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Reggio / Waldorf / Forest Kindergarten / Granola / Natural - Learning Methods>Do Parents Even Care About The Thought And Effort? - Natural Toys Etc
pootmcgoot 11:55 AM 06-19-2012
I loved the posts about you ladies revising your toys and going to a more natural, open ended sort of play. I love parts of the waldorf method and have made my daughter toys.

Recently I stocked up on little people, plastic toys and stuff that other kids seem to be interested in, in anticipation of adding a few more kiddos to my daycare after I shift from only having 1 infant.

I've made waldorf dolls. I've made wooden blocks, nesting toys, peg dolls, dress up stuff etc. It takes a lot of effort and thought. Buying natural, open ended wooden toys is EXPENSIVE. Let me tell you...Even making them is expensive!

So, the question is: Do parents even CARE? Do they care their kids are playing with a one of a kind doll that took 10 hours to make, have love sewn into her and fosters creativity and imagination? Or do they just see a doll?

As a small, in home day care, does it even matter if we have a sort of "style" to child care?

I wish they cared. I am really wishy washy on wanting to invest my time in making these toys and projects when parents won't even notice.

What has your experience been?
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AmyLeigh 12:07 PM 06-19-2012
I haven't been in the business long, but I can tell you one thing I learned here; it has to be about the children, not the parents.
My dcf's wouldn't care if I let their children sit in front of the tv with Doritos and Mountain Dew. But I care. I care about the children. We are outside a lot. We do a lot of free play, creative thinking, problem solving. We eat good, wholesome foods. We learn manners, self care, how to listen to instructions. We get messy. We go to parks, children's museums, library story time. We have fun. That is what I want to give my own children and just drag my dckiddos along for the ride.
The children enjoy it and so I enjoy it. It's not to say that the parents don't appreciate my efforts, it's just that they really don't care one way or the other. But I care. That's what counts.
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Solandia 12:14 PM 06-19-2012
My dayparents LOVE the effort that I put into homemade healthy hot meals, consistent discipline, schedules, tons of park & outside play, potty training, etc....as long as it doesn't cost extra.

The second that anything adds to the cost of daycare, it is not longer that important. If my dcparents knew that I cut costs about $15/wk+ by not providing meals, open ended crafts, no water/sand play, and cheapo toys....we would be eating PB&J every day, and oriental trading company crafts-in-a-bag for major holidays. However, I would be completely unhappy with that setup, so it isn't even an option.
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cheerfuldom 12:20 PM 06-19-2012
I think that there are many good parents out there, the ones that will see and appreciate your efforts! However, like Amy said, it is about the children, not (just) the parents. I really do feel that the things you described such as traditional toys ARE better for them. I do think everything should be done in moderation though.....I am on a tight budget and anything here is used till it falls apart. With that in mind, I do not purchase pricey Waldorf custom made dolls and other high ticket items. I think there is a way to pursue a certain style of childcare without losing your sanity by spending all your earnings to buy only wooden toys or that type of thing.
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pootmcgoot 01:08 PM 06-19-2012
You know, I could make a waldorf doll for 15$. Honestly, with my craft supplies, I could make a dozen for nothing out of pocket right now.

And wooden toys, blocks, nesting stuff etc...I can make for less than 10$ a piece. I have the tools, wood etc to make them in my shed. It's the time put into them that is what counts to me.

My husband asked me what makes me want to do daycare. I had to think hard on that, especially after having a screaming, high needs infant as my only charge right now. And honestly? It's watching the children play and their different interests and styles of play. Toys have a lot to do with that. I think the toys are more for ME and the children than the parents. I just wish I could find families that appreciate how much I put into their children's play and learning experiences.

This post was sparked by a parent turning me down for 75$ weekly for 30 hours. I guess it just hurts.
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Ariana 01:11 PM 06-19-2012
Some parents care and others don't. I have one parent that really doesn't care as long as her daughter is being treated well and that is the basis for her standards (which is perfectly acceptable), then I had another parent who wanted someone that served good food and had a "natural" setting and environment.

Most of the stuff I do at my daycare the parents don't really understand anyway since they aren't educated in my field. I don't really bother to explain it to them either unless they ask. I do it for me and the kids, not for them!
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spud912 01:27 PM 06-19-2012
I see where you're coming from, but IMO, you don't want those types of families anyway.

As far as appreciation for toys? I try to have the best quality for myself. I like it for longevity, lack of obnoxious noise, and the type of play it fosters. I really don't care what the parents think. However, if I were to ask my parents, I think they would say that it looks nice, their kids are learning a lot while here, and they are happy.
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Springdaze 12:12 PM 06-19-2012
I think it is most times going to matter to you more than the parents. Parents just want to know their kids are safe and sometimes that they are getting a good price. We hear it all the time about art projects that end up in the garbage.

