I’ve been facilitating a preschool STEAM program at my library for nearly two years. The program has attracted anywhere from 20 to 75 attendees and has become pretty successful! This post is to tell you what I look for in facilitating a STEAM program for this age group.
- Activities that can be adapted for groups
A lot of STEAM activities just don’t work for groups. I need something that is affordable, preppable, and doesn’t need a lot of one-on-on instruction.
- Activities that are appropriate for a preschooler’s attention span and motor skills.
A great part of STEAM is that for this age group is that helps children learn to concentrate, follow directions, and work with their hands. However, it’s important not to choose activities that are too advanced.
- A baby activity
As with most library programming, little siblings will come. Your program may be intended for ages 3-5, but don’t be surprised if there are many 1 and 2 year olds in the group! I always try to have an activity ready for these little ones that is somewhat related to the theme of the day.
2 + 1 for the Babes is the Sweet Spot
At most of my STEAM programs, I have two stations for the preschoolers and one for the babies. I’ve tried three and it was crazy. Never again. Occasionally, if the activity is engaging and advanced enough, just one will work as well.
Story or No Story?
We do a lot of programming around literacy at the library. In fact, we incorporate it into nearly every program. When I started my preschool STEAM program, I began each session with a story. It was okay, but because the program was based around activities, the kids were always impatient and ready to go! Furthermore, many people would come late and think they “missed” something. After two terms, I dropped the story and began working to make it more of a drop-in program– one that people could come to at any point within the hour and get just as much out of it as they would have showing up right on time!
Teaching Parents About STEAM Learning
An important part of our jobs as librarians is teaching parents and caregivers skills that they can take home and incorporate into their children’s day to day life. In order to teach parents and caregivers about STEAM learning, I made a “grown-ups’ station” that I put out at every program. At the station, I put “STEAM @ Home” cards that grown-ups can collect. Each card has an activity related to the day’s theme along with a list of child development skills benefited by the activity.
All right, let’s do this!!