Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Have a Box

For some time now I've struggled with a small segment of my morning routine - how to clean up from lunch; rearrange the room quickly to make space for cots; change diapers; help children with their toileting; put out sleep cots and as well have something for the children to do while all this is going on, so that the floor space stays clear, ie. no toys out if at all possible because I need floor space for the cots. :) I have really adequate time for this, but sometimes end up abit flustered. I have from the end of eating (approx. 12:00 to about 12:20.)

In the past other teachers have used movie time to keep the children entertained - but I don't plan to do this, I don't believe daycare is a place for t.v.

Other years, my children have just been possibly abit older or a different kind of group, and were content to take out a book, while I ran about in a blur of activity.

This year my children aren't content to sit with a book, they want to play, and move.And truly I don't want to make "book time", as a punishment. (Although I have twice heard myself say "That's ENOUGH, now STOP running. SIT down now, and LOOK at your book!) This comes when I'm feeling stressed, or feeling behind.

(For a good discussion of why not to use books as "punishment" of sorts, and also why  "silent
 reading" with young children isn't really developmentally attainable check out Lisa Murphy's book, Play.)

After talking this through with a woman who is acting as a consultant to our center, I came up with a special box, for just this period of day filled with some relaxing, sensory and other kind of activities.

I've been experimenting with what objecs will both invite the children to use the box, and as well provide a quick cleanup.

Here's the box

 I covered the box with shiny gold sticker paper we had donated from a parent, added a picture of children involved in meditating, and on the other side a cute dog picture.

Inside we have small baskets with manipulative objects such as rocks, plastic bugs, finger puppets; some photo albums' a "finger piano"; and a few other things.    


So far, I'm not happy with my box, the little baskets are a bit difficult for my children to open, and there is also some competitiveness to have one or two favourite items.And at the end we tend to quickly throw everything in, requiring me to reorganzie for the next day.I also have 4 "squishy" balls which are meant as stress balls so to speak, but really the children want to throw them.

It seems I still haven't found the right mix of things for inside the box, or the box is not the answer to my problem..

I'm wondering if anyone out  there may have some suggestions for me?


Geraldine said...

I like what you say about TV NOT being appropriate for daycare, kids spend too much time (according to the stats) in front of the box already! Sorry, no suggestions but nice to read new posts here today.

Happy Week Brenda and hugs, G

child central station said...

I don't use TV in my childcare either. One thing that seems to work well for me is to have drawing/writing time. If I find a sitting place for the children to be with books, puzzles, paper and crayons, etc... They tend to stay busy while I get things done. I have also found that having a photo album of the children and different activities that is only available for these special times is really helpful. Do the children have jobs to help out? Is it possible to set any of the cots out before you serve lunch? (Sorry, I don't know how your set up is...) We do this, and because children finish eating at different times, they often go to their cots at different times. I hope some of this helps. Let me know if you are still looking for other ideas.

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi Ger!
Thanks for dropping in, it's always nice to see your comments! :)

Thanks for your input,I used to put my cots out before lunch, but was asked not to by my director, she felt that food might get on them. (I see her point, I have usually about 13 cots to put out, so it takes up most of the walking space, not much room for walking to the bathroom, etc.)

I love the photo album idea, I need to get busy and put our pictures in an album.

I am thinking about having the children help more with jobs, Wendy at Nurturing Forests, said once her children help with putting the cots out, so I might be able to introduce some of this to our routine.

The drawing might be good, I wonder about individual clipboards in my box, and pencils. Hmm...