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Old 02-11-2011, 05:31 AM
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SunflowerMama SunflowerMama is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Texas
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Originally Posted by melskids View Post
this is what i do.....

i have what i call "blue table toys". i have an area set up with (what happens to be) a blue table. the shelves have fine motor, manipulatives, math/science, puzzles, and alphabet games. this is where i put the tot trays. the kids know anything they take off the shelf gets played with only at the blue table, and put away before they choose anything else. there is alot of materials, so i do rotate them frequently.

the writing area (desk) is stocked with paper of different sizes/types, envelopes, pencils, crayons, markers, letter stamps, glue sticks and scissors, lap size dry erase boards, sand paper letters, and letter stencils.

the cozy corner is also the libary/book area, and has headphones w/ cd players for listening to books on tap/cd.

dramatic play is set up like a home, but changes with topics, like Dr.s office, grocery store, a bear cave, etc. there are menus, clipboards w/ paper too. and dress up clothes.

the block area has a couple of different types of blocks, and baskets of people, cars, trains, animals, and other props. there are clipboards there too, so they can "design" their buildings first. sometimes i even have an old digital camera there so the kids can take pictures of what they build and post them on the wall (i'm also still looking for old blueprints to add there too.)

the sand table is always available, and has tools to measure, scoop and pour, and letter/number sand molds.

the art area (which is my favorite place) has two shelves stocked full of art supplies. i do rotate some stuff, cause i just have sooo much. currently there are stickers, stamp pads and heart stamps, dot markers, watercolors, a box of wood srcaps, and playdough. there are different types of paper, foam and cardboard, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, those fancy scissors, hole punchers, yarn and ribbon. the art easel is always available. there is paint on one side, and chalk on the other.

everything is down on their level and available for them to choose what they want to do. many of you may think how messy and chaotic it must be, but its really not. they are taught early on, to choose one thing at a time and pick up before they move on to the next activity. so if they have playdough out, and want to move over to the sand table, the playdough must be picked up, put away in the right spot,AND the table must be wiped clean for the next child. just because i follow the childs lead, it doesn't mean they can run wild and tear my home apart. that's not really what "child centered" means. (to me anyway)

i have an 18 month old who is tearing through shelves like nobody's business. but i take the time to work with him and teach him the proper way to play, and clean up. its more work now, but by age 2, they have it down pat. and to me that is part of the "curriculum".

everything is labeled with the word and a picture, so the kiddos know where everything goes. it does make cleanup much easier. there is a limit too, of how many kiddos can be in one area at a time.

and occasionally we do make premade "cookie cutter" crafts. there is always something so adorable about handprint ladybugs, or turkeys, or snowmen. and the parents DO like to see these things as well. but they are offered in addition to the open area of art supplies.

letters/shapes/colors/numbers are everywhere, and we learn them through everything we do. it all comes very naturally and organically. we talk about shapes and numbers when we build. We count out forks and plates when we set the table. they learn letters when they sign themselves in every morning and check the job/helper chart. i dont need to sit in a circle and drill flashcards in their heads to teach them. (JMO-please dont anyone take offense) i'd rather take the time to see a child master a real life skill, then to see how much info i can cram into their head. and the funny thing is, they all leave more then ready for kindy. i'm all about early childhood education, just not in a hurry up, gotta make them smarter then the next kid kinda way.

i wish i could post pics to show you my set up, but i have a dinosaur of a computer, and dial upit takes HOURS just to get one pic up...maybe i'll try it this weekend.
This is my end goal...to a T!! I've been open a little over a year and do use a curriculum (MGT) but much prefer the open endedness of free art and other activities that encourage their creativity. I would love to switch between now and September and have a setup that is more like this and drop the pre-packaged curriculum.

My problem is space and how to best set it up. I so hope you can get pictures up of your setup because I would love to see how you have it all organized. I have 2 Ikea round tables and a cool cubby shelve in my kitchen/dining area that could work for art supplies or tot trays but would love to see how you have it all set up.

I'd also of course have to start really working with the kids on choosing an activity and cleaning up that activity before moving on to the next.
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