Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Consent @ Storytime

Consent is a topic I’ve been more intentional of integrating into all the storytimes I plan. This is often done in small ways but every now and then, it’s the theme!

To become even more intentional, I was excited when the opportunity presented itself to begin collaborating with a local health organization, Canvas Health, once a month at storytime. One of their Prevention and Education Specialists, Jasmine Lee, attends storytime. Then, I have them do their own introduction after we’ve sung our last song. They never read or lead a song so that our routine stays the same. Jasmine keeps their intro brief and brings a handout about a health topic of interest such as setting boundaries or consent that grown-ups are welcome to take afterward from a table. This partnership is essential for local families so they have a familiar face should a problem arise or they simply have a question that I’m not as skilled in answering related to abuse prevention. If you are experiencing a crisis, Canvas Health can help, please reach out by calling 651-777-1117.

Here’s what a consent storytime looks like (to me):

Some additional notes:

  • Adding author and illustrator photos to the plan is helpful for children to see who is creating the books we are reading. This also is helpful for me in considering the creatorship and focusing on whose voices are being highlighted at storytime.
  • This plan is just that, a plan, we work with the people present and change things up as needed.
  • After we stretch we stand if we are able and physically point to the four directions – north, south, east, and west while saying them.
  • Raise Your Hand is a song by Miss Katie.
  • Good Morning Dear Earth is a slight change from a Waldorf circle time song.
  • The Letter of the Day song was written by Olivia Verdick. Watch this video to learn how it goes!
  • Monet Manatee is an art appreciation manatee puppet. They come out after the first book is read and I hand out art to each grown-up in the space. That’s the Jane Goodall art from the document above. I inform everyone to find their grown-up and inform the grown-ups to ask “What do you see?” and refrain from other questions or prompts if at all possible. For those with babies, I tell the grown-ups to describe the art to their babe with “I see..” or “I’m noticing…”
  • Breathe – we take a moment and do a breath together. Some of our favorites are lion breath, hot chocolate, and flower breath.
  • I’m a Little Human is sung to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot, I wrote the words for this song.
  • A website I like to direct grown-ups to for learning about consent is https://www.safesecurekids.org/
  • A booklist is included with two pages so it’s ready to print two per page. I prefer a half sheet booklist when possible.

If you have additional questions or comments – reach out!

Today’s blog post was written by Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez, Youth Services Librarian at Washington County Library (Minnesota), on behalf of the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. She can be reached at katelyn.martens-rodriguez@co.washington.mn.us. This post addresses competency III. Programming Skills

2 comments

  1. Jessi Schulte

    This is great! Way to make the challenging issue of consent accessible for younger audiences!!!

  2. Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

    Thank you!!

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