Archive of ‘Preschool’ category

Rose Scented Rice Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, I know! Life got in the way of creating fabulous blog posts. Lucky for you guys, I made a massive list of posts I wanted to create in my absence, so I have plenty of material waiting to be created. Hopefully there won’t be any more long breaks around here!

Things have changed, we’re in our new house, the new baby is here and we’ve adjusted to all of it! I’m excited to start sharing with you guys again! Since Valentine’s day is fast approaching, I thought I’d kick off blogging again with a great idea for the holiday. This activity had my first-grade niece asking me if I had any more cool creations while she was here the other day it was so much fun, while my 4-year-old nephew and Peanut were elbow deep in it.

Rose Scented Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Supplies:
*2 bags of uncooked white rice
*Food coloring
*One gallon ziplock bags
*Vinegar
*Rose Absolute Essential Oil
*Various valentine’s day items, such as:
Rose Petals
Felt Roses
-Plastic heart shaped bracelets
-Anything you have around the house that relates to Valentine’s day or roses!

This activity does take some preparation, but it’s worth it in the end! The day before you want to introduce this sensory bin, prepare your rice. It’s simple to do, you just need some time for it to dry or your little ones will end up with fingers dyed the color of your rice.

How to:

1. Select your food coloring. I used one food dye to get the dark pink and light pink in this sensory bin, I just used a different method of dying for both.

2. Dye our rice using one of two methods:

Dying method #1:

Dry Rice Dying Method
Step 1: Add 10-12 drops of food coloring to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add one bag of uncooked rice to the ziplock bag.
Step 3: Add 10-20 drops of essential oil and drizzle a bit more food coloring to the top of your rice.
Step 4: Seal the bag and shake until your food coloring & the EO is mixed in and the rice is dyed.
Step 5: Lay the rice out on a cookie sheet or some parchment paper. Spread it out to a thin layer and dry over night.

Dying method #2: To create the lighter color, dye your rice using vinegar.

Vinegar rice dying methodStep 1: Add about a cup of vinegar to an empty one gallon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add 10-20 drops of food coloring to the vinegar along with 10-20 drops of essential oil. Mix the vinegar until the food coloring is evenly distributed.
Step 3: Add one bag of rice to the ziplock bag. Seal and shake.
Step 4: When the color is evenly distributed, use a fine mesh strainer and drain the rice over the sink. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the excess vinegar can drain off.
Step 5: When the vinegar is drained, spread on a cookie sheet or parchment paper in a thin layer and dry over night. Mix rice up from time to time, if possible, to ensure it drys evenly.

3. When your rice is good and dry, add it to a shallow, long tub. Add your Valentine’s goodies, and let your littles have at it!

Rose Scented Valentine's Sensory Bin

4. Tip: Place your tub on a table cloth so the rice stays a bit more contained. When your kiddos are done playing, gather the rice in the middle of the table cloth and put it back in the sensory bin!

5. When you’re done, the rice can be saved and used again as often as you feel comfortable!

What was said while we played:
Peanut’s vocabulary has exploded since the last time I posted! We talk about all kinds of stuff and she give me all kinds of great responses! When she dove into this activity she kept telling me, “Me having very fun, Mommy!”

I asked her, “What color is the rice?”, “How does it smell?”, “What are you doing with the rice?”, “What else can you do with it?” I also let her ask me questions about what she was playing with. She did ask me what it was when she first started playing. She spent a lot of time repeating the color back while she was playing and also picking up the small roses and telling me what they were, once I had identified them for her.

Pretend Play: Sandbox Garden

While walking through the dollar store, I came across their floral department and wondered what I could do with some of their brightly colored silk flowers. At first I thought about a sensory box, but then thought it would be much better to get outside for the activity and take the “gardening” to the sandbox!

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

 Supplies:

  • Silk flowers in a variety of colors
  • Watering can
  • Kid-friendly hand hoe
  • Kid-friendly spade
  • Plastic flower pots
  • Any other kid-friendly gardening tools you have on hand

I stuck the flowers in her sandbox, tossed in the tools, and called Peanut over (not that she hadn’t spotted the fun and was headed over already). She dug right in with the tools, but didn’t show much interest in the flowers. In fact, she really only played with the flowers for a few minutes. She mostly focused on digging with the shovel and the hoe. She also enjoyed filling the flower pots, scooping sand into them, dumping them out, and starting all over again.

