Monday, April 1, 2013

You Say Goodbye...and I Say Hello

When I started doing storytime last year, I had a mix of babies to toddlers to preschoolers.  My department tried to standardize the welcome song as "The More We'll Get Together" as our welcome song and "The Wheels on the Bus" as the goodbye song.

And for some reason, well, I just wasn't feeling these.  I don't know why -- they're perfectly good choices -- but I didn't love them. And as I quickly learned out, if you don't love something at storytime, if you are only doing it half-hearted, your audience response will be half-hearted.... at best.

I tried a lot of different hello and goodbye songs, but this is what ended up working for me.

For my hello song, for all ages, I do:

(to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Welcome, welcome everyone
Now you're here, let's have some fun
First we'll clap our hands like so
Now reach down and touch your toes
Welcome, welcome everyone
Now you're here, let's have some fun.

If you've ever attended a Gymboree class, this is probably familiar to you. At least, it's where I learned it, with my kids.  I love it for a few reasons:
  • The tune is simple and familiar, so kids and caregivers catch on quickly
  • It immediately invites children to listen and interact with me
  • It's appropriate for all ages, so I only have to remember one song. For babies, the parents can clap their hands and touch their toes, and for my preschoolers, I can try to trick them by saying things like "touch your nose" or "tickle your toes."
And for my goodbye song, I try to make up a theme-specific version of If' You're Happy and You Know It (e.g. "If you're a bear and you know it, show your claws" or "If you're an owl and you know it, go Hooo-hooo.")  To me, it's the perfect compromise between the old and the new.  Everyone knows the song, so kids and caregivers can immediately jump right in and participate.  But because it's slightly different every week, the kids get really excited. I often throw it out to my audience and ask them beforehand what we could do as owls or bears or fish or whatever we are that week.  The kids come up with some great suggestions! And for weeks when I just don't think we can make up a theme-specific version, we just sing the regular ol' version, and everyone's happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment