I love doing traditional preschool outreach storytimes. Sharing great books and fun flannels? Singing and dancing to silly songs? I’m there for it. However, a friend at another library inspired me to expand my repertoire. I added preschool outreach programs to highlight STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and math) picture books and offer opportunities for preschoolers to engage in a different way than storytimes. Over the next few months, I’ll highlight some success stories and look forward to hearing how YOU shake things up in outreach!
Seeing Double: Program on Symmetry
This symmetry preschool outreach program was so fun for the preschoolers and generated some deep thinking.
Laying the Foundation
I read the first few pages from Loreen Leedy’s non-fiction Seeing Symmetry, and I shared a Canva slideshow. With each slide, I asked the children what they saw and then waited. The longer I stayed silent, the more they noticed. Each slide was followed by its duplicate with one or more lines of symmetry added. We talked about how symmetry can be, among other things, matching side-to-side or top-to-bottom.
For one last example of symmetry, I had cut paper letters (B, D, E, and P). I held each cut out and asked the children how I should fold it to match the symmetrical parts. When we got to the letter P, they thought for a moment. Eventually I heard the delighted realization, “There’s no symmetry!” I dramatically tossed the letter P to the side, which elicited a few giggles.
Then the real fun began! First, we created a symmetrical pattern on the rugs using our bodies. If one child stood on one rug, a second child needed to stand in the same spot on the rug opposite. The kids loved becoming the pattern themselves. Next, I handed out translucent pattern blocks and a sheet of printer paper with one line running down the middle. The preschoolers worked in pairs to create amazing symmetrical designs. When the designs were complete, I had everyone walk around the rug to ooh and ahh about their friends’ patterns.
Lastly, I asked the preschoolers to create an elaborate design using pattern blocks on only ONE side of the paper and handed out child-safe mirrors to hold on the line, so they could see a completed, symmetrical design.
Next month, I’ll share a preschool outreach program on forces and friction. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing what STEM programs you offer on outreach visits.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and V. Outreach and Advocacy.