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

I have to admit…she probably didn’t know what to do with the flowers because Mommy is terrible at growing flowers and we don’t have many around our yard. She sees flowers as pretty things you smell when you’re in a park! :/ I really need to work on that skill. Haha!

What we talked about during play:
“Look at the pretty flowers!”
“You sure are good at filling that flower pot.”
“Can you put the flower in the flower pot?”
“What are you planting?”
“Did you find any seeds?”
“I see that you dug a hole. That’s a big hole!”

Keeping these supplies in the sandbox for a few days is easy and your kiddo will love it. It’s a change from the normal sandbox toys that take up all the real estate in the box that provide a chance for your toddler to be like you and garden away.

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There’s a Commotion in the Ocean Literacy Bag

Who doesn’t love the ocean? And who doesn’t enjoy the book There’s a Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae? This literacy bag explores the lovable book with ocean characters, ocean character movement cards, and a jelly fish in a bottle craft!

There's A Commotion in the Ocean Literacy BagSupplies:

You will need to do some preparation in advance of this literacy bag. You’ll need to print the movement cards and make the jellyfish in a bottle, which the instructions for can be found here at Bhoom Play. My words of advice are to take your time on the jellyfish. I tried to hurry when cutting my tentacles and they were too big and the “jellyfish” couldn’t move around in the bottle well.

 

Once you have everything assembled, put everything in your literacy backpack and determine where you’re going to sit down, relax, and read your story…preferably outside if the weather is nice! It was a bit rainy today, so during a break in the rain we got outside and sat on our covered porch which had stayed dry enough we could still use it.

I introduced the book to Peanut by reading her the title, author and illustrator. Today I mentioned that we were looking at the cover of the book. Book features such as covers, title pages, indexes, etc. are becoming more and more important in school earlier and earlier. Pointing these things out now so your kiddo can find them easily on any book when they reach school age would make your child’s teacher ecstatic. I don’t expect Peanut to know what these are before she’s 3 or 4, but I feel good pointing them out so I know we’re working on it.

Exploring a crab from There's a Commotion in the Ocean

When I began to read each page, I’d get out the figurine that went with that page. Between the bath set, the ocean animal figurines, and our Little People Zoo Talking Animals we had all but one of the sea creatures. Peanut was able to explore the toy while I read her the page. Then, we’d look at the illustration and I’d point out how the animal in the picture was the same as the animal she was holding. I’d complement her on any attempts she made to say the animals name or to copy the sound it made.

After we finished the book, I showed her the jellyfish in a bottle and she explored that for a while. Then, we did our best to make all of the motions from the animal movement cards. Some she was more then willing to try. Some she walked away from me like I was crazy.

Sea creature movements

What we talked about: 
“Look at this, it’s the same animal that is in the book!”
“You’re right, that is a crab.”
“That’s a jellyfish in the bottle. Isn’t he cool?”
“Great hiding, you’re hiding just like the lobster.”
“Doesn’t the whale your holding look like this whale in the book?”
“That’s a penguin. Did we see penguins at the zoo yesterday?”

I stored all of the animals, the book, the jellyfish, and the cards back in her backpack and have been letting her explore it from time to time since we’ve read the book this week. She likes going through the book and figuring out all the creatures.

Happy reading!

Tissue Paper Butterfly Toss

These easy to make butterflies can provide fun for days, especially if you introduce a bug net to the play!

Tissue Paper Butterfly Toss and Catch for Toddlers

Supplies:

To make the butterflies:

  1. Cut tissue paper into rectangles about 2.5 x 3 inches or so.
    SONY DSC
  2. Stack 2-3 pieces of tissue paper together.
  3. Pinch the rectangle in the middle.Tissue paper butterfly making
  4. Wrap 1 pipe cleaner around the pinched middle.Tissue paper butterfly making
  5. Done!

I pre-made the butterflies so Peanut wouldn’t have to wait on me making butterflies to be entertained. To introduce the activity to her I simply grabbed the butterflies and tossed them in the air over her head. She thought it was hilarious! She thought it was even better when I told her she could throw them around.

Tissue Paper Butterfly Toss and Catch for Toddlers

She ran around picking up one or two butterflies at a time and throwing them the best she could. I would collect as many as I could and toss them in the air for her to try and catch.

