Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tales for Fours and Fives, 6/9

During the school year, four and five year olds in this neighborhood are typically in school. There are a lot of full-day pre-K and Kindergarten programs, as well as day care centers and other childcare facilities, and we don't see a lot of kids in this age group unless they come as a class. In the summers, however, I'm told that a significant number of kids in this age bracket have been coming to the Tuesday morning Baby/Toddler story time. Since we're already at capacity there, I decided months ago to provide a separate Tales for Fours and Fives story time during the summer months. The public schools are still in session right now, so we had a small turnout today, but I still really enjoyed the new dynamic. My babies and toddlers typically don't have conversations with me, but these kids answered my questions, sang the songs, and engaged with the stories.

Here is how our very first session went:

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?
This hello song is so versatile. I haven't done any really complicated actions yet, but with these older groups, I could really get them moving with this song, if I wanted to.

Book: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (1981)
I read this to the Pre K and K classes during their visit last week, and they enjoyed it, so I recycled it for this group. Though I wound up with four attendees in all, only two were present for this book, and they seemed almost mesmerized by the illustrations. As I mentioned last week, I remembered this book from Reading Rainbow, and though I probably haven't seen it in twenty years, I can still hear the way the reader said "Kapiti Plain." This is just a book that sticks with kids.

Song: Rum Sum Sum
The two boys knew this song, and though they were shy to sing along at first, they quickly got into it when we repeated the song a second time. I have been doing this with every group this week, and I think it will become a staple for my summer story times.

Book: Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter (2010)
This is the true story of a Colombian man who had so many books, he decided to lend them to children in nearby communities. Traveling by burro, he brings the books to the community of El Tormento where he performs a story time and allows each child to choose a book. Later that night, both Luis and the children read their selected stories. I loved the illustrations in this story, and thought the kids would like to learn about other types of libraries. These guys were especially interested in telling me that a burro is a donkey. The story was a little more simplistic than I remembered from previewing it last week, but it still worked.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed 
I panicked and went back to an old standby. I tend  to do that with small groups - I get spooked about trying anything new in front of a group that might not sing along. As we sang this one, we were joined by one more little boy and his baby sibling - and his face lit up when he realized we were singing about the monkeys. That little smile actually gave me the courage to dance to our next song...

Song: Boots by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
I like this one because the movements are simple enough that any child who can stand can participate. And the adults aren't too freaked out by the notion of stomping, jumping, dancing, or splashing, so they usually join me.

Book: We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene, illustrated by Paul Meisel (2000)
I really wanted to make a felt board for this book or find a way to incorporate the song into each story time this summer, but I haven't really brainstormed a way to make that happen, so I just played the CD and turned the pages. The kids stared at the book very earnestly, and no one sang along when I sang the chorus, but I think they enjoyed it. I think. I did, at least, and that's half the battle.

Song: Taba Naba by The Wiggles from (It's a Wiggly Wiggly World)

This song is hard to do right without practice, and I practiced the heck out of it to become even marginally good, but people don't seem to mind. The fun is in the trying. These kids especially loved shaking their hips at the word "Style." And so what if they don't get the correct hand on the correct knee at the correct time? It's still fun to move to the rhythm.

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

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