Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Story Time Set-Up, Round 2

Back in July a bunch of us showed off how we do story time.  Since then my location has changed so I have been doing some trial-and-error methods in the new location.  While the planning portion of story time has remained the same, putting it into action has changed quite a bit.

First off, we have a dedicated story time room.  This is a great element as our children's room has a lot going on.  I tend to explain it as a great adventure for kids, but the story time room has none of the exciting components of the department.  By having a separate space without the distractions of the department, kids know that this is the room where they have to listen.  

At my last location, I was able to put out a table with kids' nametags on it.  A table here would not work as there is no space for it outside the door.  Here, I have tried standing at the door and passing them out as kids come in, but this gives me a traffic backup into the department.  I have also tried sitting at the front of the room and having kids come up to me to get them as they straggle in, but I miss the shy kids who don't want to talk to anybody.  I also miss the latecomers.  This is an area where I am still working out some kinks. 

This is our Story Time room.  It holds 25 kids and their entourage (parents, siblings, etc.) comfortably.  What it doesn't have is room for strollers.  Those all need to wait outside of the room.

There are benches around the outside of the room where a lot of the parents will sit.  I am still undecided on the benches.  My big issue is that we run 2 baby times, 3 2 year old story times, and 1 preschool story time.  By having benches, you are not encouraging the parent to sit with their child so they are missing out on the parent-child interaction.  Then again, when this room was built 10 years ago, story times for babies and 2 year olds were not as prevalent as they are today.

When I perform story time, I sit or kneel at the front of the room.  I want to be at the kids' level, but I want them all to be able to see what is going on.  I also use a lot of music.  What this room is missing is a plug at an adult level.  For me to plug in the iPod, the cord has to go to a side wall, which means that I need to block it with both the flannelboard and an extra chair.  As we all know, kids find equipment and cords fascinating so I need to remove access to it.

The flannelboard has become a source of big fascination for the kids.  When I came in, I was told by staff that they really don't use it other than to hold big books.  If you have seen all of my Flannel Friday posts, you will know that I love using the flannelboard and props to make story time fun.  What I am missing at the moment, though, is a carpet or mat to go at the base of the flannelboard to create a "no go" zone.  Check out Mel's Desk for why this is a good thing.

Books are still faced out on one of the window sills at the front of the room.  I am really missing a space that is taller than the kids' hands to put my stuff on, but I make do.

To make it work, I hide my props, stickers, etc. behind the books on the window sill.  This way I have half a chance to catch them if the kiddos make a break for my space.

As you can see above, it gets a little more glitchy when I prepare for baby story time.  Mine requires a lot of extras, from board book sets to balls to flannelboard parts.  The parents are good are helping to keep the stuff on the windowsills, but it still causes a distraction.  Most kids, when given the choice between balls or stories will choose balls.  Having the balls out in the open is distracting.  I am almost thinking of putting them behind the flannelboard and babygating the whole corner.

So that is my set-up at the new place.  If you missed out on the first time around, what do you do?


  1. Can I make a couple of suggestions? You can setup a table that is tall enough to be out of reach to the children for all your goodies. This will also cover the outlets. I would buy a Tupperware bin for toys and place the toys in there and close the lid. You can hide the bin under the table. And you can decorate the table with festive cloths for the seasons (if you make the tablecloth long enough, the children won't see the toy bin either!). You can also use a lap flannel board instead of the easel.
    If you have money, you can purchase carpet squares you can lay out where you want the children to sit. I'm so jealous of your room! I wish I had a room of my own! Good luck with your new space and co-workers!

    1. Thanks for the ideas. I have found that every week is a trial-and-error situation!

  2. The nametags I use for my baby story time are made of felt. I tape them to the wall with masking tape donuts. Then the parents/caregivers take the nametags off the wall as they come in and stick them on their child. It's the best solution I've come up with so far. We don't have place for a table outside our room either.

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  4. Maybe you could keep pillows on the benches and encourage parents to bring one and sit closer to you. I bought what I refer to as my "pee proof pillows" for my baby/toddler storytimes on Amazon for $35 each with a grant. They are big and cushy enough for moms who have recently had babies. I've been using mine for nearly a year and they have held up extremely well. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I41U5E8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00
    I also have a few chairs available for grandparents who aren't as able to get back up after sitting on the floor.


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