with shaky eggs)
What a Miracle (with scarves)
Walter the Waltzing Worm (with little pieces of cut yarn that resemble worms)
Old MacDonald (this is just me showing them the animals, not as interactive)
Shape Monster (flannel board)

7) Read a book
I'll change this book up from week to week. Often I'll find one that fits with the Bigs' theme of the week that is short enough for the Littles to enjoy (like Freight Train).

8) Closing: Do You Know What Time It Is?
(tune: Muffin Man) Early in the season I had to explain to the kids a few times that some grown-ups wear watches on their wrist to see what time it is. One week a little 2 year old, who never talks and never smiles, came up to show me she'd worn her own watch that day!

Do you know what time it is? (tap wrist)
What time it is? What time it is?
Do you know what time it is?
Storytime is over!

Now it's time to stretch up tall 
(stand/reach up)
Stretch up tall, stretch up tall
Now it's time to stretch up tall
Storytime is over!

Wave goodbye to all your friends (wave)
All your friends, all your friends
Wave goodbye to all your friends
Storytime is over!

9) Playtime
I attended a Storytime 101 workshop at the beginning of the season that was put on by the co-op my library is part of, and they talked about the five practices of early literacy. I decided I wanted to incorporate a time for play after every Storytime that I offer. I have a box of blocks, and a box of things like instruments (shakers, jingle bells, rhythm sticks), puppets, scarves, etc. I'll also put paper or a coloring page on the tables. Kids can play with any or all, which they do for about 5-10 minutes, then gravitate out of the program room and into the children's area which also has games and puppets and puzzles.

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