[in the process of updating]
I start each and every storytime I do the same way, regardless of the age of the audience. I do this for several reasons:
- It allows me to warm up and calm my nerves. Yes, I’ve been performing in front of people in several capacities for over ten years, but I still get stage fright. Performing the same welcome song and routine allows me to ground myself and calm myself down.
- It does the same thing for the kids and the parents. Children thrive on routine, and when they hear the same song each week and perform the same actions, it tells their body and their brain that it’s storytime and they need to get ready.
Here’s my routine:
I do a name check, and identify each child by name. I try to get siblings in, too, if I can; if it is a large group, I let them know that I’ll only be singing the babies/toddlers/preschoolers names, so it won’t take up too much time.
I sing “I’m so glad my friends are here today.” I learned this song when I was teaching at a preschool in Evanston, and I am not sure of its origin. Here it is: [again, video]
After that, we say “hello” to ourselves. Starting from the toes and moving up, we say hello to different parts of our body. With babies, the parents are the ones touching and saying the names; usually toddlers and preschoolers can do it by themselves. I end by saying hello to our eyes, and covering them, which leads into a game of peek-a-boo.
Then we sing “open, shut them.” If you don’t have Hugh Hanley’s CDs and books yet, you need to order them now. Seriously.
All ages love “open, shut them.” With older kids, you can vary the “faster, slower” part at the end, building the anticipation.
Depending on the wiggle level of the kids, I might follow that with a round of “Row Your Boat.”