A few brief words about my daycare business:
- I am new to the daycare world – I’ve been open for only one year. I have experience with children – mother of three, assistant teacher in a Montessori school for a year, etc. – but have not had any schooling in childhood development, theory, or curriculum.
- My program caters to school teachers. This means that I follow the school calendar with only limited availability during the summer months. Nice for me, nice for the teachers.
- I’m learning as I go and am VERY flexible with my program. If something doesn’t work I’ll change it – the environment, schedule, etc. So while I hope to do the weekly themes all year there are no promises:)
With those bullet points complete, on with the weekly theme overview…
I knew I wanted to focus on having themes in daycare this year. Not only does it keep our weeks “fresh” but it also provides me with a creative outlet (and deadline) each week. If you know my daycare though this is kind of funny (overkill, dorky??) because my group right now is literally my three plus one infant. Lil’ Lady is only 5 months so obviously not participating much in the weekly activities…although she is a diligent observer! So pretty much for right now it’s more like home-school preschool with a themed approach (or as Alison at Oopsey Daisy beautifully calls it – “Mommy School”.) We do have more friends joining us soon though – two of them will even be old enough to participate!
I’ve decided to switch themes each week. This means a lot of prep on my end but the kids are LOVING it. They get so excited to see what we’re doing – to the point that they have told strangers (i.e. the poor check-out folks we encounter at stores, Sunday School teachers, etc.) ALL about it.
I follow a very loose structure each week. My approach has been to have ideas of activities, crafts, songs, etc. in mind for each theme but I don’t schedule out when we’ll do them except for Fridays. WE ALWAYS MAKE TREATS ON FRIDAY. This is one perk for my clients as we send treats home each week – nothing like some free home-made dessert to start the weekend:) Next-door grandma and grandpa also reap the benefits of this activity. All this sharing is good as it allows me to try new treats without having a ton for my family to finish (devour!)
So, throughout the week we utilize or implement various activities based on interest level, each day’s unique schedule, etc. I don’t interrupt engaged play for a “scheduled activity” – especially if my two ladies are playing well together. This isn’t always the case (they can fight like cats and dogs) so when nice sisterly play happens I roll with it. Also, I care for infants so our days are often “shaped” by the baby’s needs, stage, etc. As anyone who has had an infant knows, a irritable, teething baby can make most activities harder! Sometimes we get very little done on my list of things to do. It can be heartbreaking (or irritating:) for me but I think this is a healthy approach for the kiddos.
Each week’s theme “agenda” includes some of the following:
- Books – usually from the library, sometimes from our ever-growing collection
- Songs – my own or others (you’ll probably prefer others:)
- Math & Science
- Crafts & Art
- Field Trip
- Vocabulary & Concepts
- Food – Friday treats & theme-based snacks, breakfast, and lunch ideas
- Audio-Visual – cartoons, movies, etc.
Because the preschool-age children are mostly my own the activities carry over to the weekend with frequency. For example, we typically do a movie at some point over the weekend. I’ve been trying to make this movie relate to the past week’s theme when possible. In the winter months we typically do movies on Wednesday during daycare since we don’t have outings as often and don’t get as much outdoor time.
That’s the quick overview of the kid activities. To satisfy my own desire for creativity (and to engage my “parent clients”) I’ve also started doing “tablescapes” centered on each weeks theme. No worries – I’m not going out and buying stuff to make a fancy set-up. I AM scrounging around our house for various fun items. I have been thoroughly surprised by what I’ve been able to pull together and can’t wait to show all of you! Although the sheer amount of stuff that I can “whip out” of our possessions is a little frightening…you’ll see what I mean:) Each tablescape also includes a photo – up to know I haven’t used any stock photos. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make this happen for each theme though.
That’s it in a nutshell. The themes we’ve completed to date include: Babies, Grandparents, “A” is for Apples, “B” is for Bugs & Butterflies, “C” is for Construction, “D” is for Dance, and this week – “E” is for Emotions. I’d post future weeks’ planned themes but then a) I’d be committed which would make me anxious AND less likely to complete and b) I’m not quite sure of what they are:)
Hope this series will be inspirational to some (recipes, crafts, etc.) and just entertaining for others. Week 1 – Babies will be posted soon.
Thanks for checking in!
Blue Skies & Blessings,