In which Miss Molly needs a bigger parachute.

I had the largest attendance I’ve ever had for storytime last wee! 30 participants!I thought it would be a good time to reflect.

I honestly love storytime. I think this sentiment is evident in my previous posts regarding storytime, but just in case it isn’t…I really enjoy doing storytime! The challenging part of the storytime that I do is that it is a drop-in program, every other Saturday, or there abouts. So…I don’t ever really know how many people I will have show up, and I don’t know what age groups will come. This means I have to prepare books, songs, rhymes, fingerplays that will appeal to everyone from age 1 to 7, and sometimes the 9 or 10 year old siblings. This is no mean feat. There is a very wide attention, interest, and ability gap here.

But, being a librarian is always an adventure, and that’s why I enjoy it. It keeps me on my toes and thinking. With these issues in mind, I try to pick a variety of books on the theme of the day. Bigger pictures for the younger set, and more involved pictures for the older kids; simple stories with one or two characters versus longer stories with three or four characters; simple sentences and language versus complex sentences and challenging vocabulary. You get the idea.

As for songs and fingerplays, flannel boards, and yoga routines these vary on the fly. The great part about the really young kids is that their parents are (mostly) game for whatever I throw at them. They will help the kids do the movements, sing along, and involve their child–even if the actions required are a bit above their ability. And the older kids are pretty willing to try any song, yoga pose, or flannel board I come up with.

I have been steadily growing my Saturday storytime following over the past year. I have a core group of 5-7 kids that come each time I have class. They remember the songs, they know the rules, and they help introduce the new kids to “The Way We Do” a Miss Molly storytime. I know all their names, so I can call on them to answer questions and if I need help passing out flannel pieces or gathering up musical instruments. They are helpers, singers, dancers, and sometimes tiny disciplinarians. My way of saying No in storytime is along the lines of “We don’t hit our storytime friends. We gently tap them on the shoulder and ask if we can share space.” This gentle and general reminder of politeness is good for everyone, and I’ve rarely had to raise my voice or send someone out of the class (for which I am extremely lucky).

With this past class, I decided to use the parachute. Kids love the parachute. They get so excited. This was the only issue that I had the entire class. They get so excited, so exuberant about shaking it, that I worried for the one year olds we had. I had to reign the older kids (and their exuberantly flapping the parachute parents) in several times, and remind everyone that there are kids smaller than them who want to play too, that we don’t want anyone getting hurt, and we want to encourage everyone who wants to play to play. I did this about 3 times during the 6 minute parachute games we played, which wasn’t horrible, I don’t think. It probably would have been easier if I had the BIG parachute and more space. Both of those factors definitely affected how the kids interacted, since some kids really don’t like not being the only one to hold a handle. We had to work on our sharing skills, something that we all need to continually reinforce, that’s for sure. This means us as adults, too, maybe more so.

Over all, it was a great time. It was Moose themed. I just adore moose, I have no idea why. I think it might have something to do with the personality that authors give them moose across the picture book genre. They are all sweet, silly, and fun. We read This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, Circle, Square, MOOSE by Kelly Bingham, and Ernest, The Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner. I highly suggest them. If I am being honest, Ernest worked the best. The other two would be better hits with smaller groups or one-on-one sharing. Of course, those are only my 2 cents. They worked for the group, but not as well as I would have liked.

So, on this snowy Saturday, I hope you have a wonderful day. And maybe make like a moose and have a snowy adventure.

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