The Chelmsford toddler storytimes serve children ages 12 months to 2.5 years old.
These children are usually active. It is very hard to sit still when your brain is prompting you to walk. In fact, we usually tell parents that age 12 months is just a guideline. Whenever your child begins to walk is the best time to leave our baby storytime and join the toddlers.
I want a group experience with these children, so I try to engage the children in a variety of activities. We begin with a song that has sign language. I always start with The More We Get Together. After a few simple songs and rhymes, I read a book. I almost always read a “Big Book” that can be seen by many children in the room. I want the children to stay with their caregivers and not have to come close to me to see the pictures.
After that first book, I sing and act out many rhymes and songs with the children. I need the grownups to help. They need to sing and encourage the children to jump with the monkeys and pour water as a teacup. When we sing to children, it is easier for them to hear the distinct syllables in the words. Rhyming is the beginning of phonics, so nursery rhymes are a very important step on the road to reading. Adding actions to the rhymes and songs make them more fun and memorable.
When your child enjoys longer stories that you read at home, you may want to try our preschool storytimes. I want children who are less active at these sessions, so again, 2.5-5 years is a guideline. A younger child may be more engaged listening to stories rather than acting out rhymes. I just ask that you make decisions based on your child’s interests. It is absolutely fine with me if children stay with the toddler group when they are 3 years old. It is about attention spans and participation – not about birthdays. Keep singing and reciting rhymes for all the preschool years. The preschool storytimes offer 3 or 4 books.
Your active toddlers may need to move even when you read at home. This is fine also. For more tips on reading to toddlers, I recommend visiting the Reading Rockets website. ~Maureen