What I learned during the Winter/Spring 2012 session:
1. Do not make crafts multicolored. Temper tantrums will ensue if you do not give the child the exact color he or she was hoping for, and nothing will save you if you run out of a popular color. This is a lesson I should have already known, but forgot somewhere along the way.
2. Never again will I use the monkey die cut for name tags. The tails and feet would not stay untangled from each other. They might be cute, but they were too much of a headache.
3. Laminating construction paper and then using the die cut on the paper was a tad expensive, but the name tags held up for the four months we used them. I'll be using this tactic again in the Fall, as the Summer session is too short to justify the expense.
4. I need to start making an announcement and/or have a sign posted asking caregivers to silence their cell phones. It's never been a problem in the past, but this session saw way too many stories interrupted by loud ringers and stepping out to talk.
5. My voice is not up to shouting over the ambient noise of 80 people. Thankfully, our administration approved the purchase of a wireless public address system. I'm looking forward to being able to talk after storytimes now!
6. It's better to warn my groups ahead of time that I expect to be absent, rather than to spring it on them when they arrive and I'm not there. Before my conference this April, I went back and forth on this decision, and while not telling them has its advantages, they're much more inclined to think I'm never coming back if there's no warning given.
7. It's okay to take a break from themes and schedule a Story Stew day. A class which included nothing but my favorite activities was a welcomed and refreshing break from the norm. Thank you to my friends on Twitter who encouraged the idea and named it for me.
8. In a similar fashion, I found I was getting tired of doing the same old themes year after year. This session I decided to try things I never would have in the past. I took it a step further for the Summer session and included some pretty crazy themes. Of course, I will always have the standards to rely on, but it's nice to know I don't always have to go the normal route.