Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Beginning of the School Year....At Daycare

So, so many changes this time of year. All of the big kids went back to school (a few insisted that it wasn't going to happen and that they were just going to stay with me) and that left the littles and myself to settle into our "school year routine." It's definitely taken a few weeks to get into it again, but we managed it, all while doing some of their favorite things. I've learned from experience to take things slow these first few weeks and that has helped all of us transition nicely. While the littles favorite time of day is still when some of the bigs get home from school (or the bigs come to visit when picking up siblings), they seem to be enjoying all of the attention they get.

This fall, I don't have any babies. The age group is (nearly) two years old to an almost four year old. This has made planning activities much easier! I've also been pleased with a few of the things the littles picked up from the bigs over the summer. Everyone clears their own plates/bowls after snack and meal times and makes a beeline for the bathroom to wash hands and take a potty break. I witness some pretty cute stuff during the day, but nothing beats watching a not yet two year old clear her own plate. I'm so impressed (and sometimes horrified) at the things they pick up from each other.

Here's a look at what has kept us busy since school has started:

If a cartoon is watched, it's actually pretty easy to decide with young kids. It's always between Daniel Tiger, Curious George, or Moana. One morning the kids had the TV before school, so a few of the littles sat down to watch Curious George Boofest. When it was over, these were the options that popped up. The TV went off afterwards, but I found Netflix's suggestions quite humorous. 

The amount of shoes that were piled by the door during the summer makes these seem like nothing. I also have an organizer in my group, who likes to neatly place the shoes by the door. Not surprising, I haven't had any near trips since school began.

Three days into the school year and the littles were sad without the bigs. As I usually do, I tried my best to explain to them where they were (school) and we read our books about going to school. This year it wasn't making much of a difference, so to help them process things, we took a walk up the elementary school to pick up my minis. I'm grateful we only live a few houses away from the school, so we can easily do things like this!

Needless to say, my minis were surprised and thrilled to see us waiting for them when the bell rang and the littles were soooo excited to see school and greet the kids. After that walk up to school, I didn't notice anymore confusion about where the bigs went. I was soooo impressed with how well the kiddos followed directions and followed our safety rules while walking and on school grounds. Other parents and teachers were impressed with their capabilities. My favorite part of the afternoon was when a student walked out of school looking for her mom and passed by our group. Her eyes got huge and she said, "woah, you have a BIG family!" 

We have had so many dance parties and act like animal parties that I lost count. However, in recent days, things have gotten a bit more handsy, so we had to put new rules for dancing in place. We now have a scheduled dance time each day before lunch that involves phrases such as "hands and bodies to yourself," "no we can't spin and pull each other," and "stay away from the tile!" 

Lil Miss E started dance lessons. I have people watching time each  Monday for an hour.

Paper plate fishies.

Discussing their schools.

We celebrated Hubs 36th birthday. Daycare families were awesome with all of the schedule changes and early pick ups that happened those first few weeks. We had a lot of orientations, school things, and a variety of personal commitments that required daycare schedule changes. It's nice to be able to do those things and help them out when needed as well.

Colored wooden stars. I have a ton in storage that my minis made over the years. By sticking a magnet on the back of them, they served as our refrigerator magnets for a few years.

The kids got to help paint and color the trees and apples for our "apple orchard." The kids have had a great time the last couple of weeks playing apple orchard, "picking" the apples, and using the play cash register to check out. In October, this corner will become our pumpkin patch!

The newest daycare books have been read A LOT already.

The sensory bins are also a favorite. This have been around for three or four years now and going strong!

We've been making, um, music with our sound sensory bottles.

Getting into the school schedule has been okay.....except for bedtime. Sometimes bedtime is rough. Sometimes a mini will come out of the room with his foot wrapped in toilet paper and pretend he broke it. This has made for some long nights and early mornings at our house. We're finally getting a hang of this schedule four weeks into the school year.

I've come to the conclusion that my house will always be messy and sticky, even if I just cleaned it. In this case, I set my glasses down to rinse my face quickly and my glasses wound up with toothpaste and glue on them.

The littles love it when the bigs get home from school. There's hugs, squeals, and clapping happening when they walk through the door.

One of my favorite things from my days with the littles is the march up the stairs and into the nap room each day. They all carefully climb up the stairs and then walk into the daycare nap room, standing next to their pack n' play. They sweetly wait their turn, as I go around and put each child in their bed (giving hugs and kisses first, of course). Then I listen to them tell each other good night and it never fails, they always remind each other "no talking and stay laying down." It makes me smile every day!

The kids enthusiastically used the Dot Markers to decorate their leaves.

Apple scented play dough made with conditioner and corn starch.

As usual, one of my favorite things to do is set out and activity and watch the kids play. I love to hear what they come up with and how they interact with each other. Read more (and for an amusing set of pictures) here.

Now that we're in our groove and a ton of fun fall activities in the coming weeks, our days have been going quite smoothly.....or, as smooth as they can with 6 2-4 year olds!