Well, it's been almost 3 weeks and we're still standing! Our enrollment is holding steady but of course, we're always excited to hear the phone ring!
Here's a glimpse at some of the things we've been working on with the kiddos. We must warn you, it's been really fun.
A fan favorite, our heavily "loved" Community Playthings (THE best in child care equipment might we add) and generously donated sand & water table has boasted many things in it's short time at NELC. During our first week in business, we filled the table with dry rice with all the amenities. Bowls, tea cups, spatulas, spoons, colanders & later in the week, even tossed in some animals & people for good measure. The children had a blast and quite frankly, so did we. There is something so incredibly soothing about rice. This was a fun way to introduce the table to the children and it literally had something for everyone.
During Week 2, we experimented with a few other mediums, the first being a no-bake play dough recipe dubbed "Soapy Dough" for obvious reasons! The children enjoyed helping us mix the ingredients and each chose a custom color for their own little blob. We were able to store the dough in airtight containers and use them later (still smelling pretty by the way). The one cautionary tale is to be ever-vigilant with the young'uns because as we all know, dough can be a tempting snack and this one had bathroom soap in it. All in all, this was a hit! Here's the recipe if you're looking for a rainy day activity-chances are you already have the ingredients handy, especially if you or someone you love bathes regularly :)
What You Need:
Later that week we turned to good old water for inspiration. One of our bargain basement deals was a large collection of plastic sea creatures, which we promptly mixed with seashells to create an underwater menagerie. Though we are not making Sea Life the focus of our curriculum until July or so, we were anxious to try out our new "stuff". And let's face it, who doesn't need a little faux sea horse in their life? The children loved this, something we definitely took note of. When all else fails (which it won't), beachy things shall prevail!
This week, our theme is "In the Garden" and "Old Faithful" (the Sensory Table's new name as of...well, now) was the perfect home for potting soil, shovels & seeds. So far we have planted Cherry & Beef Steak (yes, that's real) tomatoes, a sunflower and some gorgeous blooms to decorate the once barren land beneath our sign. The older kids weren't as jazzed about the planting as we had imagined but the younger children loved every second!
Finally, we capped off Week 3 with good old fashioned "Goop". Yep, cornstarch and water. So simple! You literally cannot step up to the plate and resist running your fingers through this mind-boggling phenomenon. Gets us every time.
We are learning about our students more and more each day and remain perplexed by the fact that on a beautiful day, the school age children still BEG to hang out in our gym. We've done a lot of dress up, dancing, water colors, marble painting, leisurely strolls down beautiful Laurel Way...you name it. We've re-discovered the joy that is early childhood education.
Our first few weeks have been a learning experience, and a good one at that. We find ourselves laughing non-stop and most of the time it's at ourselves as we delve back into our original roles in this field...teachers! While we remain administrators as well, it's been a unanimous decision that teaching is way more fun. Whether it's the little things like blowing bubbles, rocking a child to sleep or reading a book. Or, the more complicated ones such as giving "Pegasus rides" on the playground (true story) or being given "wind" in charades (by a 5 year old) we are having the time of our lives.
In a land far far away, two gals took a big gamble and left their long-term jobs in search of a new beginning. Norfolk Early Learning Center began as a brainstorm and quickly evolved to something more. Suddenly we found ourselves ripping up carpets & prying open paint cans. Our excitement grew as we made all sorts of lists, one of which we were very proud of ourselves for sticking to (we love you IKEA!) Six months later, we had yet to put down our paintbrushes and continued to work diligently as we waited rather impatiently for the arrival of our child care license. On April 26, 2013 we were official. In fact, we're willing to bet our neighbors on Laurel Way heard screaming and felt the ground shake as we quite literally jumped for joy. We hope that this blog will serve not only as a vessel for our experiences here at NELC but as a journal of sorts, documenting what we hope will be our "happily ever after".