Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Daycare/Preschool Curriculum Organized

I know this isn't a daycare blog (maybe I should start a daycare blog?) For the last month or so I've been getting my preschool curriculum organized for the upcoming school year.  Like I said earlier, I will have four daycare kids ages 3 and up, and would love to set aside some time each day for preschool/ learning time.  We have a learning time now, but it's not as structured as I'd like it to be.  It's good to be flexible, but sometimes it's good to also have a plan.  That's what I've been up to lately....planning.
I want my everyday items to be accessible.  At first I thought one of these would be GREAT! 
A little background on this...I watched this episode of the TV show The Apprentice YEARS ago when one of the teams developed this product for Staples. 

At the time of the show my husband laughed and said that NO ONE would buy such a monstrosity and they were fools for producing them.  Weeeelll, I kinda wanted one for my daycare/teaching supplies, but really didn't have the space for one (they are a whopping 16x16x11inches)!
Then I saw one in action in a Kindergarten classroom and wanted one even MORE!

Now I'm seeing them all over Pinterest.  Homeschoolers, teachers, and daycare providers are using them to store their "everyday use" materials.  This is just what I need!
 This summer I have been making all sorts of file folder games, wipe-off marker sheets, and other activities.  And what have I been keeping them in?

That's right Ladies and Gents...it's a cereal box. 

The cereal box is not my friend.  It's flimsy and difficult to hold onto when I'm getting it in and out of the cupboard.  So the desk apprentice would be great....but.
There is a problem with the desk apprentice, it won't fit in my daycare cupboard!
Sigh.  So in early July I began searching for something similar, just not quite as big.
First, I tried my old purple file box I used during my student teaching time.
It worked okay, but wasn't very convenient, and again, it didn't really fit in my cupboard.

Finally, I found this blue, file holder with handles at Target!  I wish I'd bought two or three!

This file holder fits in my cupboard and holds all of my "activity" sheets and file folder games!

One problem solved.  Now on to organizing our curriculum.
I have THEME binders that I've used for a very long time and they work great.  With the help of page protectors and a 3-hole punch, I can store songs, finger-plays, craft ideas, posters, worksheets and even small books, all in one place.  For example ALL of my apple stuff is in the "Apple Binder". 

But for reproducing worksheets they are kind of a pain.  I have to take the binders to Office Max, fish out the originals and make copies one-by-one.  It takes FOREVER.

I kept the theme binders mostly intact, but I took out all of the pintables I want to do with the kids, and organized them by week.

We are going to work week-by-week, instead of theme-to-theme.
Each week will have:
 an alphabet letter page
a cutting page or activity that involves using scissors,
a math activity, 
a couple of coloring pages,
a craft project (or two) related to our theme,
 and a story book with activities linked to the book. 

Each week has three page protectors.  One for originals, copies, and plans.

A page protector of originals.

A page protector of copies (to be handed out to the children to be colored, cut and what-have-you).

And a page protector for the week's plans with plenty of space at the bottom to make notes, jot down finger-plays, etc. (to be filled in).

All of the page protectors containing "originals" go into the "originals binder"
The page protectors full of copies go into one of two "worksheets/activities binders"

WHY on EARTH did I do all of this?  One reason was to separate the originals out and have them all be in one binder.  I can make copies at my husband's office for about 1/2 of what it costs at the local copy center, but he says he'd like me to do it all in one shot (as he has to sit there and watch me make the copies), and it can't take all day.  (Haha, he knows me so well).  It will be SO much easier to grab the originals binder, copy the activities need for all of the weeks and place the originals BACK into the binder. 
And if I REALLY feel like getting crazy with the planning, I can sit down some Sunday night and put each day's projects and supplies into their own daily envelope.  (I've had these forever...at least 13 years, if not more).  I've done that before and it works really well!  If we don't get to an activity on Monday, I just move it to the Tuesday folder or to a day when we don't have much else going on. (I keep Friday either open or light with activities and use it as a "catch-up" day.

Well, I've got to run. Whew!  That was a lot of organization for one post!  I hope it was all understandable. 
Until another day, happy organizing!

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