I know I have not been doing a whole lot of blogging lately, but I assure you, I have been listening. So many of you are asking me how I do it all everyday. You call me a superwoman. I am extremely flattered, but you must know that I am a mere mortal.
I am not a “scheduler” by any stretch of the imagination. I am a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of girl. I’ve learned over the years that what you schedule doesn’t always stick, life gets in the way. And sometimes you just don’t feel like doing what’s on your “to do” list. So I find it’s better to be prepared, to work with what you have, to be open to the present moment’s mood, and to move with the natural rhythm of your children and your heart.
That being said, one cannot successfully run a household, a dayhome, or a business without proper research, preparedness, or some sort of structure.
In planning my curriculum for my day care centre and for my own children’s play, I follow a simple guideline…and add a little SPICE to their day. Everyday I plan the activities around 5 basic and important needs of the smalls in my care…
SOCIAL, PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL, CREATIVE, EMOTIONAL….
I’ve prepared a photograph for each of these needs with a brief explanation of each one for you. When you’re thinking about planning your curriculum or your time with your children, maybe take a minute to see how much SPICE you are adding to their day…The following is an “iPhone photo snapshot” of a typical day here at Small Potatoes. The photos are not great, but just an illustration of how we spend our days…
I wake up at 6:55am and press the snooze button ONCE. I have this down to an exact science. I know how long I can laze about in my bed before my feet have to hit the ground and get in the shower. I wake up my smalls and they get dressed and brush their teeth on their own while I head downstairs to sweep the floor and get the lunch-making supplies out and ready…While I’m packing lunches, my kids serve themselves at the “cereal bar”. It is also set up so they can get water without coming into my tiny little kitchen workspace. This cuts down on crowding, crashing, and fussing…My kids are out the door to the bus stop by 8:00 and then my day begins again…The smalls play freely with the upstairs toys while I have my morning coffee. There are busy bag activities, books, colouring materials, blocks, sensory play stations, cars, and other quiet activities for them to choose from…The smalls are also able to go out on the patio to play in the sandbox, as there is a railing all the way around and no stairs leading down to the yard. It is totally self-contained…This “easing into their day” with free choice and open invitations to play help the smalls transition from a possible hurried morning at home and into the car, to a play and learning environment without force or any “you MUSTS” from adults. The smalls who need breakfast, eat with me while the others play.
This includes art, play dough, water play, sensory play, and baking…If you are not quite convinced that messy/sensory play is really all that necessary, pop over to Picklebums and read the post I wrote on easing reluctant adults into the world of messy play. All of these sensory, art, play dough, and baking activities fall into each of the 5 SPICE categories, so I’d say they’re pretty important.
10:30 SNACK TIME: Snack time isn’t always at 10:30, but it’s usually in the ball park. Depending on how hungry everyone is, or how involved they are in an activity, we change snack time accordingly.
“Go outside” can mean a trip to the park, a walk to the grocery store, a play on the patio sandbox, or a full-blown backyard play date. This is where the physical needs are met. If we can’t go outside and play because of the weather, we dance it out in the living room, or we practice yoga…
My favourite time of day, really. We chat, we listen to music, and we eat good food. Our meals are posted at the front door for parents to see…By writing it down, I can see what I need to buy. I can see if I’ve covered all the nutritional needs, and I can give the smalls something to look forward to. I have one little girl who asks her mother every morning, “what does my signs say today?” Do I ALWAYS have the menu planned and written on the board every morning? No, I do not. But the days that I do always run more smoothly simply because I know what to plan for.This is my quiet time. My planning time. My yoga time. My blogging time. My cleaning time. My pet feeding time. My fold laundry time. My sit on the couch and read time. Notice how many times I used the word “my?” If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I am no good to anyone if I am no good to myself. Just like the smalls need SPICE, so do I. Please, please, please take time for yourself. Parents work hard. Teachers work hard. So work hard on working on some “me time”, ok?
Smalls are usually waking between 3 and 3:30. This is potty time, diaper changing time, and reading stories time. My kids are home off the bus now and they join the smalls for afternoon snack. I usually prepare snack right at the end of nap time so it’s ready and waiting.From 4-5pm We play outside if weather permits. The parents come straight to the backyard to pick up their smalls and mine will usually continue to play while I prepare their dinner. If the weather is too cold, we play in the playroom and all activities, with the exception of messy activities, are open for free play.
And there you have it. A whole day at Small Potatoes. It’s not a schedule really. It’s more like a little pathway through our day. We play, we create, we rest, we eat, we grow. Now it’s time for a glass of wine, right?
Thanks for stopping by,
Arlee, Small Potatoes