Each Friday at 11AM storytellers & musicians present “Stories & Sing-Along” at Out of Hand Pottery/Sierra Waldorf School Store, 189 S. Washington St., Sonora, CA. (209)533-1309. Join us!
Almost each Friday AM I wake up with joyful anticipation. That’s because Friday morning is “Baby & Toddler Story Time.” So, my mind goes to the beauty of the morning and what part of that I can bring to the young children, who attend our weekly gathering. This morning in my garden I picked fresh beans while listening to the birds come to life in the morning sun. I ate my first blackberry from our new blackberry bushes (thornless!). I walked the garden to see the night’s fading darkness and that flood of morning light. So, how can I share these images, these sensory moments?
One of the blessings of telling tales to the very young is that LIFE is so accessible! Offer simple descriptions of real life experiences, and suddenly the children’s eyes sparkle! Even the pre-language child look at his parents with a big smile, as if to say, “I know about this!” These little guys are sensory machines, so ready to soak up the world! And they are hungry to hear the words that connect their experiences to a growing receptive vocabulary. Soon the spoken vocabulary grows, too. And the storyteller’s stories, songs and finger plays offer chances to try those words on little tongues.
So, today I think we’ll sing “Bluebird, Bluebird by my window…Oh, what a pretty morning!” Children’s author Anne Rockwell writes great books for little guys, books like One Bean. While I don’t have that book, I’ll borrow her idea and make up a story about planting beans with my grandkids, watching them sprout, tending them and now eating those beans! Next we’ll enjoy a seasonal chant that we often do at Friday story time (REPETITION–A cornerstone in ongoing children’s storytelling, one of those building blocks of language development!), one that was written by my music pal Steve LaVine–First There is a Seed.
Oh, we’ll enjoy a lot of our favorite songs that we sing each week. This kind of familiarity is an anchor to building relationships with the children and their parents. It also helps give the parents that “at home repertoire” of songs to share together.
Friday mornings. I have three hours to be ready for the kids. Eat breakfast, get dressed, pack the car, tune the ukulele. But right now, the finches are calling me back outside into the garden.