Tissue Paper Butterfly Toss and Catch for Toddlers

The next day I decided we’d add our bug net to the mix, which added a whole new level of fun. Not only could we collect all the butterflies in the net, we could flip them all back out again. She tried scooping them up in the net from the floor, but could never quite get them. She ended up mostly picking the butterflies up to put them in her net.

Tissue Paper Butterfly Toss and Catch for Toddlers

Vocabulary used in play:
“Catch the butterflies!”
“They’re flying!”
“Throw them.”
“Toss them.”
“Catch it!”
“Get the net.”
“Put the butterflies in the net.”

These little guys are great to keep handy in a Ziploc bag in a kitchen drawer or somewhere near where you might need a quick distraction. The net required a bit more supervision so Peanut didn’t end up knocking a picture off the wall, but the butterflies themselves are a great independent activity!

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

My inspiration for this activity came from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine through this post.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

My un-messy Peanut had no problems doing this activity inside on the mess mat (a cheap plastic table cloth) with a tub to keep the dough contained.  I also suited her up in her long sleeved smock so we wouldn’t have to change outfits or worry about the oil staining her clothing when she was all done. If your little one tends to really get into messy play, it might be a good idea to take it outside.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

“Are you sure you want me to touch this stuff, Mom?”

Peanut ran right over when I placed the tub of dough on her mess mat. She touched it right away and then looked at me or reassurance. Once I got her really digging into it, she loved it. She kept saying, “ooo” when she touched it and liked the way she could flip it around.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

We haven’t had many sensory activities similar to this were we could talk about soft, so I really emphasized that the dough was soft. She liked that word and has been repeating it all day.

Two Ingredient Cloud Dough for Toddlers

I didn’t add any toys, spoons, or other utensils to this activity today. Since it’s our first experience with it, I just let her play. Toys and tools can be added later, after she’s had time to play with the dough itself.

Vocabulary used while we played:
“This dough is so soft!”
“Wow, it’s so fluffy!”
“It feels like a cloud.”
“You’re flipping it everywhere!”
“Mix it up!”
“Is it on your hands?”
“Touch it.”
“Boy, that is messy!”

The original poster said that she doesn’t replace her dough for months, so this is an activity you can come back to again and again!

Paper Ball Toss for Toddlers

Paper Ball Toss for Toddlers

Peanut loves to get into everything, especially any paper she can get her hands on. She loves to rip apart old magazines or open junk mail. Providing different experiences with paper keeps simple, independent activities fresh and new for toddlers. This activity would be great when you’re busy cooking or tending to something and your toddler needs to be busy!

Supplies:
Scrap paper of any type

IMG_0394

Sometimes the simplest of activities can offer the most fun. This is one of those activities that doesn’t require any set up at all! I keep a collection of scrap paper in a drawer in the dining room, so all I had to do was grab some paper and toss it on the floor to prepare for this activity.

Paper toss for toddlers

Peanut was excited as soon as I tossed the paper down, but the first thing that came to mind was coloring. When I picked up a piece of paper and crumpled it up she got a huge grin on her face and picked up a piece to try it herself. Then I threw the paper and she started stomping her feet in excitement and followed my lead. She followed my lead for a while, picking up a piece of paper and crumpling it up as soon as I grabbed a new piece. She’d chase paper balls down, toss them for the dog to get (who had no desire to play with them), bring them to me, she even pushed one around in her baby stroller for a while.

Paper toss for toddlers

I was able to get up and work on dishes while she continued to play with the crumpled piece of paper by her self. She did occasionally bring one to me, but I’d toss it away for her to get and she’d be off again.

This activity is fun, but it also serves some important developmental skills as well. Making the paper into balls increases a little one’s hand strength and fine motor development, while all that tossing and running develops gross motor skills. Everyone loves an activity that works on both at the same time! Be sure you’re using pieces of paper that are large enough to make a ball that can’t be choked on if your toddler decides they want to get a taste of the ball!

Vocabulary:
Crumple
Paper
Throw
Toss
Pick up

Sandbox Play with Kitchen Tools

Kitchen Utensil Sandbox Play for Toddlers

Peanut loves to watch me cook in the kitchen. I know she wants to help so badly, but there aren’t a lot of tasks she can do yet to really get her helping. I wanted to create a play activity where she could explore some of the utensils she saw me using in the kitchen. Combining her love for the sandbox and some old kitchen utensils made an activity she didn’t want to give up.

