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Curriculum Post any curriculum ideas, activites or projects that wouldbe helpful to our Daycare community. What is your teaching philosophy?

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:20 AM
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Default Cost Difference Between Own Curriculum And Prepackaged?

I've been considering Mother Goose Time curriculum, but I'm wondering if I could save more doing it myself. For those of you who have done both, did you notice a significant difference in cost? Obviously if you cut back on materials and supplies you could save, but I'm wondering more so if I set up my own curriculum similarly to MGT if there would be much if any savings.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:43 AM
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I have often wondered the very same thing. I used to use MGT and Funshine but after shipping rates went up I didn't feel it was feasable. I started using Early Start Fun Learning and really love it! It is super affordable. It's not as "pretty" as the other curriculums but includes everything I need for each month I order. What stopped me from doing my own curriculum was the cost of printing with the ink cartridges. The amount of paper and ink for me quickly added up, and it was so much easier to just order the Early Start kit with everything ready to go. Someday, I still do want to work on my own curriculum for the simple fact that I enjoy teaching. But for now Early Start will do.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:47 AM
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Honestly, most of the store-bought curriculums seem to be too "craft" heavy and have too much "seat work" for my taste.

Highreach Learning has a lot of activities and aligns with most state-core-standards, but if you buy the materials once, you can reuse them for the most part.

I have infants and toddlers, so I am currently not doing a curriculum.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:34 AM
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Yeah, I read some threads where some people were not happy with the program because of the crafts. I like the craft aspect. I think doing "crafts" and "art" are equally important and I want a good mix. Providing materials for children and telling them basically have at it is a lot easier than coming up with crafts (for me). I think finding a program that has the craft aspect takes a lot of work out of it for me. Plus the fact that most of the materials are sent with the kits saves me time. But really I just want to know if it's more cost effective to do a similar program myself vs purchasing a program like MGT.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:15 AM
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I have done it both ways. I used the Home Preschool Program for years and liked many aspects of it. It was a bit pricey, but at that time in my busy life, having pre planned lesson plans and materials that I never needed to shop for really made it worth it!

My biggest issue was having to enroll a specific number of children in it and many times I needed either less or more materials on a particular day.

Doing it all myself now is definitely more cost effective for me...Especially with all of the free sights & ideas on the net.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
Yeah, I read some threads where some people were not happy with the program because of the crafts. I like the craft aspect. I think doing "crafts" and "art" are equally important and I want a good mix. Providing materials for children and telling them basically have at it is a lot easier than coming up with crafts (for me). I think finding a program that has the craft aspect takes a lot of work out of it for me. Plus the fact that most of the materials are sent with the kits saves me time. But really I just want to know if it's more cost effective to do a similar program myself vs purchasing a program like MGT.
That method is much more developmentally appropriate verses boxed crafts.

The kids have fun either way but I prefer to focus on the process and not the end result so I simply supply the materials (on a rotation) and let the kids be as creative as they want.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:37 AM
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Black cat, we will have to agree to disagree. I've read many other threads where you stated your stance on "cookie cutter" crafts. I think both aspects are important and both will be included in my program. I'm not trying to start a debated on art forms, just want to know if someone has done both the prepackaged curriculum (more specifically MGT), and tried recreating a similar program themselves and which was more cost effective.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:32 AM
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I have done both my own curriculum and purchased curriculum. I like both for various reasons - as most have been stated already.

It really depends upon how creative you get. You can do a lot with the items you already have or even nature outdoors, but you need to be creative enough to think that way. Curriculum doesn't always have to be worksheets and crafts. (though I do like to use both at times) To save myself money on copying things, I've laminated alot of stuff. (I let the kids write on them with washable markers, wash and reuse) It is initially more expensive, but I can use it for many many years.

I think it also helps to be organized. If you can have totes or boxes labeled with different themes or items that you can turn to and pull things out as needed. I have clear totes with file folders in them labeled for different themes. I have some premade curriculum in them and some items that I've created myself or pulled from other sources.

