In my current position I work mainly with school-age kids, so when I get to do anything related to the 0-5 age range I get SO EXCITED.
Last week we had a preschool class come in for a tour and storytime focusing on how to use the library. I had a really short time frame to plan this program, so the first thing I did was look through Dana’s library tours post to collect ideas. From there, I found Bryce Don’t Play’s Pete The Cat and His Groovy Field Trip Adventure! I was completely sold. A huge shout out to Bryce for thinking up this amazing idea and sharing it with us all!
Here’s how I took that idea and adapted it for my group. The first half of the program is a modified storytime with a focus on how to use the library. In the second half, we toured the library using Pete the Cat as our guide. The total program was 1 hour. I tried to integrate my discussion of the library into the storytime itself.
1. Welcome Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
With new groups I always choose a song they will be familiar with to open the storytime. We did clap your hands, stomp your feet, jump up high, shout hooray, and sit back down.
2. Little Bunny in a Hat Rhyme
I introduced this puppet as the library bunny. When he popped out of the hat he was holding a piece of paper (which they all thought was a book!). We opened the piece of paper and it had the letter “L” on it. We brainstormed different words that start with the letter “L,” ending with library. Then I explained how we would be learning all about the library today.
3. Read Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins
After we read this book, we talked about the different things you can do at the library. I held up things like DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs, magazines, plus some of our puzzles and puppets from the children’s area. I stressed that the library is a place to read and have fun. Having concrete materials to show the kids is really important for this age group, especially if they have never visited before.
4. Sing The More We Get/Read Together Using Sign Language
Again, something they will be familiar with but with a little twist.
5. Read Read It, Don’t Eat It by Ian Schoenherr
I skipped a few of the pages in this book, but we spent time talking about how to treat library materials as we read it. If I do it again, I might even pass out a book to each kid before we start and have them model the correct way to handle materials as we read about the “rules.”
6. Stretch Break
We did a series of action and movement songs and talked about how at storytime we can dance and sing. We did: Head and Shoulders (inside voice, loud, and quiet versions), Bananas Unite, and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.
7. Felt Story: I Took My Frog to the Library
I didn’t have time to make a felt story from scratch so I was THRILLED when I found this one on Library Village. All I had to do was scavenge the animals from other felt stories we already own. I had to substitute an alligator for the pelican and a monkey for the hyena though. I love how this story allows you to talk about how to behave in a fun, silly way. After the the felt story, I held up a library card and explained that everyone can use the library. I also asked them questions like:
- How much does it cost?
- When can you come?
- Who can come to the library?
8. Dance Break
9. Pete the Cat Library Tour
And now for the tour! Before we went out to the children’s area, we read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. Then I gave each child a Pete the Cat necklace and explained that we were going to go collect Pete’s four buttons while we learn about the different parts of the library.
Because I was short on time, the necklaces are a Pete the Cat pattern that I printed onto cardstock paper and the buttons are circle stickers I found in our supply closet.
Once everyone had their necklaces, we headed off to these four stations denoted by the big colourful buttons I taped up. At each station I gave kids one of the buttons to put on their necklace.
- J Non Fiction: This is where you go when you want to find out information about things. You can learn about dinosaurs, outer space, animals, and things that happened a long time ago.
- J DVDs and Audiobooks: You can do more than read at the library! You can also get movies and books you can listen to.
- Picture Books: This is where you’d find books like Pete the Cat. These books have lots of pictures and are fun to read.
- J Chinese and French Materials: We have lots of books in other languages too. These materials are in French and Chinese. Knowing two languages is a great way to make your brain stronger.
Once we were done with the tour, I helped the kids and preschool teachers select books. The kids were also encouraged to colour their necklaces and write their names on it.
I love that the kids had something to take home with them that will hopefully spark some conversations with caregivers about visiting the library. I’ll definitely pull Pete the Cat out of the bag the next time I get a chance to do a library tour for the little ones.