Storytime is an essential part of children’s librarianship; it is the first time children are in a more “formal” environment to learn and develop school-readiness skills, and parents and caregivers learn more about early literacy skills. While we try to touch upon the five early literacy practices in our storytimes, there are other engaging early literacy programs that hit these skills! In this post, I will highlight some early literacy program ideas that you can create for your library.
Who doesn’t love playdough? With this program, your patrons will be able to cover all five early literacy practices! The key to this program is having the right playdough mats for the children to work with. I have been conducting this program for over a year now and it continues to grow because it is fun and educational. Some playmats that I have provided include the alphabet, numbers, nursery rhymes, and farm animals. Be sure to encourage caregivers to talk to their child about what they are making. All you need for this program is playdough playmats, a laminator for the mats, and plenty of playdough.
My First Art Studio
When I provide crafts at my weekly storytimes, I am always amazed by the creativity I see from the little ones! My First Art Studio is a program that provides craft materials to toddlers and preschool-aged children and let’s them create art freely. Some materials to provide include construction paper, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors. I would recommend providing a “craft-starter” for children that need a little extra inspiration. An example would be providing a print-out of a cupcake and have the children decorate the cupcake! This is a great opportunity for children to use their imaginations and spark conversations with those around them.
A program that I am currently working on for the new year is a Baby Café program! This will be a baby lapsit storytime, playtime, and parent/caregiver socialization group, similar to a Tummy Time program. Through a program like this, both parents and babies will be exposed to the five early literacy practices in a safe, learning environment. Parents will learn directly from children’s librarians to help their children develop critical skills, while also meeting other families and building a community with each other.
Preschool STEAM Play Lab
Finally, another dream program of mine is a Preschool STEAM Play Lab! This program would consist of STEAM activity stations around a central theme. For example, to study butterflies, there could be stations focusing on counting butterfly figurines, making butterflies out of playdough, and learning about the life stages of a butterfly. With this program, we can introduce STEAM concepts, as well as allow children to choose the activities they want to participate in.
What are your early literacy program ideas?