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.