I love outdoor activities so we do lots of learning outside when the weather is nice. Your local game fish and parks may be a great resource for you too. Ours has a great website with free printables and they'll send you colored posters, trading cards, etc, etc. I've gotten two complete curriculum books from them as well - all for free. I've even gotten a backback full of resources to use in my daycare. It had bug houses, magnifiers, binoculars, animal track rubbings, fishing supplies, lots and lots of stuff all free!! If you talk to the right people, they are so thrilled that you are willing to take the time to teach children these things and they'll hook you up with some great resources to use. In our area, we can also check out critter packs, they contain different things... some have furs, books, feathers, puppets, lots of fun stuff. This too is free, you just pay a deposit which is returned when the kit is returned.

So, long story short... curriculum does not have to be expensive if you use your resources. Maybe your referral agency could even help you find some resources too. Ours has a toy lending library and it has several science kits, etc...
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
Black cat, we will have to agree to disagree. I've read many other threads where you stated your stance on "cookie cutter" crafts. I think both aspects are important and both will be included in my program. I'm not trying to start a debated on art forms, just want to know if someone has done both the prepackaged curriculum (more specifically MGT), and tried recreating a similar program themselves and which was more cost effective.
Sheesh... I'm sorry.... I wasn't trying to start a debate.

I stated that BOTH ways (boxed and open-ended) were fun for the kids.

I was merely commenting on your statement "Providing materials for children and telling them basically have at it is a lot easier than coming up with crafts (for me)."
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:24 AM
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Okay this is going to get really long but I have tried both pre-made and planned my own curriculum so here are my thoughts about it.

I think that the cost of curriculum highly depends on the type of curriculum you want to use. If you want something easy that takes less time to plan then I'd go with a pre-made curriculum like Mother Goose Time or The Learning Box etc. You know what the cost is up front and everything that you'll need already comes prepared and cut for you (except for glue, crayons, paint etc.). Time wise it'll save you TONS of time but it will be a continuously recurring fee that you will have to pay year after year. Planning your own will take more time and money up front also for the first year because you will have to buy everything fresh including books, toys, materials etc. and then the glue, paper, copies etc. but the actual cost will depend on your curriculum. If you do more open ended activities like process art and not so many craft activities then you don't spend as much time or money on cutting stuff up, preparing or photocopying, you only spend money on stuff you don't already have on hand but then the cost will drop after the first year because now you have the books, equipment and toys.

Either way whether you get pre-made or plan your own you can save the curriculum plan and materials list and then reuse them year after year but you will have to photocopy templates, curriculum plans & instructions and keep them organized.

I'm more of a process-activities vs craft activities and even though I think that crafts are important because of the practice they get with following directions the pre-made curriculum is too "crafty" for me. Only small amounts of activities were open-ended or child-led.

This summer I'm going to use pre-made curriculum (Learning Box) so that I can go back to my own curriculum. I'll use the extra time to plan an August and September curriculum and be ahead by two months, then plan a month of curriculum at a time.

I talked to a pre-school teacher that teaches activity workshops for our daycare association and she showed me a great way to save everything from plans, books and master templates for crafts (the stuff you have to photocopy) in 3 and 2 gallon ziploc bags. Each two gallon bag is one days worth of activities and you all of the master sheets and instructions in them then put 5 of them inside one 3 gallon bag to make one week of planned curriculum. Inside the bigger bag you also put your seasonal books and items that you don't normally have out in your daycare. I'm going to try this and then store the large bags in a large tub organized in chronological order. That way all I have to do is grab one bag and have a whole week of activities already planned and all I have to do is prepare the supplies. You can probably do the same with the pre-made curriculum and save the outline of the activities so that you only have to buy one year's worth of curriculum and then the second year you only have to buy the supplies that you don't have on hand.

3 gallon bags


For those that want to plan their own curriculum but aren't so creative or sure about the curriculum planning process you can get books to help you which have planned activities already. I have one that is my favorite (the first one below) and if you start in August (you can technically start whatever month you like) you can literally follow it week by week and it's starts with introducing the kids to the centers and toys and how to properly care for them, how to use scissors etc. It would be a great refresher for the kids and help you set concrete boundaries about the proper use of toys and supplies.

One book (my favorite so far) is The Weekly Curriculum: 52 Complete Preschool Themes which has 52 weeks of planned activities (300+ pages). There are plenty of crafts but NO worksheets which I really liked. It's about $20 on Amazon.

