Commitment to Client Group

Baby Time Boredom: Building Culturally Responsive Programming for Ages 0-3

When I saw that #PLA2024 was offering a session focused solely on baby time, I knew I had to attend! Baby time is always so much fun, and I am always looking for ways to be more culturally responsive.

Annamarie Carlson is the Youth Manager at the Westerville Public Library in Ohio. Sarah Simpson is the Family Engagement and Literacy Specialist at the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning at The Ohio State University. Together, they spoke about how we can make our baby times be culturally responsive.

Annamarie and Sarah stressed the importance of including nursery rhymes and songs from other languages and cultures in your baby time. Classic baby time songs, such as Old McDonald Had a Farm, have different versions from different cultures. In Italian, the sound a sheep makes is BEEE, rather than BAAA. By expanding what we offer in our baby times, we can make them more culturally responsive. Annamarie and Sarah recommend using the King County Library System’s (WA) Tell Me a Story feature to discover stories and songs in different languages

Annamarie and Sarah also gave great ideas of activities we can do in baby time. I am most excited to try frozen painting cubes! In this activity, you freeze paint in ice cube trays. Then, babies and tots paint with these cubes that melt as they hold them. It’s a little messy, but a lot of fun!

Another great idea for the summer is to host a Baby Olympics. This is a spin on an open play group, where the different stations are themed around Olympic sports. Annamarie and Sarah recommend you include information about athletes from around the world. This will help the caregivers attending the program with their children feel included. One activity you can include is the Diaper Dash, where babies race each other to get to their grown-up the fastest. How cute!

What are your favorite activities to do in baby time?

Ann Baillie (she/her/hers) is the Youth Services Assistant Manager at the Alsip-Merrionette Park Public Library in Alsip, Illinois. She is the past-manager of the Illinois Library Association’s Youth Services Forum. Her main interests are the connection between Readers’ Advisory and technology, and how libraries can use technology to better reach patrons. She is especially excited to check out the How-To Stage at this year’s conference. She plans to drink as much coffee as possible during this year’s conference.

This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills and V. Outreach and Advocacy

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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