The Mother Goose on the Loose Blog

The importance of smiling at your children

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I just read a fascinating article by Lisa Scott, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Brain, Cognition and Development Research Lab at the University of Florida, that reinforces earlier research which says that babies love looking at faces, will look at a face longer than anything else, and thus faces are important educational tools for babies.

The importance of faces for infants’ learning

Smiling at people puts them at ease and creates connection.  Image how much more powerful it is, then, to smile at your baby!

Bookstore

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After speaking with a few people about ways to share my favorite books with others, I’ve decided to create an online bookstore.  I spent a fair amount of the day choosing which books to put in there, so please feel free to have a look and see if there is something you’d like to own.  A fair amount of these are oldies but goodies that I feel are too rich to be ignored simply because they were published more than 5 years ago!  As this is a new venture, any feedback you have for me will be greatly appreciated!

 

Here’s the link:  https://bookshop.org/shop/MGOL

Jumpstarting Your Storytimes

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At ALA, I heard from a number of supervisors that their children’s librarians were having a hard time getting back into programming now that people could attend INSIDE the library. I was asked to create a workshop/webinar to address this issue and re-inspire the librarians to present storytimes.

My background research has included speaking with a number of children’s librarians  to learn about the issues they are facing and what they are doing about it.  Most recently, I spoke with Jenny Gallagher from Queen Anne’s County and Gloria Bartas at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Both librarians said that children are finding it harder to concentrate, and as a result they have made their programs more physically active and, if they seem to be “losing” the kids, they end the program before the typical 30 minutes.

Jenny talked about parachute play as something that children always enjoy, plus it expends lots of energy while keeping them focused on working together as a group. The parents are invited to join in for the last parts of the parachute play, and their arms get tired easily, so they are ready to stop even if it is after 20 minutes of programming.

Jenny also recommended hands-on crafts such as finger-painting and working with play-doh.  

Gloria, one of the most imaginative children’s librarian I know, talked about using books that you can sing. She recommended a webinar she had taken from PCI Webinars, called “Classic Picture Books are Boring and What You Should Read in Storytime Instead (https://pciwebinars.com/event/classic-picture-books-are-boring-and-what-you-should-read-in-storytime-instead/).

Gloria spoke about singing “Baby Shark” for Shark Week. She made a big shark by doing something she had seen in another library: cutting an empty soda bottle in half and covering it with two pieces of blue constructions paper with teeth, adding eyes, and a blue fin.

Covers of books about sharks
   

Then she cut out fish from construction paper and wrote words on them such as “teeth”, “shark”, “bite”, and “fish”. The children were invited to feed their fish to shark by making a sentence including their word and then dropping their fish into the bottle. Gloria also read the book “Shark in the Park” by Nick Sharratt and included a very simple non-fiction books about the great white shark. The children loved this summer activity. 

If you have more suggestions for reinvigorating the librarians who present storytimes, please let me know by writing to me at info @ mgol.org.  And, thank you to Jenny and Gloria for sharing their strategies!

 

 

Social Media

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Post on social media to promote your workshops.  Keep your posts short, and when possible, include a picture (from the public domain or with permission) that relates to what you will be doing in the workshop.

For instance:

“Build your baby’s vocabulary, overall skills, and brain power while having fun! Come to the Mother Goose on the Loose: Hatchlings – In the Nest workshops on days, dates at time at the library. For parents with babies from birth to 4 months; call phone number today to register.”

 

One week later, follow up with another post:

“Have you registered yet for the Hatchlings – In the Nest workshops on days, dates at time at the library? Call us at phone number and join us for fun, early literacy building activities. Add in the information regarding who should come… parents with babies from birth to 4 months.”

 

One week before the workshop, post again:

“Come to the amazing Hatchlings: In the Nest workshops on days, dates at time at the library.  Register at phone number and join in the fun. For parents with babies from birth to 4 months.”

 

  • Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and any electronic newsletters, library blogs or other media. 
  • Ask your community partners to post on their social media; this has been an effective way to draw participants! 
  • Ask library uses to share the posts on their social media accounts as well, to reach people who aren’t yet library users. 
  • Consider translating your message into other languages used in your community and posting those as well.
  • Use a hashtag for your library (#[YourLibraryName]).
  • Make a short promo video for Instagram or TikTok.