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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 02-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Default How Long Do You Spend...

How long do you spend with lesson plans, organizing, and working out all the details each week, if you make up your own curriculum? Counting time spent finding theme related books at the library, etc. Sometimes I think I must be breaking a record with how long I spend each week doing this. I also feel like I'm wasting time while I'm planning it, although no matter how strict I am on myself, I still can't seem to lessen the amount of time spent on it all.
I could have a 2nd part time job in the amount of time I spend on it all, by the time everything's said and done! Here it is: More than 20 hours a week, if it's all added in together: searching for ideas, organizing them into centers, writing them down into daily plans so everything's ready for me to teach when it's time, finding theme related books at the library, etc. I am not even counting the time spent shopping for the needed supplies, organizing it all at the end of the theme so I can have it ready for the next year (so I won't have to spend so much time on it next year!), and doing monthly newsletters, parent info and reminder during the week, if needed, and a weekly blog to keep them informed and with a glance at what their child did that week.
Due to low enrollment right now, I'm only working part time, and need to pick up a 2nd part time job, but with so much time spent getting things ready for preschool, I don't know how I could get it all done in the amount of time I have in a day. I already feel like I don't have enough time in a day! All this time spent on it is unpaid, of course, since it's done at home on my own time. Am I nuts to be spending this much time on it? I don't know how to lessen any of it, so I must be doing something wrong along the way! ...It's discouraging and I'm starting to get burned out.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:36 AM
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Honestly, I don't know how you could get it all done, either.

I'd say I spend a minimum of 2hrs a day and 6 hrs on the weekends, actually, I think it's usually more. I do my cleaning and sterilizing on the weekends so the toys have adequate time to dry.

I worked between 7 1/2 and 16 hours on the weekends, and I was thrilled when I could quit!
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:56 AM
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Try perfectlypreschool.com they have some great ideas and it is formatted nicely. I am a believer in not reinventing the wheel if I don't need to!
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:28 PM
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Cleaning: done during dc hours plus 1-2 hours on the weekend.
Meal Planning: done during dc hours plus ~1-2 hours on the weekend.
Curriculum Planning: done during dc hours plus ~30 minutes at the library after hours plus ~1 hour on the weekend.

I am open 50-55 hours per week (contract hours) and spend 30-60 minutes of nap time relaxing (eating lunch, reading a book, browsing the internet) and the last 60-90 minutes of nap time doing daycare-related computer work (email daily reports, browse this forum, newsletter, meal planning, curriculum planning and purchasing). I don't do any computer work outside of nap time.

I clean the toys, do daycare-related laundry, clean dishes, kitchen cleaning and sweeping while the kids are awake during "free play" and do regular restroom maintenance cleaning every time I'm in the bathroom with the kids.

On the weekends, I deep clean 1-2 rooms and mop the floors for 2 hours.

In the end, I end up having quite a lot of free time with my family on work nights and 1 1/2 days on the weekend (half of Saturday after cleaning, menu planning, grocery shopping, and curriculum planning and all of Sunday). I condense as much daycare-related work into while the kids are here as possible.

However, I will say that I LOVE planning the curriculum, so I can sometimes be found researching and purchasing stuff on the weekends and work nights. My children love the library, too, so it's a double whammy (entertainment for them, work and entertainment for me). If I didn't love it so much, I would probably do a purchase curriculum (or use websites and books) to get the ideas quickly without much work.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud912 View Post

