I think when you work with children of a certain age you spend a great deal of time saying "We are almost done with this and then we will move to the next activity" Doesn't matter that you spent longer setting up than they actually spent DOING the activity. For them five minutes is forever. So how do you keep the attention of small children during a normal day? Especially a long one if you care for children all day?
You make sure you switch activities often during the day. I know, I know. That is a ton of work for you. But in the long run it will make your day run smoothly.
I was told by someone that didn't get me, that the one thing they could say about my program is that I was consistent. Which was hilarious for me, because they only came into my program maybe once a month and didn't see how often I removed something because the children were not in the mood to continue the activity. It also showed how little they understood about why I was consistent with our schedule and having replacement activities.
One of the most important pieces of advice I could give any provider is to have a schedule. It doesn't have to be strict. It just needs to be consistent. Which are two separate things in this world. Strict means that thing have to happen at the same time every single day no matter what. Consistent means we have events that happen every day but the time they happen is not as important. For Example I have circle time at 8am. At least that is what it says on my schedule. But it is important that the children have time to decompress before we have circle time. They play with toys and interact with the environment before they have to sit and talk with me about what we will be doing and going over the calendar and the weather. Sometimes Circle time starts 15 minutes late or we skip it and go right into centers.
For example the day we worked on the pockets, we were behind by at least 20 minutes. But staying on schedule was not more important than the children actually getting something worth while out of their experience at the centers. I have the children at centers to learn how to share materials, how to socialize and to help with inspiration on a smaller scale. I love the way the children interact at the centers. They are supportive and discuss the different aspects of the work they are working on.
I wanted to explain why I pull out certain Projects out and use them as one on one activities. Sometimes if the activity is something that they are suppose to be practicing more than one motor skill I will want to make sure that they are actually understanding the concepts. This means more often I will have math and reading activities worked on with me during free play. With out the pressure of their friends siting with them they are able to concentrate better.
Having so much one on one and small group time has allowed the classroom to run much better in regards to behaviors and reducing noise in the classroom. It also allows me to get to know the children and their ability levels so much better. I am able to pin point the exact time they have reached their limit and when they are ready to move on before it causes issues. I am very lucky that the curriculum I have picked allows me to work so much with them one on one. Mother Goose Time curriculum is one that encourages self pace and building on skills.
The classroom set up allows for me to have quieter activities on one side of the room and the louder ones at the other end. The set up of the classroom is just as important as anything else when it comes to this career field. The amount of toys available and when they are accessible can be the difference between chaos and calm.
Until next time! Keep Teaching!
I receive Mother Goose Time Curriculum in return for an honest review.