Learning to simplify your days (part 2)
You may have read my first Learning to simplify your days article a few weeks ago. Hopefully, the 10 tricks it suggested have helped you save time and led to positive change within your daycare group. Today, I would like to share 10 additional tricks with you. These tricks are easy to use and have the power to positively impact many spheres of daycare life.
- Purge your environment. Sort, clean, and reorganize all the material and toys available within your daycare. An organized daycare will help you be more efficient. You will no longer waste time and energy searching for items.
- Install a message board close to your daycare entrance. Write all important messages on your board. It can be used to inform parents about daycare life, special activities, or outings, but also to remind them of the clothing items required for daily activities. You will no longer have to remember to verbally share these things with parents each day.
- Set boxes of tissues at children’s level within your daycare, for example on low shelves or tables. Since children will be able to grab a tissue independently when necessary, you will have to respond to fewer requests. It may also be a good idea to set small garbage cans or empty boxes nearby to collect used tissues.
- Use pictograms to illustrate your routines (daily schedule, handwashing routine, bathroom routine, etc.). Illustrated routines will foster children’s autonomy. Keep in mind that children feel safe within a consistent routine they are familiar with.
- Use illustrations to identify various corners within your daycare and set rugs on the floor to delimit them. This will make asking children to stay in a specific corner easier and help you avoid scattered toys leading to a messy environment.
- Encourage children to be active throughout the day. Children need to move to channel their energy. Providing them with many opportunities to be physically active will help them focus when it’s time for sedentary activities. Plan specific periods for sports and physical activities and include short active breaks, during transitions for example. You will see a big difference.
- Use pictograms and pictures to illustrate your daycare rules. They will represent important reference points for children, but also for you, their early childhood educator. They may help you apply your rules consistently.
- Associate a specific pictogram with each child. Simply find a simple image representing each boy or girl in your group. Use each child’s pictogram to personalize his cubbyhole, chair, naptime mattress, etc. With very young children who are unable to recognize their name, the use of pictograms can help them find their belongings, their spots, etc. A quick tip: always write a child’s name under his pictogram as a simple introduction to letters. Eventually, children will recognize their name.
- Hang a clothesline within your daycare. It can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can use it to hang children’s artwork to dry, to display their drawings, to hang wet clothing items, etc. I am sure you (and the children in your group) will find many ways to put your indoor clothesline to good use. Since your clothesline is hung, it will free up room on your countertops for other things.
- If the children in your group have trouble putting their shoes on the right feet, press a sticker on the inner side of each shoe or use a permanent marker to draw a discreet symbol. Tell children that the stickers or symbols must be next to each other when they put their shoes on.
And there you have it. You now have 10 more tricks that will help simplify your days.
Maude Dubé, Specialized educator