Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Birth of Storytime Lab at Fremont Public Library

Storytime Lab Offers Experimentation
Rambunctious children, inattentive caregivers, and a 4 yr. old kindergarten teacher who said her students did not know how to hold a pencil, or write with it, resulted in the birth of storytime lab at the Fremont Public Library.

Trying New Things at Storytime Lab
The lab is open to children of all ages.  A theme is presented each time, and before the lab starts, the children try to guess what theme it is.  We pass an object in a black tie string bag and the child puts their hand in it and feels it, then guesses.  The storytime lab consist of one nonfiction book, one song or chant, and one interactive story before breaking up into lab groups.  Each child is given a check off list and pencil or crayon. The child writes their name on the list, the best they can, and takes the list with them to the 4 stations they will visit.  After completion of the task, the child checks off a box and goes to the next station.  The 4 stations consist of eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, letter/word recognition, math, and science.  
The Powers of Observation

The Magic of Microwaving
Simple instructions are numbered and read by the caregiver to the child.  If necessary, we ask the caregiver to repeat the instructions, rather than say "I'll help you".  We emphasize that this is the child's lab and they can work at their own pace. There is a lot of tweezer play, counting, sorting, measuring, writing, and creative drawing.   Science is by far the favorite station.We usually blow things up in the microwave, or make oozy substances. 

It  has become so popular that we've had school age children wanting to stay home so they can come to the lab with their little sibling and do the science experiment.  After the child finishes all 4 stations, he/she brings the checked off list to a librarian for a reward sticker.

Susan O'Leary Frick, Director

Photos supplied by the author