This morning I went to the Martin Regional Library to observe the children’s librarian doing story time. My mom takes my two-year-old nephew to My First Storytime every Tuesday, so I tagged along with my new digital camera to see what I could learn.
I asked permission from Ms. Suzanne, the Children’s Librarian, and the other parents in story time to take pictures, because I didn’t want to post pictures of other people’s children on the Internet if they were opposed to that. My background with Domestic Violence Intervention Services has taught me to be careful—you never know if a mother and child have fled an abuser and are in hiding. I guess people have limited expectations of privacy when it comes to pictures taken in public places, but I want to ask permission before I post a person’s face and location on the Internet. No one objected to my photography, but I will still try to avoid posting face-on photos of other people’s children on my blog, as a courtesy.
My First Storytime is for newborns to 2-year-olds. Ms. Suzanne started out with a “welcome to storytime” song, read about five easy picture books, introduced some animal finger puppets, led the children in making animal sounds, and closed with a goodbye song.
I thought it was worth noting that Ms. Suzanne was very laid back; even when the children got up and tottered around in front of her instead of sitting and listening quietly, she just kept reading and periodically making eye contact with each child. One little girl even got up and tried strumming Ms. Suzanne’s guitar during a story, but Ms. Suzanne didn’t let it distract her. Clearly patience and a relaxed, flexible attitude is key.
The library also had a special program after storytime today. The Music Together program, presented by the Barthelmes Conservatory, is for ages 5 and under and encourages children to sing, keep a beat and participate in music. The presenter sang songs while playing guitar, and sang songs with motions, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Trot Old Joe.”
She encouraged the children to march, dance and turn in circles while singing, and she handed out plastic eggs filled with rice for the kids to shake and keep time.
She also encouraged the parents to sing, clap hands and interact with their children, which kept the children interested and engaged. The kids loved it!
One especially interesting bit, the presenter had the children sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” while doing the motions, then had them do the motions without singing the song. She said this promotes audiation, “the process of mentally hearing and comprehending music, even when no physical sound is present,” according to Wikipedia. She also encouraged the children to play with their voices by singing songs that involved shouting “Whee!” or “Whoa!” or making sounds like horse hooves clopping. Since most of the children present were under age three, she said such vocal play is beneficial to their vocal development.
It’s surprising what you can learn from a room full of toddlers giggling and wiggling. Thanks so much to Ms. Suzanne, the Martin Regional Library and the Barthelmes Conservatory for this learning experience!