It is important that children are introduced to books at preschool age. This is the period when the little ones best absorb the information and skills taught to them. Books can also benefit these young kids by helping them establish a love for the language, foster critical thinking, and support their creativity and awareness of their environment.
There’s probably no better way to put these facts into action than to set up a preschool library. To help you get started, listed below are four tips teachers can use as a guide when establishing and organizing their very own nursery library:
1. Teach Proper Book Handling
Aside from engaging them in adult-led story-times, toddlers should also be encouraged to hold the books themselves. At their very young age, preschool children will need to be guided in terms of the proper handling of books.
To achieve this, teachers should introduce the kids to the proper care of books during the beginning of the academic year. This should include a demonstration of how to turn the pages properly to avoid ripping them and how to use reading accessories such as bookmarks while reading.
2. Categorize the Books
Although young children have yet to learn how to appreciate the categorization of books, it remains an important part of setting up a preschool library.
There are several strategies teachers can try to achieve this, including:
- Categorizing by character – Children remember stories mostly because of the characters in them. Famous characters can help children identify the kind of books they want to read and come back to the library for.
- Categorizing by author – Although it may seem too “adult” for preschool children, categorizing books this way gives them the chance to notice similarities in a specific author’s work and, possibly, establish a liking for
- General categorizing – This is the most logical strategy in categorizing books for a nursery library as it would help establish a certain trend among the pieces that don’t fit anywhere else. For example, grouping alphabet books, number books, fairy tales, or nursery rhymes together helps give the students a variety of options during their reading session.
3. Set Up a Comfortable Reading Space for Kids
Every library should have a comfortable reading nook, but this library element becomes even more important when it comes to preschool kids. This is because in order to effectively teach the love of books to children, they must first feel safe in the environment housing them.
This means that the preschool library should have an inviting reading area for children with a comfortable set up that is situated away from noisy areas to avoid disruption. Since children love sprawling on the floor, floor cushions, pillows, and beanbag chairs are the best choices for this. Shelves should also be low and easily reachable for small readers.
4. Create a Pretty Picture
Encouraging a love for reading is essential for children at preschool age. To do this, teachers need to create a pretty picture in the children’s minds that libraries can serve as their sanctuary for exploring different places, things, and ideas through books.
Decorating the space with photographs of children reading books and putting up the students’ drawings as a display are good ideas. Quotes and iconic pictures from children’s books should also be present in the space to help those who are having a hard time choosing their next book to read.
Early childhood learning institutions are established to help children absorb as much as they can during their most formative years. If these institutions have a dedicated library for their preschool children, students are sure to be armed with vast knowledge; that’s because a collection of good books can help them learn things beyond the four corners of the classroom without actually leaving it.
Lama Chivi is the CEO of Blossom by Babilou Education in the UAE. Having lived in Dubai for over 30 years, she combines the best of international practice and local expertise into this leading British Curriculum Nursery, delivering a top-tier and high-quality offering to the MENA region. The mission of Blossom by Babilou Education is to support children in building their own identity, self-discovery and awakening while respecting their own pace and their uniqueness.