Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fourth of July Round Up

The 4th of July is my all-time favorite holiday, but it has a way of sneaking up on me and I always seem to find myself slightly unprepared.  Since it's coming at us quickly, and it just happens to fall at the beginning of the week this year, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to share all of my ideas with you!

I'm going to start with some past posts for the holiday because the ideas are still great! So as you start your own planning, make sure to take some time to check these out:

I've got more great ideas for you all next week, so check back often to see what I'm sharing!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Flashlight Play

If you're looking for some fun activities that children will love, that incorporate science, and that may be just a little different than your typical preschool activities then flashlights might be just what you need.  First things first, you'll need enough flashlights for multiple children to use at once.  There are a few ways to gather these; ask your families to bring in flash lights from their homes, visit the local hardware store and ask for a donation, or order a set from Oriental Trading.

Once you've got your flashlights think about how you want to use them.  Can you make your classroom dark enough for them to work well? Is it possible to cover your windows in order to make the room darker? Can you create a dark space in the classroom (I love the blanket fort method)? Is there another room or space that gets darker that you could use? Thinking through the answers to these questions before you give the children their flashlights will help you make sure that the experience is successful - although working with the children to figure out why the flashlights aren't very bright and how you could make them appear brighter could be a good problem solving activity too.

Finally, you'll want to gather some materials to explore with your flashlights - any items that impact the way light shines is perfect. Some ideas include:

  • Small mirrors
  • Colored transparencies or cellophane
  • Xrays
  • Prisms
  • Construction paper with holes punched in it
  • Saran wrap
  • Transparent colored plastic cups
  • Tissue paper
  • Old CDs
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic water bottles
  • Magna-Tiles
  • Plastic easter eggs
Giving your students plenty of time to explore these materials with their flashlights will surely lead to additional questions to explore and new materials to test!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Firefly Crafts

It always feels like it's officially summer when the fireflies show up - and usually it's right around this week (at least it is where I live).  I know that it's typical to explore bugs and insects in the spring, but fireflies would be a fun, different summer theme if you're looking to switch it up from the usual beach and barbecue themes.  Here are some fun firefly art projects to try out while you explore these amazing little critters!

Which one will you try first?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Freebie - Cleaning Checklist

Happy Friday! I hope that you've been able to enjoy some summer weather and summer activities!

I usually share freebie for the classroom, but this one was too good to pass up! My posts this week have been all about cleaning at school, but when you can come home to a clean house it can ease a lot of stress! This huge cleaning checklist is from Printable Crush, and it is amazing.  If you're anything like me cleaning will be worth it if you get to cross something off the checklist! Go download your copy and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cleaning Ideas

I just realized how many posts I've written about cleaning the classroom.  What exactly does that say about me? I know I'm a bit of a neat freak, so clearly this has spread to my classroom, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing.  If you are looking to implement a new cleaning routine, or just looking for some tips and tricks, here are some of my previous posts for you to check out:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cleaning and Sanitizing

So what is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Most people use these terms interchangeably, but they aren't the same thing, and when it comes to preschool germs they can make a huge difference!

If you aren't familiar with the book Caring for Our Children, you've got to check it out.  This resource is published by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, and it gives recommendations for every possible health and safety topic that you could every come across while working in child care.  It is an incredible resource to have on hand when you need to look up how to handle specific situations, and when you're creating program policies.

According to Caring for Our Children, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are very different tasks, which are defined as follows:

Understanding the differences between these three practices can help you better decide when to use each one - and in many cases child care licensing will want you to use a specific task depending on the purpose. For example, in my state cots have to be sanitized either weekly, or before being used by a different child, and cleaned every three months.  

So, now you know - and you'll know a lot more if you go check out Caring for Our Children.  You can browse the different topics online or order a print version of the book for your program's resource library.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cleaning Routines for the Classroom

This time of the year is perfect for examining your routines - what worked well this past year? What would you like to change? How can you be more efficient? If you've got the summer off you can prepare now to put these new routines in place, and if you are in the classroom all summer long then starting new routines now will mean less stress in the fall!

One type of routine that I've always found helpful for myself is a cleaning routine - or more specifically, a schedule of certain things to clean at certain times, or on certain days.  This has always helped me make sure that I'm getting it all done, without stressing about doing it all at once.

Anyone with preschool experience understand the importance of cleaning toys and table tops regularly.  Preschoolers are gross, they get germs everywhere, and these are the things that they tend to touch the most, so of course these are the things that get cleaned the most.  But when you take the time to think about all of the other things that get touched and germy, it can be a bit overwhelming.

When was the last time that you disinfected all of your doorknobs or wiped down your light switches? Have you ever cleaned your faucet handles or chairs? Do you dust your shelves or wipe down your markers? Add all of these things to your cleaning list.

The easiest way that I've found to banish the germs and handle all of the cleaning is to focus on one task each day.

  • Monday I'll dust and clean the toys in the block center.  
  • Tuesday I'll use a Magic Eraser on all of the chairs before spraying them with disinfectant and also clean the toys and materials in the science center.  
  • Wednesday I wipe down all the knobs, handles, and switches with Clorox wipes, and do the same with any hard cover books.  
  • Thursday I clean the dramatic play props and wipe down any art supplies that need cleaned (markers, scissors, pencils, etc.).  
  • Friday I gather any items that can be washed in the washing machine - pillow covers and cushions, dramatic play clothes, rags, blankets, etc. and make sure that it all gets washed. 

This strategy isn't fool proof, things certainly get missed, and we still occasionally get sick but it does help me make sure that I'm doing everything I possibly can, and it breaks down the tasks so that I get a little bit done each day!