Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Average Day at Giant Steps

What can you expect when you bring your child to Giant Steps? Kids thrive on consistent routines and like to know what's coming up next, so I try to arrange our day in a predictable order. Having said that, I also believe strongly in child-led activities and am flexible on a day-to-day basis. The kids are going to spend many years in structured school where they change topics when the bell rings. I try to avoid that here whenever possible. If they are loving something and having a wonderful time, we'll do it all morning. If I had planned something to go all morning and they're not interested, we'll change to something else. This routine is loosely based on the ages and interests of the individuals in my care at the present time, and therefore is subject to change if I get new kids with different likes and dislikes.

  • Doors open at 7:30. Kids generally arrive between 7:30 and 8:30 or a bit after. They have free play time while we wait for all the friends to get here and I am cooking breakfast.
  • Breakfast is usually between 8:30 and 9. I try to cook hot meals several times a week and fill in with cereal or yogurt. A fruit is also served, along with milk. Infants ready for fruit or rice cereal are also fed during this time period.
  • After breakfast: infants are taken care of based on their individual schedules. Most take morning naps, and we try to include them in circle time before they go to sleep if possible. While they sleep, it is activity time for the older kids. We have story time, singing/circle time, calendar work, and a graph about what color shirt everyone is wearing. If the weather is nice we try to spend some time outside, either in the yard or taking a walk. We do painting throughout the day, one at a time at the porch easel, and do art and games relating to our current Read It Once Again title.
  • Around 11:30 we tidy up the playroom and turn on a short movie so the kids can watch it while we fix lunch. Lunch will be a protein, a carb, two fruits/veggies, and milk. A majority of the time it's a hot lunch and I try to avoid processed food whenever possible.
  • For about the next hour and a half it's a cycle of lunch and naps- the babies get up and want to eat, the big kids want to eat and then need to nap.
  • The late afternoon is more flexible as the kids wake up one by one. Unless asked by a parent to wake them up at a certain time, I don't wake sleeping kids. My feeling is that if they're sleeping, they need it. We choose art activities and small toys and games that can be done with different numbers of kids while everyone finishes nap. Then we have snack and prepare for the end of the day.
We try to include the kids in household activities such as cooking, cleaning, and planning whenever we can. We talk all day long and try to foster the interests of each individual.  I don't want anyone to be lost in the shuffle and make sure I spend time hugging and holding each one, talking to them and finding out more about them. I also work very hard on polite manners- table etiquette, dealing with friends, and speaking nicely.

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