Running a successful child care facility requires the right software just as much as the right methods and techniques that directly affect the children. If the business side of your daycare is run just as efficiently as the methods of actual child care, it will give a well rounded experience that the parents can rely on. Having a good child care management system on a day to day basis is important to giving the children structure and boundaries while they are at your facility. Here is a suggestion of how the day can be run in order to maximize your child management system.
The most effective way to take care of children is in time slots. You will have to decide if you want to do 30 minute or an hour slots since they will be there all day but for the sake of this article we will go with hour slots starting at eight o’clock in the morning and going until five o’clock in the afternoon. This great management system is the ‘centers method’ and requires four different areas to be blocked off. First of all, you split the children into four groups. You can mix up the groups or you can split them up by age, depending on what you decide to do. There are four centers that are one thing in the morning and one thing after lunch. Here are some examples of what the centers could be:
- Art and crafts is usually where the children will make something that they can take home and works on fine motor skills. Things such as painting, coloring, stickers, etc. are great ideas to have going on in the arts and crafts area.
- Free play is exactly how it sounds. You can put out several different toys for them to choose from such as doll houses, legos, trains and other toys and for that period of time, they can rotate between the toys as they wish. It’s a good idea to teach the children to give each toy in its own area so that the play doesn’t become absolute chaos.
- Some children need a morning nap and for those that don’t, sitting quietly and reading books or watching a calm video is a great way to help them relax even if they don’t actually need to sleep. Try having this center in a separate room altogether so that the napping children aren’t disturbed by the other groups.
- The learn and grow center is generally where you would try to teach them things like colors, alphabet, shape recognition and things like that, depending on the age range of course. Babies would benefit simply by manipulating the letters and shapes to begin to get familiar with them.
If you have an hourly rotation then once an hour is complete, all four groups rotate into their next center. Once the first four hours is up, the next hour; in this case 12 o’clock to one o’clock would be lunch time where all the children can come together and eat at a decent hour. If need be, snacks can be offered during free play or nap time if the child isn’t sleeping.
Following lunch, you can set up another four hour rotation until the end of the day. Centers such as sensory play where they can play with play dough or moon sand is great as well as a chance to play outdoors, weather permitting and a potential movie hour and another nap time if needed are all great examples of how to fill up those last four hours.
Having centers makes it much easier on the children and the teachers. The time passes more quickly and the children has a structured schedule that they will thrive in. You can either have a teacher for each center where they are in charge of that center all day, or you can have a teacher in each group so that as the children rotate to their next area, that teacher stays with them. If you feel that your child management system is not working, then try out the centers method and you may be pleasantly surprised at how it works for not only you but your teachers and the children to.