Early childhood friends, many of us are neglecting one of the best, biggest, most powerful resources available – the library. It’s greater than all the websites, Tweets, and (dare I say it?) Pinterest ideas put together. Here’s why.
Picture books. Social media can show us all the fantastic picture books out there about poetry, math, chicks, butterflies, rainbows, multicultural holidays, and women in history, but it can’t put them in our hands. (Ever try to read a picture book to ten, fifteen, or twenty children on your cellphone? I didn’t think so.) And I happen to know you already spend more of your ridiculously small salaries on school supplies than on food. So unless you teach at the Amazon Child Care Center (note to ed. – check if this is a thing) or your last name & name is Barnes & Noble, you’re out of luck.
Library to the rescue!
Your library has stories aplenty, stories galore. And in many states, there even more stories available through your inter-library loan system. Ask your librarian if you don’t know about one in your area. Props to my county, Middlesex County in NJ, for having an awesome system. I put fabulous picture books on reserve all the time.
Resource books. While it’s true that few libraries have extensive collections of resources for teaching early childhood, most have a large section on an intersecting field – parenting. You’ll find many resources on child development, discipline, learning disabilities and autism, and communicating with young children. In addition, libraries often have super selections of books on arts and crafts activities, science experiments, math games, even music games appropriate for young children.
Music. Not every library offers CDs and DVDs for borrowing, but it’s probable that one near you does. I’ve learned many fun, developmentally appropriate songs through my library.
A Bonus: When your students see you bring out a library book, you can tell them how excited you were to find this wonderful story at the library, and how much fun you had looking through all the books. Even if your class takes regular trips to the library for story times, seeing your enthusiasm makes a big impression. And inspiring your students with a love of libraries may be one of the most important things you can do for them.
And… it’s all free.
Because we’re lucky enough to live in a country that still supports community libraries.