Storyseekers sessions

Very frustratingly, I just lost this whole post while I was adding tags, but I’m on a roll and determined to get this done, so here goes (and apologies in advance for any tiredness-related typos!!!!).

What follows is my current thinking on what each Story Seekers session (from the age of three months onwards) will entail:

1) Welcome song (same each week)

2) Reading aloud from that week’s book (either the whole book or a section of it, depending on the age of the children involved and the book we’re using) to hopefully model ‘engaging’ storytelling

3) Hand out story sacks (containing a copy of the book and related props / stimulus materials) for children and parents to explore

4) Reading aloud again (whole book or section, as above) with children and parents joining in by reading and/or using the props

5) Activity linked to the book – could be art, drama, cooking, dance (you’d laugh at this suggestion if you’d even seen me trying to throw shapes, but it’s all about the enthusiasm with children, right? Right?!?!?), etc. I would like to have themed music playing during this time as well, the volume of which would depend on the specific activity

6) Oral storytelling – children and/or parents to give me three suggestions (character, place, key event) and I would then make up a short story about them

7) Goodbye song (same each week)

8) Chatting time for parents, chance to ask questions, etc.

I would like to provide extension activities via email / website (with hard copies available upon request), which would include further reading options, linked music, linked activities, online resources and apps.  I’d also like to make as many links as possible with the local libraries, though not quite sure of how best to do this yet.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how Story Seekers would work for the very youngest children and I’m feeling increasingly sure that a drop-in session is the way forward.  I would still have storytelling, props / sensory toys and age-related activities, and there would definitely be lots of books around and a chance for parents to ask questions and chat about books.  I just think that, from newborn to three months, this is probably the most comfortable option for everyone involved.

I would imagine that these drop-in sessions would last an hour and a half or so (to allow time for feeding, changing, etc), but that the other sessions would last 30 minutes for the pre-school children and 45 minutes for school-age children.  In both cases, this would exclude the chat time at the end, which would last around 15 minutes.

Phew!

I’m actually starting to feel the teeniest bit organised about all this, which could well be attributed more to the excessive lists I’m making (I LOVE lists), or indeed to the beautiful stationery I’m using to create said lists, although I’m hoping that at least a small part is down to my gradually increasing confidence in the idea!

As I mentioned in my previous post, over the upcoming weeks I’m planning to use this blog to share ideas about specific books and resources I’d like to use within Story Seekers.  I’d also like to share some of the enjoyable research I’ve been doing into reading on here as well.  Watch this space………

TTFN

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3 comments

  1. Hello, me again! I think the overall structure for the class sounds good. Welcome and goodbye songs are always a hit at any groups I go to that do them – they are good signifiers that class is starting and ending. The oral storytelling sounds like fun (although I think I would be terrified of being put on the spot like that!!) And I think offering the extension activities would make the classes good value for money.

    Keep on making the lists (and beautiful stationery makes everything seem better/easier – I’m a huge addict!!)

  2. The structure looks great and definitely adds value to a basic story telling session. I know other people do it but would you consider doing signing as one of the activities? What I am not sure about is the split in age range at 3 months, I’d be inclined to do drop in sessions up to 6 months and then the more structured class. Do you think 3 month olds would be able to get enough out of it? I would also make sure you have activities suitable for different age ranges within the class.

  3. Thanks for your comments, guys! I think I will need a fair few practice sessions, Charelle, before the storytelling part doesn’t scare me (hey, that’s what my children are for, right?!), but my granny used to do it all the time so I’ll try and channel some inspiration from her!
    Helen, I don’t think I’d include signing, one of the main reasons being that, as you say, there are already quite a few classes out there (especially where I live, where another ex-teacher has already set up a very successful baby and toddler class that focuses on signing!) that do this. I also think that there is potentially quite a lot going on in the classes already and that adding signing as well may just overload people. But it’s definitely something I’ll bear in mind, as if there’s the demand for it then I’ll have to find a way to include it!
    I suppose my thinking for the age range split was partly based on the fact that I started a (structured, pay in advance) music class with C when he was eight weeks old and not only did he seem to enjoy it, even at that very young age, he was so absorbed in it all that he didn’t once cry during the half-hour slot. I used to wish it went on for longer, as for that time every week I was guaranteed a non-crying child! This also seemed to be the case for the other very young babies there, leading me to think that maybe it could work? I’d also like to get parents and children into the habit of reading together from as early an age as possible, so that they could start forming lovely reading habits.
    Something I’m working on at the moment is a Survey Monkey questionnaire, which will anonymously ask parents about their opinions on some key features of Storyseekers. The age bandings will form an important part of this survey, so hopefully the feedback I’ll get will help to determine what parents are actually looking for, which is clearly more important than what I may or may not want to do!
    Thanks again for your comments, I really appreciate them 🙂

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