I did this storytime as part of our “Calling All Kindergarteners” program. The parents went on a tour with another librarian while I led the kids in a storytime. The adults rejoined us near the end and then helped their kids with the craft.
Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Story: Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid. Oliver is scared to go to school, so he brings along his alligator to make him feel braver. His alligator eats up everything that scares Oliver, which does make him feel better for a bit, but school without any teacher or kids or classroom decorations gets kind of boring. This is a sweet, easy take on a child’s nervousness about a first day.
Story: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett. What do we learn in kindergarten? Why, numbers of course! There are no monkeys in this book, but there is counting, plus zany humor and a little bit of participatory action.
Song: “Jumping and Counting” from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem. Count along with the CD and jump on bubble wrap. Fun and loud!
Story: Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. What else do we learn in kindergarten? Letters! This fun alphabet book is even better in two voices, so if you’ve got a partner, make it a tandem. I was going to do this one first, but held it until later so that I could partner up with the librarian who was leading the parents on a tour. They arrived right at the end of “Jumping and Counting”, which was perfect.
Song: “There’s a Dog in School” This song about animals learning their ABCs is a nice follow-up to Z is for Moose. Be warned that it is a total earworm; I’ve been singing it for days. It was easy to learn, so parents and kids joined in on the verse and helped me sing the alphabet in barks, meows, and neighs.
Story: First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. We didn’t have time for this at this particular program, but I like this story because I think it’s fun for the kids to hear about first day jitters from the other side of the fence.
Ending Song: “See You Later”
Craft: Kindergarten Journal. We created a kindergarten journal with a page about starting school and then one page per month to fill out during the school year. We preassembled with several different cover colors. At the event, children decorate the cover and fill out the first page, and then they bring it home to complete over the course of the school year.
I reused a lot of this content for the Park District when they brought around their Kindergarten Enrichment classes at the beginning of the school year:
Story: Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray (Since this is actually about a dog following a boy to school, it was a great lead- in to the song. Plus I could sing it, which is always a bonus.)
Song: “There’s a Dog in School” (I even figured out how to play this on the guitar ahead of time, so I was able to play and sing it this time.)
Story: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett.
Song: “Jumping and Counting” from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem – with bubble wrap, of course
Story: First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.
Story: Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid.
Song: “Wave High”
There’s a dog in school, oh no!
What are we going to do?
As long as there’s a dog in school,
He’ll have to learn the alphabet too.
(Bark the alphabet.)
Repeat for other animals. End with kids, and sing the alphabet.