I also got another one called The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood which has more than 1200 activity ideas (600+ pages) just in case that I don't want to use an activity in the first book or the kids don't like the activity I can replace it with something else. This book has tons of songs, poems, coloring sheets and worksheets that you can use (or choose not to) with the activities. It's about $25.00 on Amazon.

If you want to go above and beyond that when planning your curriculum you can get a book called Family Child Care Curriculum: Teaching through Quality Care. It's a great reference book that explains the WHY and HOW of curriculum in family child care and it focuses on ages 0-5. It also has milestone charts and teaches you about the developmental process of children and how to incorporate multi-age activities that will work in group care. It's a reference book about curriculum not a book with curriculum ideas. This book is about $25 on Amazon and can be used by itself but it was made to go with an assessment system to keep track of the kids progress and development. The assessment system isn't available on Amazon but you can get it from Redleaf Press. You can get a short assessment guide, 10 assessment booklets (one book is for one child) and 10 family companion booklets for around $25.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:35 AM
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I use a curriculum that the public school uses in their Preschool. I do not go in the order it goes in since we do multiple things a week not just one. I make it work for me.

That being said, I do my own curriculum for the daily things. I have made it through an entire year now so I am finally getting to reuse things.
I have them stored in tote boxes with the theme name on the outside (some boxes contain 2-3) and the worksheets and such that accompany them are in a folder on my computer in addition to some of the themes being in a file folder in a filing cabinet (which I just began doing in the fall of last year). There are a million sub-folders in that folder with the topic name as the title on my comp. All I have to do is print.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:49 AM
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Regardless of which route I take, I do want to keep them. If I go the pre-made route I plan to buy one extra to keep as a master copy. I also contemplating just buy the program for one, and making copies that way.

That brings me to my next question. For those that recycle the same lesson plans the following year, do you find the kids get bored from repeating? Or does it seem like new again? Do you add in some extra activities to freshen it up, or keeps things the same as the previous year?
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
Regardless of which route I take, I do want to keep them. If I go the pre-made route I plan to buy one extra to keep as a master copy. I also contemplating just buy the program for one, and making copies that way.

That brings me to my next question. For those that recycle the same lesson plans the following year, do you find the kids get bored from repeating? Or does it seem like new again? Do you add in some extra activities to freshen it up, or keeps things the same as the previous year?
I've never ordered more than one. I just laminate that one and reuse.

I've never done the same thing two years in a row. I like to rotate my curriculum. We may do the same types of themes, but always in a different way. Once I feel like I have a mostly new set of kids or it's been a few years since I've done a curriculum, I'll repeat it. I'm constantly adding to all my curriculums as I come across books I like or activities, etc.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:05 PM
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I believe both crafts and art have a place. I was a graphic design major and I had both fine art and graphic "craft" classes. Art is an expression, a process but if you don't have the "craft" end to teach you other ways to use that process, develop it and to complete a done project your missing out on a bunch!
That said, I have used purchased and done my own. When I had all 3,4, 5 yr olds daily, purchased was awesome with little change to it. But now with younger and a variety I like doing it myself. Cost effective- obviously doing it yourself, depending on what you plan.
I also subscribe to www.kidsoup.com (both sites) for those worksheets etc and yes some kids are worksheet kidos. That seems to supplement me enough. Printing costs- get a lazier black and white over an inkjet
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:41 PM
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I think I probably save at least a grand a year by not ordering pre-made kits.

I do everything open-ended, emergent curriculum, and it doesn't cost me anything except for the supplies and equipment I would supply whether I had a curriculum or not.

100% play based with art being process oriented and the "teacher" there to facilitate and ask open-ended questions and answering children's inquiries is my curriculum. I don't even have an ABC poster in my program and ALL of my kids start kindy reading, writing, and socially-emotionally ready to be in "real school"
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I think I probably save at least a grand a year by not ordering pre-made kits.

I do everything open-ended, emergent curriculum, and it doesn't cost me anything except for the supplies and equipment I would supply whether I had a curriculum or not.

