Adding a Curriculum to Your Home Daycare
Fall is almost here! If you haven’t already, now may be the time to consider offering a preschool curriculum as part of your child care program.
Child care programs pull their strength from the loyalty of the families they care for. If a child care home is empty, it loses some of its appeal to parents in search of child care. It is a fact that some parents are more hesitant to enroll their child in a program with no children. While parents may enjoy the 1-on-1 attention their child will receive, they also want their children to have playmates and learn socialization. This time of year it is increasingly difficult to recruit new families. It’s a phenomenon many a provider has faced. So how do you appeal to the masses?
Make Your Daycare Stand Apart From the Rest
One very easy and basic way to appeal to new families is to offer a preschool program. The program you choose to offer is entirely up to you. Some providers find purchasing a prepackaged program to be convenient and exciting to the children. Others build their own curriculum based on the internet, curriculum books, or their early childhood education. Many providers rely on their child-driven intuition to build their curriculum on a daily or weekly basis. Child-driven intuition refers to the act of watching a child interact with his or her environment and capturing teaching moments based on the child’s current interests. Most programs inherently use child-driven intuition to educate those in care whether it is intentional or not.
Finding Your Program
To set your program apart in this season of slow growth, you may want to consider adopting a prefabricated program or sitting down for a couple of hours and writing out your own. There are literally hundreds of books on the subject of preschool curricula. Teaching supply stores, Kmart, Walmart, bookstores, and most major retailers offer curriculum books that can be obtained for ten dollars or less.
These books offer reproducible worksheets that can be given to children to help them learn letter, number, and color recognition. They are good for fast learners as they are inexpensive and can be purchased as needed. If you notice your little genius has mastered the preschool book, you can move ahead to the next level for that child without rushing others in care. These books, however, are only worksheets and most do not contain changing themes that tie everything together. There are none, or very few, craft ideas in these books and if crafts are included they are simple and not very exciting.
Prepackaged and Home Made
An alternative is to purchase or make your own curriculum. Many websites offer curriculum planning ideas, complete with craft and accompanying storybook (for circle time) ideas. These curriculum plans can be fun and encourage creativity in the children and the provider. Planning is often time-consuming, however, and supplies must be purchased for all projects. Purchased curricula are convenient as most supplies are included and planning is already done. Prepackaged is a good idea for those with limited time or materials.
Curriculums can be costly, whether you make your own or purchase one, especially for larger groups or for start-up child care homes. One way to defray the cost is to charge an enrollment or registration fee each year for your clients. Some providers choose to raise their rates slightly or ask parents to contribute $5-10 a month as a Supply Fee. If you would like to enrich your program through the addition of a curriculum, there are many options you have to make that goal a reality.