Supplies:
A variety of old (toddler-friendly) kitchen utensils or grab some from the dollar store
A sandbox full of sand

Kitchen Utensil Sandbox Play

When I collected my utensils, I tried to keep in mind what she’d be doing with the tools. I wanted thing she could use to dig, pour, sift, and manipulate the sand. I also wanted her to be able to use the tools as they were designed in the kitchen, as though she was cooking. Peanut ended up with a sugar shaker, measuring cup, wooden spoon, whisk, and ____________.

Kitchen Utensil Sandbox Play

We came outside and I simply tossed the kitchen utensils in the sandbox and she was off and running. I named each item and showed her a brief model of how to use it if she wasn’t quite sure. Once she had the stuff figured out, she was done with me! She’s such an independent player! She dug and mixed and cooked until I decided it was too hot to stay out much longer. Then, I just tossed the kitchen utensils in her outdoor bucket to play with again later!

Tool Band for Toddlers

Tool Band for Toddlers

I had the idea for this activity when my parents were in town. My dad had Kennedy outside helping him with the garage sale while my mom and I were inside painting trim. I heard some ridiculously loud banging and shrieks of excitement outside and and to go investigate. That’s when I discovered Papa and Kennedy banging away on some extra tools we had for sale. I couldn’t believe how long I heard the commotion going on and couldn’t wait to play some music with her again.

Supplies:
A variety of relatively clean, toddler-safe tools such as sockets, wrenches, and screwdrivers

Tool Band for Toddlers

I love wrench sets for this activity because they provide such a musical aspect to the play. With each increase in size, the sound it makes changes leaving your toddler crazily switching back and forth between wrenches to see what sound they make.

We did this activity inside today because it was getting too hot outside to stay out for very long. Really, it’s best done outside on concrete where the ground can help become part of the instruments. I wouldn’t do this activity on any hard flooring inside unless you want your next major project to be reflooring!
Be sure the tools aren’t too heavy for your kiddo so you don’t end up with any squished fingers…and be careful they’re not getting used as weapons!Since we were inside I had peanut banging all the tools together to make all kinds of fun sounds. She loved exploring the different sounds she could make. While she was outside with my dad the last time she played tool band, they were banging tools on the ground, dropping them, rolling them, and seeing how many different ways they could make sounds. It was so much fun! While you can still play inside, outside is just much better!

Vocabulary:
tool
band
music
loud
soft
drop
hit

Wet Oats and Noodles Sensory Play

Wet Oats and Pasta Sensory activity for toddlers

This post from Fun-A-Day! was the inspiration for this activity. While the activity on her blog looked super fun, we went a little more simple for our toddler sensory activity.

Wet Oats & Pasta Sensory Activity for Toddlers

Supplies:
Old-Fashioned Oats
Dry noodles of any variety (we used macaroni)
1-3 spoons
A medium-large sized bowl
table cloth (if you’re doing the activity inside and want to contain the mess)
Recommended: a long sleeved art smock

This messy sensory activity was very easy to set up! If you need a quick, engaging activity where you don’t mind a big clean up, this one is great in a pinch since you probably already have the supplies in your pantry.

Wet Oats & Pasta Sensory Activity for Toddlers

I dumped a couple of cups of oats and some noodles into a bowl and added some water. I let the mess sit for a few minutes so the oats could soak up the water. At first I hadn’t added enough water and the oats were still pretty dry. I just added more and waited a couple of more minutes. When my mixture was right I set out the spoons and the bowl of “mush” on the table cloth and suited Peanut up in her smock.

Wet Oats & Pasta Sensory Activity for Toddlers

Oh, Peanut and her inability to get messy. She touched it once, looked at me with her hand in the air and said, “Yucky.” So, I showed her how to use the spoons to play with it instead. We mixed and stirred and folded the “mush” and eventually she got so caught up in it she forgot how yucky it was and started using her hands.

Wet Oats & Pasta Sensory Activity for Toddlers

Vocabulary we used while playing:
sticky
mushy
wet
hard
stir
mix
fold
bowl
spoon
spatula
messy

When she decided she was done, there was quite a mess on her and the table cloth. Here’s my hint for clean up: wash the smock right away but leave the table cloth to dry out. When it’s try, the big chunks shake right off and you can wipe the rest clean.

Does your daycare stack up?


Does your daycare stack up?

