Everyone does infant and baby storytime their own way. For some great examples, look to Mel's Desk or Abby the Librarian. I thought I would share my general outline and set-up, so my future posts about baby storytime make sense. If you are new to baby storytime, you will figure out your own style! I've found a mash-up of the above librarians, and a little bit of my own stuff works best for me.
|Make one for the parents too!|
First--Nametags! I hand these out as the parents and babies are walking in. This is really for my benefit. I can memorize their names much faster when I hand them a nametag each week. Right before I start, I will put the nametags on a table by the door so any latecomers can grab their own. I also remind parents to stick the nametag on their little one's back. They can't reach them there!
For infant storytime, I always start each session with a welcome and by explaining what will be happening.
"Welcome to Infant Storytime! My name is Miss Brooke and today we are going to have lots of fun. We're going to read some great books and sing a lot. All of the words to my songs are on the wall, so please sing with me because your baby loves to hear your voice! Remember that if your little one is having a rough day feel free to step outside and come back if you can. If you can't and need to leave it's ok. I promise I won't be offended. Just come back next week and try again. Is everyone ready for fun?"
|The song wall|
My typical storytime outline is:
Book/Choral Reading--Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Of course, this outline doesn't always work. There are some days where we sing almost the whole time. There are other days where I can read 4 books. It really just depends on how the babies are feeling that day.
As far as room set up--Blankets and pillows really help contain the little ones and seem to make the parents more comfortable. The song sheets are directly behind me so no parent has to turn around to figure out the words to the songs. Also, I sing the same songs every week, so usually by week 2 or 3 they have them memorized. The first two sessions of storytime, I will briefly go over each rhyme/movement before we sing it and then we'll sing them 3 times each. After week 2, I go down to 2 times each, unless they are just really loving the rhyme that day.
|"Tote bags of fun"|
For the playtime portion, I leave the egg shakers and scarves out and throw some stuffed animals and books into the middle. There is also music playing at a reasonable volume. This helps with any uncomfortable silences you might have the first couple of storytimes. I also keep bubbles on a table in case any of the parents want to use them. Playtime is essential because it gives the babies an opportunity to interact with others, and it lets the parents socialize with other parents. I have had quite a few best friends happen because of baby storytime.
|I always grab some books to display. Some days, it is easier to grab what is on the table and checkout, then to find books on the shelves with a cranky baby in your arms.|
Above all, be flexible! There will be days when the babies are all perfect angels... but this is a rare occurrence. Sometimes they want the book you are reading in their hands--want to sit in your lap-- don't like bounce rhymes--are scared of peek-a-boo--- just roll with it. Eventually, you will figure out what works best for you and the group. I've found it is usually about 3 weeks before you really hit that groove where the parents and babies are comfortable with you, and everything seems to fall into place. Then, a baby will throw up on you just to prove that there is no such thing as a perfect storytime. It's fine. All of the above has happened to me, and it is still my favorite storytime age group.