The purpose of this article was to explain the use and importance of programs such as the, “What’s the Big Idea” program instituted at the Bennington Library in Vermont. The “What’s the Big Idea” program aims to provide librarians with techniques and tools for introducing preschool and kindergarten students to science and math through literature. Picture books and stories are used a lot because stores are great conveyors to memorable messages about since and math. It also gives children the tools they need to be able to look at books and seek out math and science concepts and connections within the text.
The program focuses on child directed and hands on explorations rather that adult directed instruction allowing the children to gain personal acts of discovery through play. “What’s the Big Idea” focuses on four main math and science concepts; numbers and operations, patterns and relationships, changes over time, and geometry and special sense. For each topic there are activities, projects, and books that correspond with the chosen topic. There are different activity centers that are also set up. Some are set up for large group and small group and some are set up for independent exploration.
They offer things such as interactive graphs, geoboards, jars with small objects for sorting, blocks, and other manipulatives. Something new that I learned was that I didn’t know that libraries offered programs like that. I knew that had reading groups and programs but I didn’t realizes that there were also libraries that offered programs to also promote math and science concepts as well. I like how they use books first to gain an idea and then tie it into math and science by exploring the concepts in the story a little further to better their understanding not only of the story but of the math and/or science behind it.
A way that I can see this information being useful in the future is to have programs like this available to all libraries nationwide. In the article it said that it started out in Vermont and spread to libraries in New York, Delaware, and Texas. With children having access to programs like this from the preschool level they will then enter kindergarten with a greater knowledge base and with deeper understanding of the math and science concepts that they will need for the rest of their lives.