Creating a Daycare Curriculum
Many parents expect their daycare provider to do more than simply watch their children and feed them when necessary. They would like you to help their children develop mentally and emotionally by keeping them engaged in educational activities. A quality program for the children in your care will make you stand apart from other daycare providers and could mean the difference between a parent choosing your daycare over another.
Unfortunately, anyone in the daycare business knows that there isn't a whole lot of spare money (or time sometimes) to create quality programming. But with a little planning and some creative budgeting, it's possible to create a daycare curriculum that's affordable, practical and entertaining for the children.
The first goal of your curriculum should be to provide care for the children. This means it's not necessary to schedule every minute of the children's day. Daycares don't need to follow the same strict scheduling guidelines as preschools, which makes it a little easier to come up with a daycare curriculum. One you've scheduled that all the needs are the children are taken care of, you can schedule additional activities.
If you're caring for children from a variety of age groups, create plans that meet the needs of each age group. Each age group has different general capabilities and will require different curriculums. For example, preschoolers, toddlers and infants all have different cognitive levels.
Don't be afraid of supervised free playtime. Free playtime gives children a chance to develop their sharing and social interaction skills in waves that scheduled activities never will. And since you're supervising, you can quickly step in if any bullying or other undesirable actions are happening.
Basic Learning Skills
It's easy to underestimate the importance of basic learning skills and make the mistake of creating an unnecessarily complicated daycare curriculum. A complicated daycare curriculum can have the opposite effect and put stress on young children. It's more beneficial to emphasize one-on-one correspondence with numbers and letters, learning the alphabet, learning shapes and colors and counting in chronological order.
Make It Fun
Daycare isn't school and as a daycare provider it isn't your responsibility to educate the children in the same way schools do. Any of the learning based activities done in a daycare should be fun. Include dressing up, puppet play, singing and dancing in some of the activities you choose for your curriculum.
The Daily Routine
Children like to know what to expect. Create a daily routine to help them know what to expect throughout the day. A routine will also make it easier for you. Days as a childcare provider can get very hectic and the order of a daily routine lets you know what you're going to do at each stage of the day without putting much in-the-moment thought into it.