Programming for Children with Special Needs, Part Three

By Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski

In Parts One and Two, the reasons behind and facets of programming for children with special needs were covered. In this third entry to this blog series about special needs programming, I provide two program plans that I developed for Rhythm and Rhyme Storytimes at Matthews Branch of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County.

I find broad themes favorable in planning of programs for children with special needs. The flow of the program is enhanced through use of related materials in addition to concepts being repeated for the benefit of both participants and their families. Because of the benefit of using double visuals during the program, I would caution about a theme that is too specific and may limit opportunities to create related visual aids or flannel pieces.

As mentioned in prior posts, announcements are the same for each program. First, I thank the families for their support of our efforts and welcome any and all feedback that they may have to improve our program while also expressing that we do not have the programs to be exclusionary. If there is an upcoming event in our department, such as a concert or all ages event, I extend an invitation. Second, I express our understanding that children may be at different levels of participation and that we expect the families to come and go as they please during the program, if necessary. Finally, I explain how we book extra time at the end of the program for families and children to socialize during which time we will provide coloring sheets and puppets and blow bubbles.

Following announcements, I review our schedule for the program. In the case of the schedule shown below, I would first introduce Miss Joanne and me. Then I say, “Today we will start with a book, followed by singing, an activity, another book, an activity, puppet, an activity, a book and end with bubbles and coloring sheets.” I point to the picture on the board as I say the title. Parents have shared that short, direct instructions are better received so I stick to this as I’m reviewing the schedule.

In the following program plans, I use the same announcements, schedule board review (with adjustments for picture cards specific to the program plan) welcome song/book, closing book and program wrap-up of bubbles and classical music with coloring sheets during socialization time following the program. Repetition establishes a solid foundation around which I build the theme.

Here is a program plan related to colors:

  • Announcements
  • Schedule Board
  • Welcome Song/Book: Rise and Shine by Raffi
    While “Rise and Shine” plays on the iPod, we turn the pages of the book Rise and Shine to share with participants.
  • Song with hands-on activity: “Butterflies Flit” (The Wiggles from Yummy Yummy)
    We hand out foam butterflies on craft sticks for the children to fly around the room during the song, which we play twice for repetition and to lengthen the experience.
  • Book: What Makes a Rainbow by Schwartz
  • Song with bean bags: “Bean Bag on Your Head” (Judy Caplan Ginsburgh from A Flower is an Educated Weed)
    This short song (played twice for repetition) encourages placement of the beanbag on head, foot and back.
  • Book with hands-on activity: Dog’s Colorful Day by Dodd
    We hand out Velcro colored dots to each of the children. (Ten colored dots are covered during the story.) As we read each page, the child who has that colored dot places it on the poster-size dog.
  • Flannel: Little Red Bug
    This simple flannel is composed of a red bug outline and five black dots. The rhyme reads as follows:Little red bug, oh so cute, here’s a black spot for your suit.

    Now you go and have some fun with your spot, your very first one.

    …It’s so nice to own a few, so enjoy these lovely two.

    …We are very pleased to see, how you look with all three.

    …You might feel that you need more, so we proudly give you four.

    …Heaven, heaven sakes alive, look at you, you’re wearing five!

  • Book with flannel: The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Wood
    A volunteer created our flannel pieces to go along with the book. The pieces include: red rock, green tree, brown nut, purple parrot, orange butterfly, black dot, yellow sun, white cloud, gray cloud and tiny fish of many colors. While one person reads the book, the other presenter places the flannel pieces on the flannel board.
  • Song with scarves: “Over the Rainbow” (Georgiana Stewart from Musical Scarves & Activities)
    This gentle tune encourages stretching and arm movements with scarves.
  • Closing Book: Wave Goodbye by Rob Reid
    The text is read slowly while both presenters act out the motions included in the book including lines like “wave your hair” and “wave your chin.”
  • Bubbles with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (Elizabeth Mitchell & Lisa Loeb from Catch the Moon)
    Because the bubble blowing aspect of the class is a huge hit with the participants, we invested in a bubble machine.
  • Classical music mix during coloring/socializing

Here is a program plan with the theme of transportation:

  • Announcements
  • Schedule Board
  • Welcome Song/Book: Rise and Shine by Raffi
    While “Rise and Shine” plays on the iPod, we turn the pages of the book Rise and Shine to share with participants.
  • Flannel with hands-on activity: Who’s Coming Down the Road?
    We give each child a felt piece to place on the board when we sing their name and vehicle. The tune for the activity is “London Bridge.” We provide felt cut-outs of the following: various colors of cars, red fire truck, yellow school bus, purple train, orange truck, yellow airplane, green tractor and red wagon. Here are a couple of verses:Here comes___________(child’s name) down the road, down the road, down the road,

    Here comes___________(child’s name) down the road, in a green car.

    Here comes___________(child’s name) down the road, down the road, down the road,

    Here comes___________(child’s name) down the road, in an orange truck.

  • Book: Puff, Puff, Chugga-Chugga by Wormell
  • Flannel/song: “Toot! Toot!”
    There are multiple versions of this song—sometimes known as “Peanut Butter.” Here’s an excerpt of from our sing-along flannel, which includes flannel pieces of peanut/peanut butter, lemon/lemonade, peas/split pea soup, apple/applesauce and potato/French fries:A peanut sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter

    The five-fifteen came rushing by—Toot! Toot! Peanut Butter!

  • Song with visuals: “We will Drive All Around”
    Presenters hold up four cars of different colors, one at a time, and sing the following to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”:We will drive a red car all around; we will drive a red car through the town,

    Yes, we will drive a red car; yes, we will drive a red car, we will drive our red car all around.(Repeat with green, yellow, blue cars)

  • Book: Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by Burningham
  • Song: “Row Row Row Your Boat” (The Wiggles from Racing to the Rainbow)
  • Book: The Wheels on the Bus by Zelinsky
    I sing the book rather than read it and may skip a couple of pages depending on audience reaction.
  • Song with bean bag: “Pass the Bean Bag” (Tumble Tots, Action Songs Volume 2)
    This song encourages motor and social skills in addition to coordination as the children pass the beanbag around the circle at first slowly and then faster. The action is repeated numerous times during the song.
  • Closing Book: Wave Goodbye by Rob Reid
    The text is read slowly while both presenters act out the motions included in the book including lines like “wave your hair” and “wave your chin.”
  • Bubbles with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (Elizabeth Mitchell & Lisa Loeb from Catch the Moon)
    Because the bubble blowing aspect of the class is a huge hit with the participants, we invested in a bubble machine.
  • Classical music mix during coloring/socializing

I have also created program plans related to food, sky and clothing. To reiterate, the broader the theme, the more potential to find books and activities that allow for the double visuals and hands-on activities so important to programming for children with special needs and their families. In reviewing these program plans, I hope that you may be inspired to create a similar program plan or consider slight variations to an existing plan for adaptation into a program for children with special needs.

Next week’s blog will include a video of a Rhythm and Rhyme program presented at Matthews Branch Library in April 2009.

*********
Below are the links for the other four articles of Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski’s Programming for Children with Special Needs series:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

This entry was posted in Child Advocacy, Diversity, Library Design and Accessibility, Programming Ideas, Special Needs Awareness. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Programming for Children with Special Needs, Part Three

  1. Pingback: ALSC Blog » Blog Archive » Programming for Children with Special Needs, Part Four

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>