After living here in Lafayette for about a month, I started thinking about what I could do to meet people and have an outlet in the community. I was also missing teaching. This is my first year out after 12 years in the same Christian school. I really wanted to do something outside the home that didn't require full-time work, so I began praying and looking.
One thing I had considered for a time in our last town was to volunteer at the public library. So, I filled out an application on-line for the one here. I got a message back saying that they wanted to interview me. At the interview, I was told of a couple opportunities that I could do, so I started getting excited. While the librarian looked at my application, she noticed that I had a lot of teaching experience. She thought that perhaps I could be a story teller at a daycare in the future because they had already started their training. She also said that if there was an opening later, then the night they met was on Wednesdays (the night we have church prayer meeting). I told her of my interest in doing it, but if it didn't work out then I understood. I told Q later that the other position was to just be an aid in the children's department straightening books and sharpening pencils. It didn't sound like an exciting thing to do, but he thought I should just do it anyway to get out of the house and get to know people in the community.
Next thing you know, the librarian contacts me and says that there is an opening and that I could meet one-on-one with the volunteer in charge of training to get me started! I had a few training sessions between November and December, and officially began my storytelling times this week. I actually have two groups that I do because another spot has opened up and thought I could handle it.
Isn't God great to give me something that is right up my alley? He has opened up an opportunity for me to use my talents and be a light in the community. I have an opportunity to teach children through stories once a month. I don't know where this community ministry will lead to, but I'm glad that I'm on this fun and exciting journey.
The name of the program is Lafayette Kids Ready to Read. I received this binder full of tips on storytelling and resources to use.
After each of my storytelling times, I'd like to share with you the little program I put together for the kids. It may give you ideas to use with your children at home. My two groups of 3 and 4-year-olds are at the local recreation center's day care. I read three books, intermingled with songs, fingerplays and fun stuff from my bag--like puppets!
My opening song is "When ducks get up in the morning." It's part of the A Beka K5 curriculum that I used when I taught. It's a fun song that's easy for the kids to learn and join in.(If you want to know how the song is sung, I can e-mail it or sing it on a video--just let me know!:) I borrowed this glove puppet from the library. They have several boxes full of resources to use for these storytelling times.
The daycare's theme for the month is outer space, so I chose some things to do to go along with that. The first book I read is called, How Many Stars in the Sky? by Lenny Hort. It's a neat story about a boy and his dad who go around town looking for a good place to see the stars.
After I read that first story, we sang "Twinkle, Twinkle." I passed out these star finger puppets so that they could twinkle them as they sang. I made them out of yellow and sparkly white felt. I just stitched two pieces together, leaving a small finger opening. Easy as pie!
The second book was Moondance, by Frank Asch. It's a story about a bear who asks different things in nature if they can dance with him. Finally, he finds the moon's reflection in a puddle and dances with the moon.
I used this bear puppet from the library and this felt moon puppet I made to play a game. Every time I pulled the moon from behind my back, the kids were to wiggle around with the bear. (Just to let you know, as a Christian, I don't dance or support it, so that's why I had the kids wiggle. The book was innocent in nature with the dancing; the bear seemed to be just wiggling or jumping up and down.)
The next thing we did was this poem:
Do you want to go up with me to the moon? (point to kids)
Let's get in our rocket ship, (pretend to climb a ship)
And blast off soon! (swish hands quickly)
Farther and faster we reach to the sky (jump and reach)
Isn't it fun to be able to fly?
We're on the moon,
Now all take a look, (look down)
And gently sit down (sit down quietly)
And I'll show you a book.
The last book I read was Here in Space by David Milgrim. It's a story written in rhyme sharing how we live in space because we live on the earth. The main character shares many wonderful places to explore on our earth.
The last poem I shared is called, "Five Amazing Astronauts" by Geri Ceci Cupery. I used my hand to share the story as I told about each astronaut. At the end, I put my fingers together and zoomed them along like a rocket ship.
"Five Amazing Astronauts"
Five amazing astronauts floating in a line....
The first one said, "This is mighty fine!"
The second one said, "The stars are so bright!"
The third one said, "Is it day or night?"
The fourth one said, "It's a great view."
THe fifth one said, "I think so, too."
Then they all slowly tumbled back into their ship--
And five amazing astronauts continued on their trip.
Besides having the same opening song each time I visit, I have a closing song, too. I found some words on-line to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Good-bye Song, and just changed a few of them to adapt to my time with the kids.
Now it's time to say good-bye,
"good-bye" to all of you,
Have a great day, read some good books,
And I'll see you real soon.
My story time went well with both of my groups. This space program lasted about 25 minutes. There were times that I wish I could have shared the fact that God created the universe and everything in it, but being at this daycare I can't do it. (If it was a Christian daycare, then it would be different.) I know if the children or teachers ask me questions, then it would be appropriate to share my faith. Right now, I can focus on being a testimony with my words and actions, and do the best I can being a good volunteer for the library.
By the way, did I tell you there are benefits for volunteers? One of them is that when you go to the library to prepare for storytime, you can pick up a drink at their coffee shop. They have smoothies and hot chocolate, too! The other one is that after you have acquired a certain amount of hours, you are eligible to receive a punch card for a certain amount that can be used for fines. (This is going to be great, because everyone turns in books late once in a while!)
So, do any of you volunteer somewhere in your community? If so, what do you do? Also, let me know if you need more information on anything I shared in this post. I'd love to help you put on a good story time at home or anywhere else. ;)