When people think of a traditional childcare center, they typically envision a center that is filled with infants and toddlers. However, daycare centers care for children of all ages. While developing a daily schedule for infants and toddlers may be fairly simple, there is much more thought that is put into implementing a schedule for school-age children. How do you plan a day of childcare around this age demographic? Let’s find out…
Developing and implementing a schedule that caters to school-aged children will require some effort. You must take into account the social and emotional development of the children, as well as their level of Developmental learning skills. You must also ensure that you have an adequate teacher-to-student ratio, and take into account the needs and considerations of parents. Finally, you must coordinate your efforts with the school’s the children attend.
A school-age schedule of a daycare center should be broken into two sections. These sections should include before-school activities and after-school activities. One example of a schedule that would be appropriate for school-age children is as follows:
- 6:30 – 7:30 AM – Arrival, parent sign-in, and attendance. “Wake up their brains” time
- 7:30 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast, study groups, and tutoring
- 8:30 – 8:45 AM – Clean up and transition into their school day
- 3:00 – 3:30 PM – Afternoon attendance, wash up, and give their brains a small break from the school day
- 3:30 – 4:30 PM – Homework assignments, tutoring, reading, or creative writing
- 4:30 – 5:00 PM – Enrichment groups and learning activities
- 5:00 – 5:45 PM – Curriculum calendar activities
- 5:45 – 6:00 PM – Sign out, final pick up, and cleaning up
Because school-age children have their day broken into two sections when they are attending a daycare center, I will examine both aspects of the daily schedule. We will take a look at what transpires before school, and then we will also take a look at what activities happen after school.
How Do I Develop and Implement a Schedule?
When developing and implementing a schedule for school age children who attend your daycare, there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. The social and emotional development of the children you care for must be a priority when planning a schedule for your daycare center. You must also take into account the level of developmental learning skills the children possess. Having a good teacher to student ratio is an absolute necessity when it comes to your school-age schedule. When planning a schedule, it is imperative that your daycare also meets the needs and considerations of the parents. Finally, you can not Implement a schedule that revolves around school-age children without involving their schools.
What Takes Place In a School-Age Daycare Before School?
This time of day is perhaps the most critical for school-age children who attend daycare centers. Because children are expected to follow a set schedule and curriculum while they are in school, your daycare should provide the same experience. Most children are going to need a period of adjustment in the morning. Your daycare can provide the perfect transition between home life and school life. Setting aside an appropriate amount of time for arrival, sign-in, and attendance will give the children a chance to “wake up their brains” before a day of learning.
I’m sure that we are all familiar with the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Once all of the children have arrived; been signed in: and their attendance has been taken, it’s time for your daycare to provide these eager students with the nutritious breakfast that their brains and body need to carry them throughout the morning. After feeding the children, you can set aside some time before school for study groups or tutoring. This time gives the children a chance to brush up on any subjects in which they may be having some difficulty.
Finally, the last thing that should take place before school is an after breakfast cleanup session. Because structure is important to most parents, they will appreciate you having the children clean any messes they may have made during breakfast. While your staff may handle most of the heavy lifting, it is important to include children in cleaning tasks. This provides them with a sense of accomplishment and teaches them about responsibility. After they have cleaned the breakfast area, the last thing that the children will need to do before heading to school is to wash their hands.
Learn the difference between daycare & kindergarten!
What Takes Place In a School-Age Daycare After School?
Whether your daycare center provides transportation, or if parents will be dropping their children off from school, the first thing that you will need to do in the afternoon is to take attendance. This should be done immediately after school, without exception. During this time, children will be expected to wash up, and also give their brains a break from a long day of learning. Allowing them this time to decompress before engaging in any further learning activities is crucial, and will give them a chance to blow off some steam.
After your children have had a little time in which they can decompress, you will need to get them started on any homework assignment they may have. This can also be an optimal time for providing tutoring sessions for any students that may need it. If the children do not have any homework assignments or do not require tutoring, they can take this time to participate in some creative writing or reading. The most important factor is that you make learning an engaging activity that inspires creativity. You should also provide the students with either individual or group enrichment activities at this time.
Once homework, tutoring, and enrichment activities are finished, it will be time to get these students to participate in any curriculum-specific activities you have planned. These activities may be anything from playing outside to participating in board games. Most days, students may be a little wound up and stressed after being forced to spend an entire day inside learning. Encouraging these children to participate in fun activities allows them to expand some of this energy before going home to their parents. Trust me when I tell you that parents will appreciate this more than you know.
Finally, the last fifteen minutes of your schedule should be set aside for one final cleanup session, as well as sign-out and final pickup. It is important that you set aside a few minutes in your daily schedule to allow parents a chance to discuss any matters of importance with you. You can also take this time to address any concerns that you may have. After one final cleanup, it’s time for you to go home, so you can do it again tomorrow!
In this article, we have discovered the importance of stimulating a child’s brain before they go to school in the morning. Children need to have the chance to wake up before engaging in a full day of learning. This can be accomplished while you are taking your morning attendance and preparing the children for their school day. Having a set morning routine will also allow you to provide children with any tutoring sessions they may need. Once you have provided a nutritious breakfast for the children, it’s time to send them off to school.
After you have taken your afternoon attendance, you may want to set aside about 30 minutes to allow the children to decompress. You may also want to take this time to provide them with an afternoon snack. Once the students have taken a small break from learning, you should set aside an hour for homework or tutoring. Upon finishing any homework assignments, you can also give students the chance to participate in individual or group enrichment activities. Next, you should give the children approximately an hour for curriculum-specific activities. Finally, it’s time for one last clean-up and parental sign-out and picks up.
Which is better, a standalone daycare center or buying into a franchise? The answer to this question depends entirely on how many of the decisions you want to make when opening your center. Starting a stand-alone childcare center will give you complete control over every aspect of your business, as long as you follow the appropriate regulations. When you decide to buy into an existing franchise, most of the decisions will be made for you. Depending on the franchise’s reputation, buying into an existing franchise may also be more expensive than starting a stand-alone daycare.
What is the difference between a traditional childcare center and a Montessori school? There are a few differences between daycare centers and Montessori schools. One of the most significant differences between the two is that traditional childcare centers focus on structure, while Montessori schools allow children to learn at their own pace. Montessori schools also place an emphasis on stability, with students typically staying with the same teacher for several years. The tuition at a Montessori school is generally much higher than the tuition at a daycare center as well.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.