At mylibrary, each children’s library takes a month long rotation doing one of our three weekly programs: toddler storytime, preschool storytime, and homeschool club.
For the month of February, I have pre-school storytime! Every month, my goal is to present a storytime that promotes the Every Child Ready to Read Guidelines, gets kids and caregivers involved and engaged, and leaves everyone feeling good. With those goals in mind, this is how I do it.
I start with Google Docs. Of all the methods I’ve tried, this is my favorite. I can access it literally from anywhere so it’s easy to plan, write notes, or whatever from work, home, or another branch. It’s also easily searchable. I’m always asking myself things like, “Did we do shaker eggs at outreach last week or was that storytime? When did I last read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom? Did I even have storytime last week?” On Docs I can run a keyword search and find everything I need really quickly.
Within Docs, my program plan is VERY simple. I adopted this idea from Jbrary’s excellent post, “How I Plan Toddler Storytime.” I use the same template for both toddlers and preschoolers and it looks like this:
That’s it. It’s that simple!
What I’ve found in the last two years of preschool storytimes is that I like flexibility. Writing out an order with transitions wasn’t working for me and I frequently found that I was having to come up with things on the fly anyway when time got away from me or we moved through things too quickly.
Every storytime I keep roughly the same proportions:
1-2 felt boards
4 songs (not including hello/goodbye songs)
And many of these are repeated from week to week. I let my group determine our order but I typically stick to at least two songs or wiggles between each book. Sometimes we need more than that, sometimes we play Little Mouse for so long it’s all we do before we go on to the next story. It’s all about the flexibility!
Here’s what my template looks like after it’s been filled out and used for storytime, with the things we did highlighted.
Now it’s so easy for me to look back at previous weeks and months and see what I did at a glance with notes to how it went. I’m able to reflect immediately after storytime, which also helps when I write my monthly reports or yearly performance appraisal. When I have new kids in storytime, I try to add their names in there as well to help me remember them.
I’m sure I’ll continue to adapt this plan in the future but it’s currently working really well for me and my audience!