On January 17 at the first 2010 meeting of the Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Children and Youth (LNOSCY), commitee members were asked to upload pictures to a group Flickr account. These pictures capture developmentally appropriate or developmentally inappropriate practices when working with multi-age children in a public, non-daycare setting.
Our co-chair compared a public library's children's area to a caregiver's family room at home; while public libraries do not meet toddler/preschool daycare standards, we are concerned with a developmentally appropriate environment for multi-aged children.
In our pictures, our co-chair asked us to consider the architecture of our buildings, crafts used in programs (child vs. adult products), general safety and hygiene concerns, and food and animal policies. The pictures will be used during our program at Annual 2010 where we are collaborating with a Deputy Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The program will probably be on Monday, June 28 from 1-3 or 3-5.
This project led to a related discussion about the need to have written policies that support practices. For example, if the library plans developmentally appropriate programs for certain age groups and hopes to draw and keep those participants, there should be a strict age policy posted in the library and on the website. This also means that staff must be consistent in following policies while being cognizant of creating programs for all ages. Sometimes this means using the same, popular topic but adapting the program to fit different age groups' developmental needs. Programming should also appeal to all kinds of readers.
This idea led to a discussion on how to address patron's needs for meeting a child's reading level. One statistical method that was mentioned was the Fry Readability Graph. We talked about how a child's background and experiences as well as his or her emotional development were additional factors in determining what materials the child would be able to understand.
This conversation led to a concern over the perception of reading. The connotations of the phrases "independent reading" versus "reading for pleasure" were discussed.
Lastly, each member was assigned two or three national organizations to contact. I chose the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.
Most of the committee's future discussions will be done using ALAConnect which I have yet to fully explore and utilize.