|image from soundonsight.org|
I am inspired to write today because of Brytani's amazing post about being flexible in storytime. If you haven't read it yet, hop on over and do so. I'll wait.
When I started storytime in 2012, I was using my predecessor's outline for my programs. While a good fit for her, not so much a good fit for me. I was frustrated and concerned by why these 45 minutes were so hellish for all of us. Aha! Due to the formula of the program, I was in the spotlight for the majority of our time together. What extrovert came up with that nonsense? As a super-introverty person, I'm pretty much spent after a couple of read alouds. So what's a lady to do?
I changed the program last spring. GASP! To hell with singing 15 songs and doing 5 books or whatever. I pared things down a bit and added hands-on, kid-driven, activity stations for half of my program. HALF of the PROGRAM. I love it. The kids love it. The caregivers get ideas for stuff to do at home. I offer a week with a storytime activity backpack if the caregivers want to take the same sort of activities home.
Here's how my outline looked after I added/subtracted/shifted:
Motion Song (getting wiggles out)
Short Seated Group Activity/Flannelboard/Fingerplay
Activity Stations (one craft, 3 other activities)
This fall, I noticed that with the outline I was executing, the kids were too wiggly after the initial "get the wiggles out" song. Alright then...let's tweak! Here's what I'm doing as of three weeks ago:
Book 1 (longest)
Short Seated Group Activity
Book 2 (short, fun)
Dancing with Shakers, Scarves, etc.
On top of being introverted, I'm a recovering perfectionist as well. Nowadays, instead of aching about if the craft is thematically appropriate for the book, I'm more concerned with if I'm having fun and if my patrons are having fun. I'm focused on conveying that the library is totally amazeballs via the product of storytime. Caregivers tell me stories of how their kiddos talk about the library all the time, and I feel like I have achieved all of the things!
In short, perfection is overrated. Don't be afraid to change something that doesn't work for you. Your program can be whatever you want it to be! Have fun and be flexible with the controlled chaos that is storytime, and your little friends will too.