Presenting opportunities for preschoolers and parents should be prominent in our attention during Spring. Yes, state tests take over much of the focus and teachers seem to have a breakdown, but there is a cycle of life that continues – KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION! New minds coming soon to your school. Parents dropping by to register and touring the building that houses their dreams for their students for the next 5 years. Develop a great relationship with your principal and the front office so your library becomes a highlight of the new student tour. Practice your 1 minute introduction so parents leave encouraged about your program. You can never replace the first impression gained in these quick meetings.
Hopefully you have signed up for SLJ's Extra Helping. Debra Lau Whalen interviewed W. Steven Barnett about the importance of preschool March 28th. Even if your school doesn't have a preschool age program, you can still reach out to this population. Nancy Dickinson in Manchester, Tennessee opens her school library during the summer to her students and their siblings. Some school librarians offer special programming for the preschool siblings.
Having taught four-year olds in Fort Campbell, Kentucky with excellent teachers, I appreciate the creativity, devotion, knowledge, and compassion exemplified by preschool teachers. I love the preschool vision inclusion class in my school. Every Wednesday at 10:15 they rush to the library for "story time." Their parents tell me how proud they are each week to share what they did in the library. Older students appreciate this class and watch what the little ones do. Fourth graders reminisce with me about when they were "little."
How do you prepare for the "next group" each year? Do you have guides for parents? Do you sign up new volunteers? At Sherwood Elementary in Highland Park, Illinois, we created buttons saying "Class of…." This is an exciting time for the parents. Are we doing all we can to help the transition? Are we creating paradise for parents?