Routine for your Day Care …. Options

How do you begin your day in the classroom?  As the children trickle in, do they have free playtime? Center orientated table work? Library time?  No matter what the routine is …. The key is to have a routine.  Children flourish when kept busy and directed.  Of course, this does not mean that every moment must be planned down to the last minute detail.  Children, just like adults, need and want choices.  As caretakers of our youth, parents and teachers alike should provide optional choices – not for every activity, but every now and then.

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 Circle Time ushers in the day with a natural routine and usually entails a ‘Welcome’ song or rhyme; Calendar sequencing; day placement; weather discussion; emotions of the morning; Days of the week and anything else that you find useful and able to squeeze into this very limited amount of ‘attention span’.

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 At some time during the day, even in a ‘learn through play’ environment, shapes, letters, colors and numbers will become a necessary topic of discussion.

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 Inclusion of popular rhymes and songs can be incorporated in via interactive play, songs, dances and reading.  Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue, Hey Diddle Diddle and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary are only a few of the not to be forgotten nursery rhymes.

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 Creating ‘hands-on’ art projects, not only inspire the little ones and give much needed tactile and visual experiences – but also keep the parents happy and content with new refrigerator décor.  Art is not just about watercolors, paper and glue … but can incorporate science, math and reading –  just about everything. Projects can be as simple as coloring sheets, lunch bag puppets, scrap paper tear & paste art and even creating a very personalized book.  Anything that can be shown proudly by the little hands that made it qualifies as a piece of invaluable fine art. 

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 What centers do you provide for your students?  Do you have enough room for a dramatic play center; art easel; construction area;  sand box; library; water table; block area; writing center and play dough area?  Of course you do.  Whether you are in a large based center or in a home environment, you have room.  Isn’t that why plastic shoebox size and larger containers were created?  They provide convenience with storage and come in many sizes.  A few Legos in one – you have a block area; some cookie cutters, mat and clay doh in another – you have a dough center and paper, pencil, markers and crayons in another provides a basic writing center (add a ruler, protractor and some stamps and washable ink pads for an expandable center).  These containers also make it easy to restrict the choices given for the student(s).  Only pull out the centers you want available that day.  Switching the centers on a regular basis will make the ‘old’ always seem new!

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