Optimal number of children at a program


A librarian at the Weston Library in Weston, Florida writes:

“We are going to be offering MGOL at our Library in the next few months. What is the the ideal number of children in a group? Also, is it best to have different groups for ages birth – nine or twelve months, and then another group for older children?”

The ideal number of children and adults is 12 children and 12 adults per session. This is the ideal number, but it is not often the realistic number. Because adults with new babies often suffer from”Baby Brain,” sleeping minimal hours and being exhausted all the time, they are forgetful. They may forget to come one week and then come twice another week. Requiring advance sign-up or registration will deter these parents from attending library programs.

By having programs without registration on a weekly basis, you can make it the best possible situation for new parents. However, it also means that you will never be able to predict how many people will come to a session. Will you need 6 colored scarves or 56?

So, while you keep the ideal number in mind, you may want to just roll with the punches and always have more supplies than you need in case a larger number of attendees shows up.

If possible, it is wonderful to have one group for non-walking babies and another group for walkers. The activities are the same but in the first case it is more passive with the adult doing the activities TO the child whereas when a child is already walking, he can usually do the activities on his or her own.


About Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen

A renowned national speaker and accomplished author, Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is best known as the creator of Mother Goose on the Loose, an award-winning early literacy program. Her charismatic presentations always include an easily-understandable combination of research and practice. Recognized by the ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award for “revolutionizing the way librarians work with children from birth to age 3” and the 2018 Vattemare Award for Creativity in Libraries, Betsy’s passion is for helping children and the adults in their lives be the best they can be while sparking a love of reading.