Always go to the bathroom before storytime–yes, you, the librarian. Sure, suggest the kids go, too, but you must go.
Have an extra story, song, and fingerplay in mind in case one of your choices falls completely flat, or if things run short, or if the toddlers are mesmerized and sitting still and you want to grab the chance to cram them full of more literature goodness.
BUT, if something bombs with one group, don’t assume it will bomb with every group. Retry things occasionally; you might be surprised. Except for The Great Gatsby. No group of children will ever enjoy a reading of The Great Gatsby.
Buy Hugh Hanley’s CDs and learn how to sequence a musical program. He knows how to warm kids up, whip them into a frenzy, and then bring them back down again. Indispensable. Tell him Miss Julie sent ya.
Get the parents involved. Tell them that if you’re going to flail around like a crazy muppet, they can do it, too. What happens in storytime, stays in storytime. Parents are a child’s first and best teachers. Remind them of that. Also, when doing the freeze dance or the hokey pokey, talk about the cardio benefits of really throwing themselves into it, or talk about how they can build their biceps by lifting their baby during baby time.
Themes are okay, but sometimes the best theme is “Good books that I love to act out.”
more to come….