So many new faces this week! And back to big crowds, too. We had 34 children at the 10:15 Toddler Time today. Just children, mind you, with adults in addition to that. However, the record was 54, I think. That was a crazy day!
With so many new parents and children, I thought it was important this week to remind parents that they are their children's first teachers. Toddler Time is very likely the child's first experience in a group setting, so the child is watching Mom or Dad for clues about how to behave. "Should I watch the teacher? Should I do what the teacher says? Is it okay to go play with another child instead?" Seeing the caregiver participate in the songs and fingerplays lets the child know that paying attention and engaging in the program are good and important.
Our books this week were:
Cookie's Week, by Cindy Ward. The first page is such a great hook! "On Monday, Cookie fell in the toilet."
Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. This is a good first guessing-game book.
I just love doing "Folktales!" They're such fun to tell because there is no one right way as long as the major elements are there. We acted out "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and the actors were superb. That's such a simple and fun folktale to do at home. A couple of chairs and a couple of kids and you're good to go. One is the troll, one is all three goats, and the chairs are the bridge. The only lines to remember are:
"Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"
"The little billy goat gruff." (or middle-size, or biggest)
"I'm coming up to eat you."
"Wait for my big brother." (or "I'd like to see you try.")
"Very well. Be off with you."
I used a three-way puppet to tell "Little Red Riding Hood."
I used a story prop to sing "This Old Man," and an ancient tape recording of "The Gingerbread Man" to use with the book. Finally, I read Who Is It? by Sally Grindley, a guessing-game book about folktales.
Sometimes I wish the room were surrounded with mirrors so parents could see their babies' faces when we do the lap-bouncy rhymes. The babies usually like to face out to see the action, but then the parents don't get to see their expressions. Their grins are so adorable, wide-eyed and wide-mouthed. I love it.