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Old 10-31-2018, 01:28 PM
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tenderhearts tenderhearts is offline
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Default Sorry for All the Questions

So I"m really to kind of revamp my daycare. I'm feeling like lately that a lot of my issues that I have with my daycare kids is the way I have things set up. Everyting is neat and organized but I feel like maybe there are too many things readily available to them for free play and that maybe I need to limit this and do more centers. I have drawers and bins where there are baskets of dinosaurs. 3 drawers of cars, which mostly are matchbox and I think that is waaaaaay to many. Are these always available to them?
How do you guys have these other random toys within if that makes sense.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:37 PM
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I have 4 main center areas:

1)circle rug
2)puzzle rug
3)kitchen rug
4)art table

Each toy or "center" as I call them has to stay on one rug. So I may have:

wooden blocks on the circle rug
learning trays at the art table
pegs and boards on the puzzle rug
and the play kitchen area is either open or closed based on who is present.

Each center fills a regular fabric box you buy from walmart that goes inside one of those cube organizers. Sometimes I use the whole bucket, sometimes not depending on the age of who is at the center.

Children can switch centers as often as they like and take out whatever they like but they know they must clean up one center before taking another one out. So while the toys are "out" meaning they are stored in the classroom, but not being actively used helps a ton when it comes time to clean up.

Depending on age I will let children take out more than one center. For example, my 3's are really into magna tiles and dinos at the same time. They understand to put each center back in its proper space when it's time to clean up, so they have earned the privilege of having more than one center out at the same time.

I found doing it this way makes clean up easier, play more in depth and allows for a smoother day. I don't necessarily have random toys. Everything is part of a set, or a center. Otherwise it is tossed out.

Hopefully that helps some!
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Old 10-31-2018, 04:32 PM
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Ok I see, so when you have them out for the center on the rug, they can have a couple of things out like you said dinos and tiles? Do you also have just free play areas for other things that aren't centers? such as cars, car garage, dolls or just other random toys?
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:12 PM
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I do exactly like Baby Beluga!
Every "center" as a carpet or table.
They can take out a bucket of cars, but it stays on the carpet. Some toys can be taken out together, such as wood blocks and cars, or animals. But everything goes back in it's own bucket.
Some things, like little people sets, are taken out by themselves since there's usually cars and people with the buildings.
The kids learn pretty quick what can and can't be taken out together (and similar to what Baby Beluga said, they can loose that privilege if clean up is an issue)

They pick up what they are playing with before moving on to another bucket/carpet/center.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:47 AM
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I guess if I had older dcks during the day I might do things a little differently but at the moment, mine are 2 and under. I let them just play with whatever and wherever they prefer. I have no restrictions for their exploration except concerns for safety or if they haphazardly start dumping buckets. And for some reason that's what they started doing just last week. So I'm teaching them the idea they need to pick up 1 bucket before they go onto something else.
I have a 4 yo and 5 yo that come at 3:00 and they're by far the worst. Well, the 5 yo is great at picking up. But the 4 yo seems to be 'out there' sometimes(you can tell him something 10x and he still gives you a blank look) and will let everyone else pick up for him. But it's the busiest part of my day so it's spent rushing them through snack, bathroom and getting everyone outside.
Very seldom have I created 'centers' for dcks to play in. I like to watch what they can do with multiple types of materials. But I always encourage them to help in clean-up.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenderhearts View Post
Ok I see, so when you have them out for the center on the rug, they can have a couple of things out like you said dinos and tiles? Do you also have just free play areas for other things that aren't centers? such as cars, car garage, dolls or just other random toys?
Yes and no. Everything here is a center, even during free play. If that makes sense. During free play, I will say "Johnny, what do you want to take out?" and he will say "The cars on the car rug!" So we take those out (car rug is stored under the circle rug...I just pull it out and put it on top. I limit each area to two children so I will pair someone who plays well with Johnny on the car rug. Then I will say "Sally, what do you want to take out?" and she will say "babies in the kitchen!" so her and another child can play babies and play kitchen on the kitchen rug.

Each rug is 5x8 or bigger, so they aren't small rugs. Once centers have been picked, the kids are in those centers for a bit then we switch based on their interest level.

Doing it this way also allows me to pull one child aside to work on something individual like writing their name, an in depth art project, etc.

