Got brave and decided to introduce some technology in storytime last week. For toddlers. One year olds and two year olds. For those of you gasping, (thanks Anna and Sara for the gif lessons-it’s super addictive) just hold on to your hats and let me explain WHY I made this decision:
First, I love this information sheet from the Fred Rogers Center titled “Advice for Parents of Young Children in the Digital Age” and wish every parent read it. We KNOW parents are letting their one year olds watch TV and play with their iPads. They will expose their kids to screens. Why not give them tips for using their media tools appropriately with their children? We do this with books already. We are not likely to suggest Weslandia to a mom of a 12 month old, but instead steer her towards some of our favorite board books, maybe some lift the flaps, or Karen Katz. We wouldn’t tell her Weslandia is bad for her child, just that it’s not written with her child in mind. Why should apps and dvd’s be any different? They are are going to check them out, why shouldn’t we at least steer them towards the ones which are the most appropriate for their child? Storytime gives us an excellent opportunity to do this! We have a captive audience who expects us to give them early literacy tips already.
This doesn’t mean I’ll be advocating for parents to let their tiny ones spend MORE time on the screen. I’m simply hoping to model some ways to share digital media with their children in way which may be beneficial to them. This passage from a NAEYC publication pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say:
Reach for that apple! Yum!
After the book was over I invited parents to ask me about Tumblebooks after storytime (added bonus is getting the word out about a database!) and moved on to our next activity, which was Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.
Aside from the digital book, storytime went on as usual, ending with this fabulous, no mess, finger painting activity. Finger paint in a ziploc baggy stuck to the windows. They squished, wrote, and talked to their parents for a very long time with those bags.
So, I count that a huge success (got a lot of positive parent feedback as well) and hope to repeat it monthly. Next is figuring out the best way to get a flannel board up there…