However, I will say that I LOVE planning the curriculum, so I can sometimes be found researching and purchasing stuff on the weekends and work nights. My children love the library, too, so it's a double whammy (entertainment for them, work and entertainment for me). If I didn't love it so much, I would probably do a purchase curriculum (or use websites and books) to get the ideas quickly without much work.
Yeah, same here. To me it's fun.... I've given up FARMVILLE!!!!!
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:33 PM
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Yeah, same here. To me it's fun.... I've given up FARMVILLE!!!!!
It IS fun, I agree! I don't think I'd want to give it up. But it is really really time consuming. I spend more time planning and organizing it all than I do actually "on the clock", so to speak, with the children. How long do you take, Spud 912, and country Gal, on the actual lesson planning (not cleaning or legal paperwork, sanitizing, etc). I mean going to Library to find and get the books, searching for ideas, putting it all together into each specific day, and into each specific center (play area: housekeeping, writing, art, science, puzzles, math, blocks, etc)?
Thanks for the input!
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Old 02-06-2012, 02:32 PM
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Lesson planning:
I spend a larger amount of time in January planning my themes for the entire year. The children I have are into SO many different things that I write them down throughout the year so I can plan themes around them. Unfortunately, some of the things we can't get to because they are so diverse in their interests. I usually plan very easy themes for January with little-to-no preparation.
Total: Probably ~10 hours, split up over the month of January (so about 2-3 hours per week) (mostly done during nap time, but some of it spills over into weekday nights after my children have gone to bed)

Library and Written Preparations:
After I have planned the theme for each week, I spend time throughout the prior month planning purchases and purchasing for the following month (mainly arts and crafts supplies). Before each week, I plan the next week's activities and go to the library (both of which are my final steps in planning). As far as the library, I have a preschool theme book that lists good children's books for various themes. I take the book to the library, look up whatever theme I have for the next week (which the book has most themes) and then compare their books to what the library has available.
Time Preparing: ~3 hours per week (mostly done during daycare hours during nap time). I will sometimes pick up things at Target, Wal-Mart, Michaels, or the dollar store after hours, but only when I'm at those stores anyway for other things. Most of my purchases are made online (Oriental Trading, Amazon, Discount School Supply, and Insect Lore).
Library: 1 hour (including drive time) (done on a work night after dinner)

Execution:
I try to only order what I need for the month so I don't have a bunch of stuff to sift through (I have the purchases stored in boxes in our office). I take out what I will need for the week and separate it so it will be easy to find.
As far as setting up stations, I don't really set them up at free will because I have little ones that just pick up the items and disperse them throughout the play room and stick them in their mouths (hence I need to directly supervise when those items are out and they are put away when the interest wanes or we are moving on to another activity). I have a set time each day for activities related to the theme, so it only takes a matter of minutes to take out the themed activities (and that way I can describe to the kids what we are playing with and how it relates to the theme). If they don't want to participate and do something else during that block of time, that is fine (but I find that they all want to participate).
Total Time: about 10 minutes each day (done during daycare hours while supervising and ~5 minutes on a Sunday to take out the items necessary)

Clean up:
At the end of each segment, I store them away in labeled bags in large tupperwear (from Wal-Mart) and put them in the garage.
Total Time: 30 minutes to an hour every week (done on the weekend during or during nap time on Fridays)

I have only been operating my daycare for a year now, so I know the amount of time spent prepping (and the amount of money invested) will decrease over the years.

I suppose all of this averages out to be around 6 hours a week, mostly during daycare hours with some stuff sprinkled into my regular after-hours activities (such as shopping).
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud912 View Post
Lesson planning:
I spend a larger amount of time in January planning my themes for the entire year. The children I have are into SO many different things that I write them down throughout the year so I can plan themes around them. Unfortunately, some of the things we can't get to because they are so diverse in their interests. I usually plan very easy themes for January with little-to-no preparation.
Total: Probably ~10 hours, split up over the month of January (so about 2-3 hours per week) (mostly done during nap time, but some of it spills over into weekday nights after my children have gone to bed)

Library and Written Preparations:
After I have planned the theme for each week, I spend time throughout the prior month planning purchases and purchasing for the following month (mainly arts and crafts supplies). Before each week, I plan the next week's activities and go to the library (both of which are my final steps in planning). As far as the library, I have a preschool theme book that lists good children's books for various themes. I take the book to the library, look up whatever theme I have for the next week (which the book has most themes) and then compare their books to what the library has available.
Time Preparing: ~3 hours per week (mostly done during daycare hours during nap time). I will sometimes pick up things at Target, Wal-Mart, Michaels, or the dollar store after hours, but only when I'm at those stores anyway for other things. Most of my purchases are made online (Oriental Trading, Amazon, Discount School Supply, and Insect Lore).
Library: 1 hour (including drive time) (done on a work night after dinner)

