Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Concern for Screentime and Very Young Children in Regards to Virtual Programming

Virtual programming has been the norm for most of the past year for most if not all public libraries. Librarians have expressed concern about how this might impact very young children (toddlers and younger) and their families.  We know that the American Academy of Pediatrics historically discouraged media exposure for children under two but have since eased up with the increased use of Facetime, Zoom and other media communication methods. Asked about this, Sarah R. Lytle, Ph.D., Director of Outreach and Education at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington replied: “As you know, the more interactive, the better for younger children. That can mean a caregiver interacting with children around the screen or the child interacting with another adult ‘through’ the screen (i.e., video chat). There is some new research that preschoolers comprehend stories read via video chat just as they do when…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Children Are Designed for Wonder

“The things he sees are not just remembered; they become a part of his soul.”  Dr. Maria Montessori from The Absorbent Mind, 1949  In Montessori methodology, books shared with young children center around family life, daily routines, or nature. Talking animals are discouraged.  Not because Montessori teachers hate imagination, but the teachers understand our youngest readers’ work focuses on the world they can touch, taste, see, hear, and feel. Abstract thought happens in adolescence or the second plane of development. In the first plane of development, teachers surround toddlers and preschoolers with books in an orderly and realistic world. As the youngsters progress through development, they grow into creative thinkers who turn the known world into an imaginative one.  As a parent and a trained librarian, I struggled with this when my oldest child began Montessori school. Isn’t any reading beneficial to the child? Does that mean I can’t read Guess How Much I Love You? As I watched my oldest child play, I saw them doing the work of…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Stories and Support: Serving Early Childhood Providers During COVID

Nearly every October our library is asked by our local Educare group to provide a book-focused training for early childhood care providers to go hand-in-hand with Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Day. As in years past, this week I pulled a large stack of new books that provide early literacy experiences and work well in a childcare environment. Unlike years past, I presented from my home to attendees in their homes, over Zoom. While we couldn’t pass the books around like we normally do, attendees commented on how important it was for them to get to see new titles, especially in this year of CARES Act applications, extra cleaning procedures and heightened uncertainty. 


New Opportunities: Connecting Virtually with Parents and Caregivers

Among the many ways in which it has changed our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that library staff responsible for creating and carrying out programming be almost endlessly innovative. I have the privilege of working with and hearing from children’s librarians and staff across Suffolk County, New York, as they’ve navigated our new reality. We’ve had many discussions in programming meetings about trying out new virtual programs only to have them flop, and how much harder the feelings that come with a flopped program can hit these days. However, our discussions, we try to keep present in our minds the fact that our current circumstances provide a silver lining of room to innovate: with patrons’ needs and behaviors upended and changing all the time, the justification for trying new things has never been stronger. One of the programming areas for which there is new potential is virtual programming for…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Bundle Up Books for Young Readers!

As we explore opportunities to serve our communities in this unprecedented time, a path my library has recently taken has been to create a quick access browsing collection.  At the Wilsonville Public Library, we opened the building at the end of June with limited services. We are lucky that the configuration of our newly redesigned library allows patron access to the central area of the library. Since we are unable to open the library stacks to the public for browsing, we added this “grab and go” collection on the display shelving that had in the past been used for new adult fiction and adult non-fiction. Library staff pull different catergories of library materials for different age groups and bundle 3-5 items together with stout rubber bands. We call this quick access collection Book Bundles To Go. Our visiting patrons constantly tell library staff that Book Bundles To Go is a…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

It’s Just Stories, Isn’t It?

At some point working in a children’s library setting, this may happen to you. Whether it’s the library board, the city council, an administrator, or even one of your customers, they will observe a story time program, be suitably impressed by your event, and ask quite innocently about what exactly you are doing. To the uninitiated, what happens in the room is fun and entertaining. A great place to be in and of itself, but we all know there is lot more to it. Admittedly, in one way or another, these questioners are the ones who pay for what we do, so this provides a great opportunity to inform and enlighten. It’s time to break out your best elevator speech that lends method to the madness. Here at the library, during our infant, toddler, and preschool programming we build a foundation so when young children are taught to read, they…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Early Childhood Resource: The State of Babies Yearbook

Earlier this month, Zero to Three debuted the State of Babies Yearbook 2020. The Yearbook is a huge collection of data about children 0-3 that has been compiled and organized to allow users to see national trends and trends by state. Data from the Census Bureau and the National Survey of Children’s Health, among others, are used to show profiles of specific indicators that are critical to the healthy development of the very young. Compilations like this one can be extremely valuable to librarians. We can use it to advocate for programs and services, develop initiatives, write grants and obtain other funding and simply be aware of some of the factors that have a big impact on our youngest patrons and their families. It is also an important reminder about how important things like the Census are to gather data – without them, we don’t have a clear picture.

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Supporting At Home Storytimes

One of my favorite ways to present storytime for preschoolers is to use a theme. Sometimes I will incorporate more than one theme into a storytime to cover more ground. For example, I’ve paired counting and animals, and letters and colors. This gives the storytime some structure, and it also helps me to build strong and easy transitions from one song, story, finger play, or action rhyme to the next. While most of the country is still under stay at home orders, we can share this kind of information with parents and caregivers during virtual storytimes or virtual early literacy lessons with those who are running out of ideas for achieving adequate learning time and some entertainment at home.