Maybe some just dont see the advantage to these things. I think homemade, open ended things are great, but its not my be all and end all, and you just have to know that its not personal, just different styles and interests.
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Blackcat31 12:12 PM 06-19-2012
The first few years I was open and wasn't as experienced, strong valued and educated as I am now, my DCF's didn't even notice anything I did or didn't do as fara s those types of things. They didn't notice good meals, healthy practices, frequent exercise and good rest. I have no idea if they cared or not as no one ever said a word that was positive or negative.

A few years into my profession, I started actually looking for and ONLY accepting specific families into my program. Now the things we do, why we do them and how we do them are a big concern to my DCF's. I am leaning heavily towards a mixture of both Reggio and Montessori approaches and have enrolled a couple families simply for that reason alone.

I think the impact your environment, values and teaching/caring style has on the parents and children you serve has alot to do with the type of families/children you get into care.

For example if I had an open space and a family looking for care came and interviewed with me and said they watch a lot of TV or didn't really care how they ate or played at home, then I would immediately pass on them and interview someone else.

I want families who care about the stuff I care about. When you do that, it makes the behavior problems most people vent about somewhat be none existent....kwim?

It also has a huge impact on what happens if an issue does appear. I know my DCF's will all work with me if their child was having some sort of issue at care. We are all on the same page so working together is easy and expected.
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My3cents 09:09 AM 06-20-2012
So, the question is: Do parents even CARE?depends on the clients that you have- Some do and some don't. Do they care their kids are playing with a one of a kind doll that took 10 hours to make, have love sewn into her and fosters creativity and imagination? Or do they just see a doll? I think everyone would notice what appeals to them personally. I have an appreciation for homemade things. If it was beyond ugly, no I wouldn't think much of it. If it was simple and I could picture the possibilities I would probably like it. I would also like the doll that was bought at your local Target. What I would look for- Is it clean and well kept- safety issues- broken pieces, old paint. I have friends that have totally different opinions of that doll.

As a small, in home day care, does it even matter if we have a sort of "style" to child care? I don't know. Everyone's homes are different. I have seen eclectic style homes- everything is artsy, seen modern, seen woodsy-natural style, messy, lived in, neat as a pin, latest greatest etc... I think it matters to the person that lives in it, and is running the care program, and I think it is in the eye of the beholder for the parents. They go and see your space, place, and then they think if they like it or not. Importance will appeal to individual interest.

I wish they cared. I am really wishy washy on wanting to invest my time in making these toys and projects when parents won't even notice.Do what makes you happy and for the right reasons. I personally strive for a balance- and you will find a modge podge environment- leaning more towards artsy whimsical, colorful I often wish I had more of a stream line approach to my space, but I am drawn to what moves me, and mostly what I think will move the kiddo's

What has your experience been? Hope this helps- my advice is to invest what you want to invest. I prefer not to lean one way or the other but figure out what I like- the parents will like it or not and that is ok. I do projects with kids to give them the chance to use those materials, and I start young, babies. My thoughts are that if you install in them the love for color, textures, shapes, etc....young, they will grow into art and all its possibilities. The same with other things. I don't worry about what happens to something that is sent home. For one- you can't keep everything, enjoy it and let it go. Some of my parents keep everything and some of them it hits the trash. It is all on personal importance. Then you have the parents that just don't care about anything- I try to just stay clear of that type, try, but when I can't I hope I impact them in positives, just by being myself and my own place/space-
Best-

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DBug 10:13 AM 06-20-2012
I don't think my dcp's care what direction I'm going in. What they DO like is that I'm going in a direction.

I think they like the fact that I'm engaged with the environment I provide, that I try to make it engaging and educational for the kids, that things are updated regularly (even if it's just rearranging things), and that I'm putting time, effort and research into making my daycare work well for the kids and I.

Most of them have no idea what "Montessori-inspired" or "natural playscape" means, but they do appreciate the fact that I know what those things mean .
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sally 06:33 AM 05-24-2013
I know this post is old but I'm having a hard time with a set of parents who prefer to have their kids sit and watch tv. They don't care about toys, outside play or anything. We always spend some time outside (weather permitting) and one day they came with no shoes. I was ticked off and dcg says mom says we can't go outside and play because we don't have shoes so now we can watch tv. They went outside barefoot! And the tv was never turned on! I try to have different toys for the kids but the parents couldn't care. I have trouble keeping the kids playing with toys. They will play for a few minutes and constantly ask for tv.
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Blackcat31 07:17 AM 05-24-2013
Originally Posted by sally:
I know this post is old but I'm having a hard time with a set of parents who prefer to have their kids sit and watch tv. They don't care about toys, outside play or anything. We always spend some time outside (weather permitting) and one day they came with no shoes. I was ticked off and dcg says mom says we can't go outside and play because we don't have shoes so now we can watch tv. They went outside barefoot! And the tv was never turned on! I try to have different toys for the kids but the parents couldn't care. I have trouble keeping the kids playing with toys. They will play for a few minutes and constantly ask for tv.
Was daily outside time and no TV discussed during the interview?

