Parent as Teacher - To sell parents on a preschool format change, we can emphasize that the library wants to help parents because parents are a child's first teacher, that all types of programs help with reading and school readiness. A format change will offer more choices for their children, including ongoing reading incentives like 1000 bks, and more activities for preschoolers during the summer. I'd also like to see more parent/family involvement in activities.
Re-Branding - As I consider my parents, I don't think they would have an issue with this. I think they'd be totally for it! If I did think there was going to be an issue, I would consider still calling it a "storytime" but add something to differentiate it. So it would be called Explore! Storytime or Hands-On Storytime or something, depending on what the emphasis was.
Try It, You'll Like It! - Whenever I begin something new, I simply tell caregivers to try it out because I know they will love it. And if they come to a program and don't love it...I'll try to get feedback and tweak it so it suits their needs. I have young kids of my own, so I do my best to cater to my little friends' sensibilities. :)
Awesomness Ahead - I would promote it with fun, colorful flyers. I try to make sure that I pass them out at story time, when patrons are checking out, or when they are just playing in the children's area. But I also really like to talk to the parents and I would just make sure they know about it and tell them how awesome it will be!
Variety is the Spice of Life - I do feel as though my community would be very receptive to additional preschool programming. AND it doesn't need to be an added program. I could offer 1 "traditional" storytime a week and a 2nd that has a rotating schedule: 1st week is movement, 2nd week is science, 3rd week is art, 4th week is play. There may be storytime elements, but the majority could be more interactive exploration. If we as storytime presenters can communicate the value of such changes ("We all know 2-5 year olds are little explorers! They learn all the time in all sorts of environments. I'm confident these activities will continue to reinforce the early literacy skills we've been working on just as well as storytime does!") caregivers will follow.
Ask Parents! - I would definitely go to our patrons and ask what they might want for a new program. We also have an active MOPS group in our community. I would go and talk to the moms and see if they have any new programming ideas that they would like to see at their library. I could see how their input would then help promote it to the community. The MOPS group has a very active Facebook account and the power of social media is easy to tap into.
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