1 November 2019
1 November 2019
Story time is crucial for developing literacy skills in young children, and using specially designed floor mats can help engage young readers. Adding colourful, comfortable floor mats in library spaces, whether in a public library or in a school setting, helps children read the room cues. The mat becomes a designated space they come to associate with activities like story time. This helps the child when it comes to paying attention and engaging in the session, and helps the librarian to take charge of the situation. Read on to find out more about how using floor mats and creating special story time spaces can actively encourage engagement with stories.
Engaging dozens of small children and keeping their minds focused on reading can be incredibly difficult. Children are naturally prone to fidgeting, asking questions, inventing their own games, and seeking their own pleasures, especially when you as an educator are trying to conduct a story time session. While it is important to understand that all children engage in activities differently, it’s also important to take charge of the session and remind the children that they’re there to participate and engage with the stories you’re reading. Creating a special space using floor mats is a subtle but effective way of doing this, and there are a number of benefits.
The use of special floor mats helps to create a story time space that subtly tells children that this is where they will put on their ‘listening hats’ and pay attention. Puzzles, toys, and other books are put away while the librarian reads and sings, and the conversation revolves around the stories and the children’s responses.
Using floor mats creates a special place that invites parents and caregivers to actively participate in story time with their child, too. Sitting together, side by side or on laps, adds a physical closeness to the reading experience, helping engagement with the story. This is incredibly effective when fostering early literacy skills and demonstrating to the child that reading and singing are activities that are enjoyed by everyone.
Many of the floor mats available at Recycled Mats feature Indigenous designs, which can encourage conversations about Indigenous culture, or can be used to plan themed story time sessions. There are also geometric patterns and numbers for encouraging young minds to learn about a range of different concepts.
Paying attention while being uncomfortable is pretty much impossible. With specially designed floor mats, children can sit comfortably, making focusing on a story a little easier. Wipe clean mats mean the floor space is hygienic, too, and staying at ground level is safe for everyone from crawlers to cross-legged school kids.