Last month, Storytime Underground readers voted for their preferred new features for this website. These votes have resulted in two new monthly features: Free Training Resources, which debuted a few weeks ago, and “Hey, why don’t you…” which debuts today.
The “Hey, why don’t you…” feature is meant as an invitation to consider, or perhaps try, something new in your storytimes. Are you looking for new storytime skills? New songs, fingerplays, early literacy asides, etc.? The monthly “Hey, why don’t you…” feature poses a storytime practice or idea for your consideration–to use in your own storytimes, or not, as you see fit.
For your consideration this month, an idea for getting to know your baby and toddler storytime charges from Brooke Newberry. At the beginning of each new storytime session, Brooke invites caregivers to introduce their little ones by name, age, and (my favorite!) fun fact about them. As an example, if my cousin and her daughter were in Brooke’s storytime, the introduction might go something like this: “This is Emma. She’s two, and she likes to pretend that she is a puppy dog and have her sister take her on walks in the yard.”
I love this introduction idea for a few reasons. First, it gives caregivers an opportunity to brag on their little ones a bit, which can be a great way to ease adults unfamiliar with storytimes into a comfy state of mind. Second, it allows us as storytime providers to get to know our storytime kids in more complex ways than we might see in a 30 minute program. And last, it acknowledges that all these little people are fascinating personalities already–and we should recognize and celebrate that.
So hey, if you’re looking for a new baby/toddler storytime intro, or if you’re looking for a way to help caregivers feel more part of the storytime group, why don’t you try letting caregivers introduce their kids? If you try this idea at your library, feel free to report back in the comments!