Execution:
I try to only order what I need for the month so I don't have a bunch of stuff to sift through (I have the purchases stored in boxes in our office). I take out what I will need for the week and separate it so it will be easy to find.
As far as setting up stations, I don't really set them up at free will because I have little ones that just pick up the items and disperse them throughout the play room and stick them in their mouths (hence I need to directly supervise when those items are out and they are put away when the interest wanes or we are moving on to another activity). I have a set time each day for activities related to the theme, so it only takes a matter of minutes to take out the themed activities (and that way I can describe to the kids what we are playing with and how it relates to the theme). If they don't want to participate and do something else during that block of time, that is fine (but I find that they all want to participate).
Total Time: about 10 minutes each day (done during daycare hours while supervising and ~5 minutes on a Sunday to take out the items necessary)

Clean up:
At the end of each segment, I store them away in labeled bags in large tupperwear (from Wal-Mart) and put them in the garage.
Total Time: 30 minutes to an hour every week (done on the weekend during or during nap time on Fridays)

I have only been operating my daycare for a year now, so I know the amount of time spent prepping (and the amount of money invested) will decrease over the years.

I suppose all of this averages out to be around 6 hours a week, mostly during daycare hours with some stuff sprinkled into my regular after-hours activities (such as shopping).
Wow...I am so jealous HOW do you get all your ideas for every theme that quickly? I try to have about 4 centers a day with a new activity in those centers each day. In our area, the schools require a LOT for Kindergarten entrance, so I have to be very careful to get all the important Kindergarten entrance skills planned into it all (and I want them to be hand's on, learn through play). What ages do you have mainly, and how much do your area schools require for Kindergarten entrance? I'm just not very creative, so maybe that's why it takes so long?
Thanks for adding it up and letting me know what you spend on it. You also sound more organized than me No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to plan a whole week's theme very far in advance. So on weekends I'm planning for the upcoming week. But next year i will have this year's themes and lesson plans to go by, so maybe next year won't be so bad
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
Wow...I am so jealous HOW do you get all your ideas for every theme that quickly? I try to have about 4 centers a day with a new activity in those centers each day. In our area, the schools require a LOT for Kindergarten entrance, so I have to be very careful to get all the important Kindergarten entrance skills planned into it all (and I want them to be hand's on, learn through play). What ages do you have mainly, and how much do your area schools require for Kindergarten entrance? I'm just not very creative, so maybe that's why it takes so long?
Thanks for adding it up and letting me know what you spend on it. You also sound more organized than me No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to plan a whole week's theme very far in advance. So on weekends I'm planning for the upcoming week. But next year i will have this year's themes and lesson plans to go by, so maybe next year won't be so bad
As far as the ideas, I take our schedule and just plop theme-related activities into each block of time (sometimes I end up just winging something last-minute, especially when it comes to dramatic play). For example, I will come up with what I think would be fun in a sensory bin for the kids (I only use one theme-based sensory bin for the month since I end up spending some money on the trinkets). I usually will purchase arts and crafts from Oriental Trading to go along with the themes, but I can occasionally come up with something on my own or via this forum. For circle time, we always do the same beginning stuff and then I add a book and activity related to the theme. I sometimes will purchase or throw in some things associated with the theme for free play and/or puzzle time. We do academics here as well that is unrelated to the theme where we address language skills and mathematics, although we review these things throughout the day in books and counting various objects.

I have yet to research exactly what the school readiness indicators are in this state, but have researched nationwide what is expected. The various "free play" and arts and crafts activities I believe covers most social factors and circle time and academics covers the scholastic factors.

The ages I have range from 14 months to 4 years. I have 2 young ones that get into everything, climb on everything and put everything in their mouth so I really can't adequately set up centers (the room is divided into centers, but nothing is out for free use except for the regular toys that are safe for everyone). I usually have everything theme-related tucked away until I can give the children my undivided attention/monitoring (when I am not diapering, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, and otherwise running around), especially since some of the stuff is small enough to choke on.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:24 AM
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I use emergent curriculum now, so alot of my planning is last minute, by the seat of my pants.

By letting the kids take the lead, and how my room/environment is set up, it doesnt call for much planning, and I love it.

