not just cute

I recently found an excellent early childhood education blog titled Not Just Cute. The author, Amanda, has some incredible credentials, and her passion and dedication to early learning experiences shines through in her writing.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I encourage children’s librarians to work with and learn from early childhood educators. In my opinion, Library School programs need to offer more child development courses for students hoping to serve children and teens. The more you know about the population you hope to serve, the better your service is going to be.

I have an incredible loathing for cutesy crafts that have little or no value–you know the ones, the foam monstrosities that you can buy from Oriental Trading and other such suppliers. These crafts end up looking “cute”, but mostly they are either too simple or too difficult to put together, especially for preschoolers, and the parents or librarians end up doing most of the work. Yeah, sure, many parents love the end result, but all they’ve really gotten is a cute piece of crap that’s going to maybe spend some time on the fridge and eventually get thrown in the garbage.

Yet how can you plan crafts and programs that are developmentally appropriate and provide real value for children if you have little to no knowledge about child development? You can’t, not really.

If you’re still in library school and you want to be a children’s librarian, try to take some courses in child development. Not only will this make you a better librarian, it will make you stand out in a crowd of other job seekers with the exact same degree that you yourself have.

If you’re already employed, take advantage of excellent blogs like Not Just Cute and try out some of the excellent, developmentally appropriate activities she’s put together for you.

But you don’t have to take my word for it! Check out zero to three to learn more about how important quality, enriching early experiences are for children.

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9 thoughts on “not just cute

  1. Thanks for leading me to ‘not just cute’. Great site. I’m a recent MLIS grad, and I too believe that library school should teach child development classes for aspiring YA librarians. Luckily, I also have a degree in Child and Youth Studies, so I am able to use a combination of my knowledge to better serve my patrons.

    Great site, keep it up! 🙂

  2. Thank you! I am a children’s librarian but my background is in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. As a former preschool teacher, I bring something totally different to my storytimes and parents are very appreciative! I find that most librarians from my area seem to poo-poo any thought that they could be doing something different and more effective in their programs. It is sad to see. They aren’t interested in what they can do better for their little patrons. 😦

  3. Fantastic post, Miss Julie! One of the highlights every year is attending my state’s Annual Early Childhood Conference. I love working with Early Childhood Educators. They’re amazing!

  4. Thanks for your link, Miss Julie, as well as for your kind words! And thanks for the work you do. I love, LOVE, libraries – and of course, good librarians!

  5. I’m a judge for Cybils Nonfiction Picture Books. In real life, I’m a children’s librarian at a primary school.

    I thought it was time that I added my favorite and most useful blogs to my Google Reader. So I am on a mission today to be-friend and be-follow other children and young adult bloggers, focusing on those who will be Cybils panelists and judges.

    Thus I have just be-friended and be-followed you!

    Here is my blog: http://www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com.
    I’d love to have you stop by and be-friend or be-follow or just say hello.

  6. I forgot to comment on your post! Not Just Cute should be a rule. Especially in schools. We should focus on things that have academic outcomes not things that result in cuteness. Cuteness often wins out over thoughtfulness and building creativity and working together with others.

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