Not all of us are lucky enough to stay at home. Which means some of us have the unlucky task of choosing child care for our little loves. Picking a daycare is one of the hardest things you have to do as a parent. Not only are you picking the people who are responsible for your child’s safety while you’re apart, but those who are educating them in some of the most formidable years of their life. How can you know if your daycare is up to snuff when you are not there all day to watch over your provider? Here are some big clues I’ve come up with over the years during child care facility observations, my time as a preschool teacher, classroom teacher, and parent.

This list of clues is fairly comprehensive. A child care facility which was perfect on each level would be hard to come by, so as you’re reading, understand that the daycare that’s right for your child may not have all of these or they may have other qualities you find important. Also, understand that I am using the terms daycare, child care, center, facility, etc. as blanket terms. This list is a great place to start whether you’re looking at a large child care center or a small home daycare.

  • Environment. What happens when you walk through the door of your child’s daycare? I’m not talking about if you’re acknowledged or said hello to, but how do you feel? Does it make you happy to be there? Is it colorful? Are their interesting things for the kids to see at their eye-level? Not just toys, but posters or artwork? Does it feel bright and is the temperature comfortable? 
  • Cleanliness. How clean is the facility? Do you actually see the staff cleaning things? Is there a routine for cleaning
    after meals and messy art activities? Can you see cleanliness when you walk in? Does it smell clean? Is there a system for monitoring if toys have been mouthed in the baby or toddler rooms and then cleaning them before other children play with them? Cleanliness is a sign of pride in the facility. If it’s not clean, the staff doesn’t have much pride in their workplace, which means they’re likely not as dedicated to the center as they should be. Another sign of cleanliness can be how often the workers are sick. If the center is doing everything they can to be clean and healthy, staff should generally (everyone gets stick sometimes!) be able to stay healthy even though they’re working with snotty kids all day. :)
  • Do the kids contribute to the environment? Is their artwork displayed? Can they see it? Is it changed out regularly, signaling that new activities are planned often? How are the kids made to feel important and loved? Are there 
    pictures of the children up? Are their names displayed? How at home are the kids made to feel? Is the space really theirs or is it just a place they’re kept?
  • Are their routines? Kids are happier when things are predictable. Ensuring that your daycare has a well scheduled routine can be a major factor in how good the daycare is. Not only does it make things easier on the kids, it keeps the teachers on track to get everything in for the day. From naps, snacks, and diaper changes, to outdoor time, circle times, and sensory activities…a schedule keeps everyone on track. It’s even better if the schedule is displayed somewhere in the classroom with pictures for kiddos who can’t read yet.
  • What do you see happening? This is the biggest factor. As I stated before, there should be good routines and schedules in place, so if you come in at exactly the same time every day you may see the exact same things happening every day. Kids do need time to warm up to the environment when they first get to daycare and free play is a great way to transition in and out. But, if you have the ability to stop by at different times, what do you see going on? Are teachers engaged with the kids? Are teachers “teaching” or leading activities? Do you see arts and crafts happening? Do you see children being read to? Chances are, if you NEVER see these things happening (even if you do come at a certain time) they’re not happening. Especially with younger children, who tend to have more “child-based” schedules. A big red flag can be if you constantly see teachers just talking to each other.
  • Materials. Is there a variety of materials available to your child to use? Not only for arts and crafts, but for different areas of play. Is there a gross motor area (inside and out), is there manipulative play suitable for your child’s age group? Are their sensory and art areas? Is your child allowed to play with and discover a variety of mediums, not necessarily in one day, but are you seeing things be changed out? How often are toys rotated? Is there any sort of toy rotation? Do you see new things being introduced on a regular basis? Are children bored with the toys or do they seem to be enjoying them? Below is a more specific list of what you should see based on your child’s age:
    • Infant (Birth-mobility): Look for a variety of (clean) infant positioners, such as: Boppy pillows, Bumbo chairs (safely on the floor), tummy time mats, swings, bouncy seats, comfortable blankets. It’s very important for muscle development that infants are moved regularly, if they’re not already mobile. Check for a schedule of rotation to ensure all of the babies are getting the opportunity to use all of the positioners appropriate for them. There should be visually stimulating toys such a mobiles and things they can track. Manipulative such as rattles, teethers, and board books. Toys with a variety of textures items children can touch and feel. There doesn’t necessarily need to be lots of toys with lights and music. In fact, in a daycare those can be rather over-stimulating for infants. Cribs and comfortable places for sleep. A rocker for putting children to sleep is great, too. A completely separate area for sleep is even better. Also look for he center’s method of tracking feedings, diapers, and naps for infants. There is no way they could keep the kids schedules straight with out them. Trust me, I’ve been there and there is so much going on you NEED to write it down.
    • Toddlers (mobility-usually age 3): Water or sand tables for sensory activities, tables for art projects as well as meals and snacks, a variety of manipulative toys suitable for small hands that cannot be choked on, a gross motor area, blocks, cars, baby dolls or other pretend play toys. A variety of books and comfortable places for children to “read”. Places to wash hands and facilities for diapered children as well as children who are potty training.
    • Preschoolers (3-school age): Essentially the same as a toddler room although manipulative are more advanced, smaller and more numerous, there is more opportunity for pretend play, and more area for structured activities such as circle times or science experiments.
  • Planning. Do teachers work from lesson plans or a curriculum? Even with the smallest of children, having a plan is critical. If there is no plan, children are not being introduced to new experiences and the center is likely “stuck in a rut” of what is easiest for them to do.
  • Teacher Training. Early childhood education degrees are becoming increasingly popular. While most states do not require preschool or daycare teachers to have a college education, looking for a center where teachers hold an early childhood education degree (or similar) is important. However, I do suggest looking experience as well. There are a lot of great preschool teachers who have been teaching for decades that are just as qualified, if not more so, than the college-educated teachers.
  • Teacher-Child Interactions. Unfortunately, teachers will be on their best behavior when parents are around (aren’t we all when someone else is around?). So, most of the time you won’t be able to see exactly how the teacher might interact with your child when you’re not present. However, do keep an eye on interactions when you’re there. Do you see teachers calming dealing with behavior issues or problems? Are touches gentile and caring? Red flags would be teachers yelling or screaming at children, saying hurtful things, or touching a child roughly. If they’re willing to do these things in front of you, what are they willing to do when you’re not there? This is a great place to use your instincts. If the provider just doesn’t seem to interact well with children, seems unhappy to be there, or is awkward with the children, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
  • Communication. What sort of a system is set up for communicating with parents? Often times (great) teachers are too busy with other children when you walk in to talk with each parent individual on a daily basis. Is there a way for the teacher to communicate with you even if they are busy? Is there a note home or a board displaying what the children did that day? Are you able to know when your child slept, ate, and was diapered? What about during times of potty training or other transitions? A great center will always have a way to communicate.
  • Quality of materials. From toys to dishes, playground equipment to cots, good quality daycares are going to insure that their facilities house great products. Not necessarily expensive items, but well kept items. Toys will not be broken or damaged. Things that are not in working quality will be replaced regularly for children’s safety. Something can be old, but in great condition. Once again, this can be a sign of pride in the center itself.

