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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wishing Stars

Have you ever had kids who really are sad to leave the library? They start to wail and dig their heels in, leaving parents frazzled, kids sad and upset, and the librarians wondering what to do. In New Richmond, Georgia and Cynthia followed up on a terrific idea they found on a blog.

Cynthia, who is good at this sort of thing, made a beautiful jar full of wishing stars to give to kids who are having a tough time leaving...the wishing star is a good distraction, a special token to hold on to and remember that they can come back.

Georgia has found other uses for the stars as well. At a Wakanheza Project training last month, she mentioned using them to help redirect a pair of little boys who tend to jump on furniture, yell, and throw books around when they come in. Fighting against the sinking feeling that sometimes overwhelms the best of us when a family that has previously displayed challenging behavior walks in the door, and setting aside her judgement of the mother who seemed too overwhelmed to address the behavior, Georgia approached the boys. She told them she had something for them, if they wanted it.

They were fascinated. What did she have? Did she have something for each of them? Yes, she did! She handed the first one a star: "This is my wish for you, to have walking feet in the library." The second boy was eager to know what his gift would be. "This is my wish for you, to have a quiet voice in the library."

The boys were charmed, excited to have a special present, and their behavior was very different for the rest of the day. The stars were a tangible reminder of Georgia's wishes. The mother was relieved to have a positive interaction between the librarian and her sons, and happy to have a solution to the behavior problems, at least for the day.

Wow! What a great idea!

To make your own wishing stars, there are several tutorials:

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