I have decided to have a preschool story time in the library once a week for five weeks in the summer. Now, I have to come up with a plan! I know I should have a plan first before advertising the story time but it's too late now. Actually the newsletter has not yet come out that announces this event. I was thinking about doing a session similar to Sunday School but maybe a little bit shorter period of time. For example: an easy craft, a book read to them or a story told to them, a song or two and very simple refreshments. Anybody have any other ideas?
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Finger plays, stories with repeated phrases they can say along with you, coloring sheets to go along with story, object lessons- esp. with stuffed animals, something that allows them to share...
I like your idea. Don't worry about the older siblings. It if works in Mom's schedule, she'll bring the preschoolers. May I suggest the Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella Lindvall. There are 4 volumes (OT & NT stories. The publishing date is 1990's. but the pictures & wording is large and easy to read the story. Have a bit of a discussion following the story. I would skip the snacks and only have a craft if you have space and time. I focus on the bible story, bit of discussion and let the class check out a book. I would let each child pick out a book before you close as that's the goal of the library. I say a prayer at the beginning of the 20-30 minute session as it settles the class down. They are so eager to learn God's message. Keep it simple. I have a book bag for each child (from UpStart) so that the family can keep the library book separate from the public library books. Have fun!
Just thought of something else we do. We have an automated system, so no longer use check out library cards (with the lines and date due and borrower's name). We had a ton left over so we use them - put the child's name at the top and each time they check out a book they get a star or sticker, and then when they return the book they get a gold (or when we run out, a silver) star. They love to count how many stars they have. And it's an easy way to check on who has or has not returned his book that week. And at the end of the year they get to take the card home.
We have a preschool library time for our 3 and 4 year olds in our preschool/daycare. It has been a great success. The children love it. And it has brought awareness about the library to some of the adults (parents and teachers). We only have it for 20-30 minutes also and very similar to what Sandra does. We have made book markers with the kids once, but so far no other crafts. Since the children get snacks we don't try to do them either. I agree that you have to be cautious with all the allergies out there, but they would be nice especially if you are planning a longer time. We started slow and have added groups and other things as we have gone along. But all in all it has been beneficial for everyone.
We have the 5 year-old kindergarten classes come into the library during school hours on one morning a week. Since they have only 30 - 40 minutes, we don't have crafts, but if time allows, that might be fun. As in VBS, try to have the craft relate to the story, but not something that Mom is going to have to keep forever because the child made it at church! :)
Our reader reads a book, then the children go two or three at a time with the teacher to the book area where they choose a book to check out. They check out the book for one week at a time; if the book is returned the next week, they may check out another. To make it easier on parents, teachers and librarians, we don't check out books when the next week is a holiday!
While the children are choosing their books, the reader talks with the remaining children about different things in the book, looking for items in the pictures, or different parts of the story.
At the beginning of the year, we discuss care of books, emphasizing that we have special ways to repair pages which might get torn by younger siblings, etc., and letting us know if something is wrong with a book. The reader also talks with them about the author, the illustrator, title page and those types of things. Might not work with younger preschoolers, but, then again, it might stick!
We haven't tried a story time in the summer; I wonder if having it just for preschool children would be a problem for those families who have older children who are not of an age to stay by themselves. I believe it would be for us.
I think the simple refreshments are a good idea, but keep it very simple and easy to clean up in case something is spilled. (Check to see if your church has a policy about what types of food and drink can be served -- we are not supposed to serve anything with red coloring -- and beware of allergies!)
I hope that everything turns out well for you! Let us hear from you again as you progress through your story time!