I take my job very seriously, and make sure to have lots of activities for the children that are fun and stimulating, and are opportunities for learning. I don’t purchase a boxed curriculum, but have developed my own program to introduce all the things that children need to know before they go to kindergarten. I have a lot of experience working with children in developing their skills with the toys we use, the projects we work on together, and the games we play. Our days are busy, but we always have time set aside each day for free play. Each day will include individual indoor and outdoor play, and group activities.
Every day at noon my husband John comes home from his job and spends the afternoons working with me in the daycare. Because he spends so much time working with the kids, he goes through the same 16+ hours of training per year that any other licensed provider receives, and like me he is certified in First Aid and CPR. He is an approved substitute. The kids love him, and vice versa.
A Typical Day at Daycare
I believe that my program gives your child the best of both worlds: the nurturing home environment with the continuity of having one provider and one group of friends, and the benefits that children enrolled in preschool learning centers are provided, with structured activities and learning opportunities. Screen time is limited to short TV segments during transition times, and occasional age-appropriate videos. Most days we don’t have the TV on at all. We do allow 30 minutes per day of supervised tablet time for those kids who choose to bring their tablets from home. We listen to many different types of music throughout the day.
There is plenty of free play time built into our daily schedule, because kids need these few precious years to just “be kids.” In addition to a good selection of toys, there will always be art supplies available for use: crayons, markers, different types of paper, stickers, glue sticks, scissors, coloring sheets, etc. Kids can use these during free play time.
We devote a good portion of our day to structured play. During this time we have daily circle time where we sing, do finger plays, march, play circle games, enjoy dramatic play, and sometimes use musical instruments. We also have daily story time, and table play where we play learning games, working on things like shapes, colors, textures, patterns, sorting, measuring, small motor skills such as beads and lacing cards, art projects, etc. Toddlers will be brought into these activities as early as they are ready, and of course, Infants will be stimulated on their own levels. Often they enjoy watching these activities from their infant seat or high chair.
Tuesdays are enrichment days at Sharon’s Lakeville Tykes. Every Tuesday morning we have a program come into the daycare and work with and/or entertain the kids. Twice per month we have a session with Coach Krysta from Stretch n Grow. Coach Krysta teaches about the muscles of the body with fun songs and activities, and gives us a good workout with props, dancing, and a touch of yoga. One time per month we have a visit from Costume Suzie, a storyteller who comes with a theme and reads, does flannelboards, does simple crafts and games and face painting. The remaining Tuesdays we typically have a music or geography lesson from Travel Tots or an occasional visit from the Tumble Fun Bus. All of these activities are geared toward ages 2 – 5, and children in this age group will pay a $25 per month enrichment fee to help defray the cost of these programs. Younger and older kids may also participate, but since the focus of the teachers is for the 2 – 5 group, only those children will be charged the enrichment fee.
The Outdoor Environment
Our large, fully fenced back yard provides plenty of room for children to safely run and play. Activities include a large swingset with fort, ramp, picnic table, slide, and monkey bars as well as riding toys, a huge sandbox, yard games such as bean bag toss, hula hoops, and various balls.
Summer outdoor activities include free play as well as opportunities to learn about nature, enjoy picnic lunches, and play in the sunshine. We have fun sprinklers and water tables for water play. Winter days also include outdoor play except in extreme weather conditions, with plenty of room for fort-building and snowman-making as well as romping in the snow.
The Indoor Environment
The entire walk-out main level of our split-level home is dedicated to the child care business.
The main family room is divided into two parts. One part is where the children will enter and exit, and it houses their individual locker-like cubbies. In addition this is where the table and highchairs are, and where the children will eat as well as do table activities such as coloring, art projects, etc. The daycare refrigerator and small appliances are in this area to make food preparation handy. Eventually we will be adding more cabinets and a kitchen sink in this area.
The other side is the main play area. Here we have comfy furniture where the children can relax and enjoy story time or their own quiet play, as well as plenty of floor space. There are toy organizers that hold the toys that will always be out and available – things like all sorts of blocks and other manipulatives, Duplo, shape sorters, play food, books, puzzles, push-and-pull toys, infant toys, and toys for dramatic play such as dinosaurs, farm animals, and “little people.” There is also a large selection of toys that will be switched out every couple of weeks so that they don’t become “boring” for the kids. Some examples of these toys are different assortments of play trucks, dolls, and stuffed animals, learning toys such as the Leapfrog caterpillars, pony castle, magnetic toys, play phones, floor puzzles, etc. Finally there are the large toys that are switched out every couple of days. These include the play housekeeping toys, dress-up clothes, large castle-building blocks, musical instruments, play tools and tool bench, and more.
Each infant and toddler will have his or her own crib, and the preschoolers nap on kindermats. We have three full-size cribs as well as an approved portable pack & play. There are two bedrooms in the daycare area. One is an additional play room where we keep the cars and trucks and dolls and stuffed animals. It is also used for napping of toddlers and preschoolers. The other bedroom is the infant room for napping. There is also a comfy couch in this room That can be utilized by nursing moms if necessary as well as a TV / DVD / VHS player. (Yes, it is true – I could not part with my vast selection of VHS for kids.)
The bathroom is completely kid-friendly. All toxic items are well out of reach of children, and there is a hands-free soap dispenser as well as a paper towel dispenser to ensure that each child uses their own towel. Diaper-changing also occurs in the bathroom, where there is a commercial Koala Kare changing station and Diaper Genie for safety and sanitation. In addition there is a space dedicated to diapering products for each child.
The laundry/utility room is 100% off-limits to daycare children. Here we have our laundry appliances as well as any chemicals, and the furnace and water heater. All cleaning supplies for the entire house are kept in this room, as well as personal care items and other toxic things like paint, glue, etc. For this reason, this room will be locked at all times.
The upper level of our home will typically not be used for daycare, although it is also licensed so that it can be used on certain occasions, such as cooking projects for example. The living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom on this second floor are childproofed for these occasions. The master bedroom will be inaccessible to children, as well as the other second floor bedroom, which is my craft room. Trust me when I tell you you do NOT want to see my scrapbooking and craft supplies mess!
We ask that daycare parents park on the 209th street side of our house, enter through the gate on that side, and come into the house through the patio door in the back yard. The front door of the house will be used as an emergency exit, but will not be used on a daily basis. This door opens onto a small landing where you would need to immediately come down the stairs, and is the area where the dog* stays during daycare hours. Thank you all for your cooperation.
*We don’t currently don’t have a dog, but typically do and will be adding one to our family when the right one comes along.