||[Aug. 3rd, 2006|10:46 am]
I went in yesterday and observed Amanda's Lap Babies program. I hadn't seen a baby program all summer and I wanted to at least observe one before the summer is over. I guess I thought baby programs would be intimidating, maybe because I've never done one and maybe because I don't have much experience with babies. But it actually looked like something I could do. ;)
Mary designed the baby programs that we have and she used to do all of them, but recently they've been divided up for a couple other librarians to do, too. This way Mary doesn't have to do it every week. Parents can sign up for a 4-month cycle and each age group meets once a month. The first Wednesday of the month is babies 12 mo. and under. The second Wednesday is "walkers", babies ages 12-14 mo. The third Wednesday is "Tuneful Twos". And the last Wednesday is Extravaganza.
Amanda was doing a baby program, so 12 mo. and under. The important thing to remember, I think, is that babies are on their own schedule and doing their own thing. You can't make them sit still or not cry and you need to make the parents feel okay with that. You need to be flexible and work around the babies. The activities Mary picked out go along with the babies' developmental age and involve stuff that will help the babies develop and grow and learn.
The program lasted from 10-10:45 (and usually they would have a second session from 11-11:45, but they don't do that in August). For the first 15 minutes, they had circle time. Amanda rolled a big fluffy ball to each of the babies in turn, while singing a song that welcomed each of them. They had nametages with the mom's name and the baby's name, so she said each of the babies' names in the song. Then she did some other songs and rhymes with them. The parents held the babies on their laps and did whatever motions- picking the babies up, bouncing them, etc. Then Amanda shared Eric Carle's From Head to Toe, which is a great action book for toddlers and she modified it so that it would work with babies. The parents could touch each part (head, shoulder, chest, etc.) as they said that part.
After circle time was over, Amanda put on some music and brought out some toys and the kids had about half an hour to play with each other. It was nice for the moms, too, because they could sit around and talk to each other while their babies played. It was actually really nice to watch because everyone was sitting in a circle and they would corrall any babies who crawled away too far. :)
I think it's a great idea to have programs for babies and little little kids because it gets the parents into the library. It gets the kids some exposure to programs and to books and song and it gives the parents some ideas for playing with their babies at home. Also, it seemed like it was a nice chance for the moms to get together and get to know each other and just relax and talk to other moms for a bit.