100% play based with art being process oriented and the "teacher" there to facilitate and ask open-ended questions and answering children's inquiries is my curriculum. I don't even have an ABC poster in my program and ALL of my kids start kindy reading, writing, and socially-emotionally ready to be in "real school"
I want your curriculum. Sell it to me. .
I love open ended process oriented activities. All of the early childhood development courses I take teach that this is more beneficial to the child so I want a curriculum like this.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:28 AM
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I find it much cheaper and better to do your own. I would rather put my money into books both for ideas and chilerens books and the supplies. Granted I am not going out and buying a years worth or art supplies. We paint a tons but nly a few colors like red do I need to buy each year.

Use the library and internet for idea. start theme boxes and collect ideas, materials , books then add to that theme each year.

my kids still go home with a finished product but they did all the work not me.

Those cute craft kits are great for S/A but not preschoolers. I do use some worksheets or coloring pages the kids right before kindergarten love them. BUT they are a choice not a group activity. they prefer plain paper or paper put together in a book.

following directions is important but they can learn that in other ways than glue this there.

so cheaper is do it yourself or with a friend. It does help when your dh builds you an art closet to hold all the materials you collect and use.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSteinel'sHouse View Post
I believe both crafts and art have a place. I was a graphic design major and I had both fine art and graphic "craft" classes. Art is an expression, a process but if you don't have the "craft" end to teach you other ways to use that process, develop it and to complete a done project your missing out on a bunch!
)
I think you can teach to different processes without matching projects that the teacher actually completed the work. Crafts for older children are different. They do the work not the adult. I have no problenm giving a child a precut project but if a 2 or 3 year old project looks like the ones people post on pinterest the child did not do the work.kinda like all the hand print and foot print projects. great gift for the parents but what did the child learn.

It does help when you are vreative because you parents and teachers believed in process art but I think everyone can still learn even as adults.
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:06 PM
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I do my own curriculum. I basically go down the line of abcs every week and we do activities that start with that letter.

As far as crafts, we do child led and the prepackaged ones. The prepackaged ones we mostly do as keepsakes for their parents. Like the Christmas ornaments that have their pictures in it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
I think you can teach to different processes without matching projects that the teacher actually completed the work. Crafts for older children are different. They do the work not the adult. I have no problenm giving a child a precut project but if a 2 or 3 year old project looks like the ones people post on pinterest the child did not do the work.kinda like all the hand print and foot print projects. great gift for the parents but what did the child learn.

It does help when you are vreative because you parents and teachers believed in process art but I think everyone can still learn even as adults.
I've never completed a child's artwork, and I'm a little surprised at those that said they do. Obviously there can be parts that need to be completed by the teacher, like hot gluing something, pre-cutting, etc. But I don't consider that doing the project for them. I also don't tell children how they should do it. I will show them what I created as an example, but not necessarily a guide. If they glue the legs of a duck on top of it's head so be it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I think I probably save at least a grand a year by not ordering pre-made kits.

I do everything open-ended, emergent curriculum, and it doesn't cost me anything except for the supplies and equipment I would supply whether I had a curriculum or not.

100% play based with art being process oriented and the "teacher" there to facilitate and ask open-ended questions and answering children's inquiries is my curriculum. I don't even have an ABC poster in my program and ALL of my kids start kindy reading, writing, and socially-emotionally ready to be in "real school"
This!

Other then basic supplies, my curriculum costs are minimal.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:49 PM
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I am finding that weekly reader is great as far curriculum. The kids have something to take home at the end of the week to show what they worked on.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:05 PM
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I always did my own curriculum, but last year I beta-tested a new online curriculum created specifically for family child care providers - Gee Whiz Education. http://www.geewhizeducation.com/

There are things I like about it and things I don't, but I liked it enough to subscribe for now. It's $12/month and everything is online. The things I like best about it are:
1.) Because it's specifically for family child care the materials they call for are things you can find in your home, like a sheet instead of a parachute, balled up socks instead of bean bags, so you save money on supplies.
2.) There are activities for all age groups, Infants, Young Toddlers, Older Toddlers, School-Age, and additional School Readiness activities.
3.) Their learning goals are aligned with the learning standards of many states, including Wisconsin's WMELS.

Each theme is 2 weeks long, and they have a free sample unit you can try for free: http://www.geewhizeducation.com/try-...duct-for-free/

BTW, I don't receive any commission for promoting the program, I just think it's a better alternative to the other "canned" curriculums out there... At least for me it is.
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