My morning #ALA11 session left me brimming with ideas for building multi-age story time programs. Kathy Klatt, of the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library, and Saroj Ghoting, an early childhood literacy consultant, presented a fun and informative session on different ways to build a story time bringing in many different age groups, from babies to toddlers and preschoolers. They were well organized as they both presented sample story times (not easy to a room full of adults!), leading us in songs and activities, and sharing some of their intentions and planning process.
Saroj and Kathy shared two possible models for multi-age story times: continuous story time and sequential story time. When you plan a continuous story time, you intentionally build into each activity ways for different aged children to connect or engage. With a sequential story time, you create a program that includes all children, but specifically directs activities first toward the babies, then toddlers and finally preschoolers. In these story times, there’s more songs and movement than in a traditional story time, but there are also more books and activities than in a lap-sit program. With each model, Kathy and Saroj intentionally considered the developmental needs of children at different stages.
I particularly liked the way that they demonstrated how you could show different members of your audience how to do an activity. For example, with the nursery rhyme Jack Be Nimble, you might first show it as a baby bounce bouncing a baby doll on your lap; next, you might have the toddlers practice jumping with the rhyme. Finally, you might have parents make a candlestick out of their fist with their thumb sticking up so their preschooler could jump over it. Likewise, Eensy Weensy Spider can be sung using different types of hand motions for different ages, whether it’s walking your fingers up a baby’s body, or large hand motions for toddlers, or small finger motions for preschoolers.
I’m looking forward to looking at their handouts in more depth when they’re posted to the web. I’ll make sure to add that link here when I find them.