I would simply turn the family away at the door any time, they are dropped off with no shoes or proper items for outside play.

I would also speak directly to the parents about your routine of daily outside play and not allowing the kids to sit in front of the TV all day.

If they are unhappy about how you run your program, they can always move on.
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sally 07:55 AM 05-24-2013
I did give them a daily schedule and it does vary on how many kids are here or the weatherbut I only have pbs or animal planet on in the morning for the kids who have finished breakfast and waiting for the others who haven't. When they are all done tv goes off for free play. Some days I will turn it on for the 5yr old dcg when the littlest ones are down for a nap and she doesn't feel tired but needs to be quiet. I have told dcf repeatedly about sturdy shoes for outside play and that I don't have the tv much at all. The day she sent them with no shoes I sent a note home asking mom and dad to please read the contract - my handbook again. Dcg is very behind academically. She had health issues. Wad taken out of preschool after only a couple months and didn't make it to kindergarten this year. They want me to get her caught up so I try to work with her but also give her playtime. But she tells me at home all her and dcb do is watch tv and movies. Parents drive you crazy!
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Blackcat31 08:17 AM 05-24-2013
Originally Posted by sally:
I did give them a daily schedule and it does vary on how many kids are here or the weatherbut I only have pbs or animal planet on in the morning for the kids who have finished breakfast and waiting for the others who haven't. When they are all done tv goes off for free play. Some days I will turn it on for the 5yr old dcg when the littlest ones are down for a nap and she doesn't feel tired but needs to be quiet. I have told dcf repeatedly about sturdy shoes for outside play and that I don't have the tv much at all. The day she sent them with no shoes I sent a note home asking mom and dad to please read the contract - my handbook again. Dcg is very behind academically. She had health issues. Wad taken out of preschool after only a couple months and didn't make it to kindergarten this year. They want me to get her caught up so I try to work with her but also give her playtime. But she tells me at home all her and dcb do is watch tv and movies. Parents drive you crazy!
This sounds like a bad situation getting worse.

I would have some serious issues with the above (bolded) part. They can't expect you to make up for their shortcomings as education begins at home.

You can support her learning and you can have academic activities/experiences in your program but when the parents aren't willing to meet their child's basic needs (good rest, good outside play, good food) then you can't "make up" for that.

It really sounds like this family might not be a good fit for your program and if I was not able to get the parents on the right track-with following your rules and bringing the right supplies, as well as not just parking their kid(s) in front of the TV all the time, I would seriously consider terming them and finding someone else to fill their spaces.

I would gladly provide academic activities and experiences for the kids in care but I would never agree to getting a child back on track like that.

Yes! You are right.....Parents can drive us crazy!! Hang in there....
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sally 08:23 AM 05-24-2013
Thanks! Sometimes I think it helps to hear this from someone else! I will be talking to the mom and dad and if we can't get things worked out I will be letting them go
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littlemissmuffet 07:54 AM 05-24-2013
Originally Posted by sally:
I know this post is old but I'm having a hard time with a set of parents who prefer to have their kids sit and watch tv. They don't care about toys, outside play or anything. We always spend some time outside (weather permitting) and one day they came with no shoes. I was ticked off and dcg says mom says we can't go outside and play because we don't have shoes so now we can watch tv. They went outside barefoot! And the tv was never turned on! I try to have different toys for the kids but the parents couldn't care. I have trouble keeping the kids playing with toys. They will play for a few minutes and constantly ask for tv.
Poor kiddos. I have the opposite in my childcare and have parents who prefer tons of outdoor time and no tv - we are a no television daycare, and that's the primary reason many parents choose us.

I agree with BC that you need to discuss with the parents how you run your program and how you do not watch tv all day and you DO go outside. Give them the option to find care elsewhere if this doesn't fit their "needs"

I also do not provide care for the day when a child shows up inappropriately dressed. Don't let them in if the children aren't wearing shoes!
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Tags:nature based, parents - are clueless, parents - dont know how, toys - wooden, waldorf method, waldorf school
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