The following are some things that are NOT determining factors in your child’s daycare quality. They may seem great on the surface, but when you dig a bit deeper they are not sufficient clues.

  • The name. Simply because it’s a “child development center” or a super cute name like “Susie’s Sweet Lambs” doesn’t mean it’s any good. There are little to no regulations on child care facility names. Someplace may call themselves a “daycare” but in fact offer a much more enriching environment than a “child development center”. 

  • Using fancy terminology. There are a lot of politically correct terms floating around early childhood education these days. Phrases like “developmentally appropriate”, “engaging”, “circle time”, “literacy rich”, etc. come out of the mouth of many early childhood “educators”. However, it’s best to judge a center on what they’re doing rather than if they use fancy words when you’re getting a tour or interviewing. See activities that are engaging and appropriate for your child’s age group happening is a much better determining factor than the tour guide telling you they happen, when in all actuality they’re only occurring on a sporadic occasion.
  • Location. I say this cautiously. If your daycare is in a strip mall, a home, or a fancy new stand-alone facility….any of those locations can be great. It just matters what is on the INSIDE of the facility. It can be in a brand new, state of the art building but hold no other standard true. So, don’t be blinded by the smell of fresh paint.
  • Cost & size. The small in-home daycare down the street that cost a third of the price as the large center down the block can provide just as good of care and education. The people and the overall environment are much more important than the cost or size of the facility you choose.

There you have it. Some important things to look for when you’re trying to decide on a daycare for your little one. What questions do you have about looking for a quality day care?

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