I talk a lot about going on outreach story time visits, but what happens when the day care crowd comes to visit the library? That's when I add elements to story time that we can't necessarily do in classrooms with varying space and equipment. Namely, I add in wonderfully interactive songs that we can get up and dance too--easy to do in the library program room's open space. I also wrap up visits with a tour as a means of inviting kids back to find their favorite types of books. Here's what I did with a few day care groups that stopped by my branch last week:
Song: "Open, Shut Them"
The kiddos are familiar with this song because I sing it with them when I visit their child care centers. The familiarity of the song and motions gets them in the story time mindset.
Story: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
I love this story--it's great for preschool-aged children who are really getting into slightly longer stories. When I share Officer Buckle and Gloria, I point out the Caldecott Medal on the front cover. I explain what the award means, and I invite the children to pay extra close attention to the pictures as we share the story. Gloria's antics and Officer Buckle's obliviousness are always a hit.
Song: Song Cube selection
I brought out my Song Cube for this story time visit, and a roll of the cube decided that we would sing "If You're Happy and You Know It." Even though I usually sing this song with the kids at their child care centers, they never seem to tire of it.
Story: The Three Little Pigs, illustrated by Emily Bolam
I love to share classic folk and fairy tales, and our minimally-decorated program room seems to be a perfect setting for doing so. There's nothing around the room to distract children from the book, so they pay great attention even when they are familiar with the story being told. After we read this story, there was lots of discussion about which pig the children would rather be.
Song: "Silly Dance Contest" by Jim Gill
We have lots of space to get up and move in our program room at the library, which means playing great movement songs on our CD player is a go-to choice for special story time visits. This "Silly Dance Contest" is a marvelous song that is easy for children to follow, and they have a good time getting some energy out in the middle of story time.
I introduce this story by saying the children need to help me with two things: 1) the names of animals, and 2) rhymes. As Monkey moves through the jungle, he finds and greets a number of friends in the lushly-illustrated, lift-the-flap pages of this book. It's a short read, but definitely enjoyable.
Brief Tour of the Children's Area
I finish all day care visits to the library with a brief guided tour of the library. I usually point out three things: 1) Picture Book City, where kids can come to find the types of books they like to read; 2) the awards section, where kids can find more Caldecott books as well as state award nominees; and 3) the check-out desk, where I mention the whole library-card-borrow-books-for-free setup. Our check-out desk is at the front of the branch, so ending tours there allows for a fluid, calm exit from the library for visiting groups.
I'm always thrilled to hear after a visit how many kids say they'll come back to see me with mom or dad. I consider these types of visits a perfect time to make the library a comfortable, inviting place for children.
What do you do when child care centers visit your library?
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