Friday, September 16, 2016

How to program for calm, confident and caring

Talk to the Animals on Tuesdays!

September brings the beginning of a new story time session and for our little branch, a brand new program.  I've had this in my brain-works for two years.  I was inspired by a visit to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. The Museum has the cutest station for caring for animals.  My brain instantly flashed COMPASSION, EMPATHY, KINDNESS, let's bring this to a Family Program.  

And here we are...Talk to the Animals is our newest addition to programs and my heart is happy.  We need this kindness, nurturing program now NOW more than ever in my 28 years of children's library service.

The branch has new puppets, (thank you Mrs W), all Folkmanis puppets because they are the very best.  We have feeding bowls, baby bottles, eye droppers and baby blankets.  We're awaiting a scale and two stethoscopes.   

The puppets have their own little beds inside of a book cubby.  It really is too cute.  The book cubby folds in half and closes after the families leave.  Everything goes in the cubby. (translation = easy clean-up!)  We even have multiple copies of books in the cubby to read with our soft, snuggly, adorable animals.

Raising readers...both toddlers and animals, all in one program!  Honestly...who says that little puppy can't read?  Animals read and talk in most of the books on my library shelves! 

Now here's a funny thing...I'm walking my walk...feeling all special about the fancy new puppets and how the kids will love them...and aren't we all on trend with social/emotional development/mentoring when a conversation with a colleague opened my eyes to..... Mutt-i-grees!  
Ha!  Of course!  Mutt-i-grees  

" Developed by the NSAL’s Pet Savers Foundation in collaboration with Yale University School of the 21st Century and funded by the Cesar Millan Foundation, the goal of the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum is to enable children to grow up to be calm, confident, and caring. It has been implemented in thousands of schools across the country and Canada."

They have an established curriculum for libraries and schools.  Humbled and informed in less than one minute!  No trusted librarian would miss the opportunity to connect with success - so I emailed for their curriculum and now we are indeed even cooler than we were before!  Collaboration is always the key.   Does it get any better than this for a partner in children's programs?  

We're presenting a modified program for families with children of all ages.  Our outline looks like this: 

         1. Welcome to Talk to the animals (please find a puppet friend to sit with you today)
         2.  Read a book
         3.  Share some Mutt-i-grees' goodness
         4.  Flannel story or song  
         5.  Social time. Care for your animal: snuggle, sing, play, read to your animal
         6.  Return your snuggly friend to the cubby and we all sing the goodbye song

Six simple steps.  30 minutes.  Steps 1 and 5 have instrumental music playing to make everyone more comfortable.  (Amazingly, some adults have a hard time playing pretend in a group setting...really?!  I wonder what they have to say about me when they leave?!!)

Here are some of the flannels we're planning to share, they link to their blog posting.

Developing and piloting a new program is something I adore.  Bringing "my baby" to a colleague to "take it live" is something I need to work on.  #trueconfession  
Miss Laurie presents Talk to the Animals on Tuesdays!  Miss Laurie is our science and animal "go to specialist" and she's the person who knew about Mutt-i-grees.  You see, it was meant to be.  The snuggly animal puppets are in very capable, confident, caring and kind hands.  Yep.  It's all good.  

P.S. (piper script)  So many new friends in the library now.  I'm beginning to feel old.

A boy's best friend




  1. I'm jealous! That looks like so much fun. Your library children are so lucky!

    1. Thank you Mr Keith. This program brings smiles to everyone!


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