As far as random stuff, I really don't have any. I have play kitchen items (play kitchen dolls, doll items, high chair, table/chair set, etc) that is on the kitchen rug. Little people house/barn and bucket of little people/furniture, box of cars, magnatiles, blocks, dinos/animals, pegs and boards, puzzles, pipe builders, etc, etc. are all stored in their own bucket on the cube shelves. I hope that makes sense. If you want send me a PM and I will give you the link to my FB page that has pictures of the classroom on it. They are 2 years old (taken Sept 2016, lol) but the bones are still the same. I've added a few administrative things like a sign on/out shelf by the door and a couple of new fabric buckets on the shelves. But it will give you an idea of the rugs and how the room is broken up.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:22 AM
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So if every thing has to be brought to a "circle" what do you do when more than one child wants to play with it? I have a bucket of dinosaurs and I literally have 4-5 that want to play with it together, it seems with my current group everyone wants to do what everyone else wants to do, I doubt they would all fit on one circle, not to mention when they play dinosaurs, they will use other toys such as a playhouse or something with it, so I feel like they would need more room than a "circle"? Everything is sorted into buckets and labeled, they are only allowed to get one bucket but when you have 6 kids and everyone is dumping things out its really frustrating, I do have issues with them not putting them away which is why I have changed it and they can only get 1 -2 items out, not even the whole bucket until they learn to put it away. I feel like this could be part of my problem with some things. I just want to understand how peoples "centers work, these kids are 3-4 1/2 yrs old
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenderhearts View Post
So if every thing has to be brought to a "circle" what do you do when more than one child wants to play with it? I have a bucket of dinosaurs and I literally have 4-5 that want to play with it together, it seems with my current group everyone wants to do what everyone else wants to do, I doubt they would all fit on one circle, not to mention when they play dinosaurs, they will use other toys such as a playhouse or something with it, so I feel like they would need more room than a "circle"? Everything is sorted into buckets and labeled, they are only allowed to get one bucket but when you have 6 kids and everyone is dumping things out its really frustrating, I do have issues with them not putting them away which is why I have changed it and they can only get 1 -2 items out, not even the whole bucket until they learn to put it away. I feel like this could be part of my problem with some things. I just want to understand how peoples "centers work, these kids are 3-4 1/2 yrs old
I think I'm confused

So "circle" is just a rug. It's actually a rectangle but because we have circle time on that rug the children just started calling it the circle rug. The kids don't have to sit. They are welcome to move around on that rug.

As far as everyone wanting the same thing at the same time, it simply isn't an option. Right now I have 2 children on the puzzle rug with magnatiles and dinos. And 2 children on the circle rug with mega blocks. Depending on interest level here is what will happen next:

1) We will do a center switch. Where the children who are currently on the puzzle rug will move to the circle rug and play with mega blocks. And the children currently on the circle rug will move to the puzzle rug and will work with magna tiles and dinos. UNLESS let's say Sally wants to do little people figurines and magntiles. Then her and her partner will clean the dinos up and take out little people.

Or

2) If I notice they children are no longer engaged in their center we clean it up and take out something completely different.

I do switch out partners. For example: this morning Johnny and Henry are in a center and Sally and Lori are in a center. Later it might be Sally and Johnny in a center together and Lori and Henry in a center together.

Sometimes we have the entire group in the same center and utilize the entire room at the same time. Train track (loose train track pieces and the children build a track that spans the entire room) is one of these centers. Sometimes if everyone wants to play kitchen I move it into the center of the room, add in babies, pens, paper, a cash register, move the art table into the enter of the room and the entire class will play restaurant. Dance breaks, parachute and musical instruments are also entire class centers.

The basic rules are:

1) whatever you are playing with has to stay on your rug.

2) You can have at maximum 2 centers out at the same rug, pending the children's age/development/understanding of properly cleaning up.

3) As a provider you have to know your children for this to work. You have to know who plays well together and pick up on clues as to when you need to switch. Otherwise boredom sets in and behavior will go south. It's easy, but actually takes a good amount of work on the provider because the class is in constant rotation. Different centers are being utilized, different areas of the room are being utilized, children are swapping partners...and then you add in bathroom breaks, meal times, outdoor time, circle time, art, etc and it makes for a busy day. But is is also a smooth day. It allows us time as group, time as individuals and creates order, safety (there are "walkways" between rugs where no toys are allowed to be therefore no tripping happens) and cleanliness all while still allowing for exploration and fun. Sometimes I have a child who will pick one center then 5 minutes later say they are done and want something else. As long as they clean up the first one, that is totally okay.

I hope I am making sense
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:52 AM
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Ok I see I get it now so it's kind of free play but not really meaning they can't just be doing whatever they want with whom ever.
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenderhearts View Post
Ok I see I get it now so it's kind of free play but not really meaning they can't just be doing whatever they want with whom ever.
Pretty much, free play, but within boundaries
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:37 AM
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ok got it thank you
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:10 AM
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Interesting to hear how other providers run their daycares. When you do centers how do you keep them in one area? My kids move all around the room. How do you keep them from going over to see another child/center? I feel like if I told them they canít go over to a certain area there would be meltdowns. My kids are 2yrs and then I have a 12 month old who goes everywhere and intrudes upon what the others are doing or building. How do you keep the younger ones away from the others?
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:01 PM
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What do you do when kids want to play with something that you don't really want them to move to a rug? I have a lot of miscellanious toys. I just feel with how my kids play it would be really hard to keep them on a mat with just one other person as a lot of the time 3 or 4 of them like to play together like house, they love playing house, or dogs, I can't see them just playing on a mat.
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