Story Time Dilemmas

When I started my current job, I was used to doing a lot of massive, all-ages kinds of story times. At best, I had a mostly babies and toddlers (under 2) model, and an everyone else model, and I was used to doing each at least twice a week. That was in the urban US. Here in suburban Canada, we like to make our story times as age-specific and small as possible, and hold them as little as possible, a model which I do not like, but have learned to live with. My responsibility is the two-year-old story time, which I do in chunks of two to eight week sessions, depending on the time of year (Fall is eight weeks, summer is two, Spring and Winter are usually six). I hope some day to be able to change this (I think drop-in story time at the same time pretty much every week is an important service; but my staff and boss would probably have heart attacks if I tried to implement that). I am used to improvising, flying by the seat of my pants, and my staff are not. Carefully planned story times may be educationally superior (if planned well), and certainly a lot of people here appreciate them, but I often wonder how much more they would appreciate it if we said: “there is story time every week on Thursday mornings and as many of you as we can cram in are welcome whenever you want to come”, instead of what we currently say, which is: “12 of you may come to story time for a few weeks at a time if you remember to sign up in the appropriate (complicated) manner and your kid and you don’t get sick or something and have to miss several weeks”. Yes, a small group whose names you know is awesome in many ways, but do the benefits out weigh the complicated stuff, and the fact that you may only get a month of story time once a week every six months? I wish I knew, and I wish that even if I did know for sure that my way was better, that I could change it, but I know I really can’t, not in the time I’m willing to spend doing this job.

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