Storytime and Standards for 3-5: Plans

For review: I wrote about my challenge to myself, mapping my state's early childhood indicators of progress to my storytime program year, in this post, and about storytime planning for 0-3 in this post.

My mixed-ages kids are used to themed storytimes. Many families make a game out of trying to guess what the theme of the day will be before they get to the library. So I knew that if I could find a way to build themes from the standards I could provide storytimes that would feel familiar to the patrons, but also fulfill my goals.

One thing I sacrifice by trying to plan for a theme in the standards-based approach is that sometimes I am only choosing to highlight one indicator for each component vs. many indicators. For instance, the first component of the 3-5 guidelines is emotional development. There are six indicators covering all sorts of good stuff: recognizing and describing emotions, using words to express emotion vs. actions, empathy, self-regulation, expression through various outlets like music, play, and art, and responding to praise, limits, and correction. From that, I planned a "Feelings" storytime, but I could also imagine a self-regulation focused storytime, self-expression, or empathy storytime plans as well. 

The guidelines for 3-5 in our state include strategies for four categories: family members, teachers and caregivers, community members, and policymakers. I like to read through these boxes to find information I can share with the adults at storytime about why we're doing what we're doing. I have an interesting on-going situation in that many of my adults who attend storytime are not the child's parents/primary caregivers, so it can be hard to get them to really tune-in during those blurbs. So I've been phrasing things a lot this year like, "Did you know Miss Amy cares about your brains and your bodies and the way they're developing? Guess what, the other grown ups who love you do too. When they help you learn how to tell a friend that you don't want to be hugged instead of pushing them away, they're helping you learn to resolve conflicts with words." 

Similar to the younger crowd, I have a few pieces of storytime that stay consistent for a program year: the opening and closing songs. This year I also decided to add two transition time rhymes that we'll practice and learn so that I can toss them in whenever we need to regroup a bit.

I also decided to repeat an element each week of a domain to help tie things together. For the first domain, I chose a Jim Gill song called "Your Face Will Surely Show It," (library) which is a song about feelings and the faces we make. It's a cute song, but the 8 different faces go by quickly. By choosing to repeat it for four weeks in a row, it will help the weekly attendees really learn the song.

I'll be posting individual plans, but I wanted to explain some of the "how" behind the "what," to help those of you thinking about trying to do this too!



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