A before school child care program gives parents the flexibility to drop their kids off at school early. Because it is a drop-in program, you’ll have kids arriving at different times throughout the session. This makes it challenging to do formal activities. Here are some ways to manage the structure of a before school program.
One solution to the problem of kids arriving at different times is to use an activity center approach. You can set up several different activities for the kids to do as they arrive. This allows kids to jump in at any point since they are essentially doing free choice activities.
Have several different center options available. This might include a science exploration center, reading area, craft table and dramatic play. Choose activities that aren’t too messy or involved, since the kids have a full day of school ahead of them. Vary the activities every morning or at least on a weekly basis to keep the program interesting.
If you plan group activities, choose options that kids can easily jump into as they arrive. For example, you might do a group game that you don’t have to restart if new players join. Or play parachute games where a child can simply squeeze into an open spot along the parachute when she arrives. This allows you to connect with all of the kids as a large group while still accommodating the different arrival times.
In a before school program, you know exactly when the session will end since the kids start school at a certain time. Having an organizational system helps with that transition from the care program to the school day. Have a designated spot for students to keep their school bags and coats. This makes it easier to grab and go when it’s time for school. Stop activities several minutes before the transition so the students have plenty of time to help clean up the materials.
Keep It Positive
When the students arrive at the before school program, they likely haven’t been awake long. They are just starting the day. Create a positive, motivating environment at your before school program. Help the kids wake up and get excited for the day. You might do some morning yoga or exercising. Or you might crank some energizing music on the radio to get the kids moving. Leave them with smiles on their faces as they head out for their day at school.