Also, I don't feel like EVERY aspect of what I offer HAS to be about the current theme...or that a theme must run from monday to friday.

For example, a few weeks ago, I had one child completely engrossed on volcanoes...on a Thursday.

Friday morning I dug out a few science books I already had about volcanoes, and we watched a few youtube videos on volcanoes erupting.

I threw a brown piece of fabric over a card table, and added red felt "lava" on top. Voila! a volcano! I Put in the dramatic play area, and added a jumpsuit, which is really for astronaunts...lol a hard hat, some goggles, a walkie talkie, and a clipboard. Instant volcanologist.

The block area had some brown paper bags added for the kids to wad up and use as rocks, and added a large red piece of fabric for lava.

On Monday, we studied some rocks that come from volcanos...I was able to find them from friends over the weekend.

I came here and asked for some ideas.

We played some gross motor games...like jumping over the lava, that sort of thing.

I added some red pebbles (from the $ store) to the sand/sensory bin

We made red and brown playdough, and squirted red vinegar onto trays of baking soda for mini eruptions. All stuff I had on hand.

We talked about the letter V a bit, counted and sorted rocks, and cut out paper to make volcanos...again, all stuff I had on hand.

The highlight of the week was the paper maiche volcano we built, painted and erupted on Wednesday. This took a couple of days, but again, was all stuff I had on hand.

So our "theme" met all of the pre-k standards, and ran from a thursday to a wednesday. The only thing I had to look for was some rocks...and luckiliy I have a friend who collects obsidian, and some other volcanic glass. I had pumice on hand.

I guess the point is, If you have a good supply of stuff on hand, and a good imagination, (and this forum ) you can plan fairly easily and it doesnt take much time.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:39 PM
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I agree with melskids, no need to have the theme in EVERY activity you do. Also, I decided long ago that if the "curriculum" takes time away from supervising the children, my family or adds undue stress to my life, then it's time to cut back. I don't think you need to go through school readiness checklists and try to tie each indicator into the weekly theme. Many of the indicators are met without even "trying" to meet them.

I try to tie in the weekly theme with our activities, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. Yes, the kids are interested in the theme, but sometimes they would rather just play with something else. I let them take the lead and if I have to explain what to do with objects I specifically set out for the theme, then to me that detracts from their own imaginations and desires. Sorry, just my two cents. I say if you love to spend 20 hours preparing the curriculum, then by all means have at it. If it's too much, then cut back and either wing it or let the kids take lead.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:21 PM
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SPUD - you do your curriculum the same way I used to do my lesson plans for my kids - I'd take two nights, three days a year, go to a motel, and MASSIVE PLANNING session! Intense time spent, but it was great to have the plans done.

Preschool/Daycare Teacher - Honestly, your last question immediately had me stumped as to how long actually goes into the planning..... I mean, while I'm cooking lunch and they are sitting in the same room playing quietly or coloring, I quick run to the puter and plan a couple of activities on the next theme. While I'm waiting for gs to finish his chores, I'm doing a couple more, I'm doing them all the time - quick little snips. I'd say prolly under 2 mins each, but many times a day. Once before the plans are ready to start, I'll sit down and pull them together and start on the core for the next week.

I do it entirely online - I also use a site someone pointed to on this forum as a base http://www.letteroftheweek.com/Preparatory_Outline.html

So, for example, week #1 was "cows" along with the other listed things.... so I go through her suggestions, pick out what I want, put the links into a folder in my bookmarks under "daycare" and "curriculum" and "cow". OK, so now I maybe have six pages in there to copy plus some fingerplay and songs and a ton of books from her site.

Then I look at what I think I'm missing and "fill in". If I feel light on the craft end, I'll look up cow crafts, etc.

And yes, these guys have gotten me hooked on Pinterest - have gotten lots of craft and snack ideas there!

Books - I live in a VERY rural area, so for me it's easy - on our weekly trip to the library I pick out everything they have on "cows", usually about 6 books. Can't be too picky around here!

That's about it. My curriculum isn't really "done" being planned until the day we finish it. I'm always ready to switch something out or add something I liked!

The plan is to get waaayyyy more organized as the years role out! Some of the ladies on here just amaze me!
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