What Does A Typical Day In Your Program Look Like?

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Ask Melinda is a Playvolution HQ column offering thoughtful answers to family child care questions written by Melinda Marshall.

Your questions, comments, and answers are welcome in the comment section at the end of the post.

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This week’s question:

What does a typical day in your program look like?


In our program, we use a play-based child led curriculum backed by current research and is developmentally appropriate, emergent, and inspired by the children’s interests.

The children have access to materials that are well organized, visible, and within their reach. They are available for much of the day, and the space is flexible allowing the children to move in and out of the areas freely. This INCLUDES art, sensory and messy materials and play.

Just like in a family, the children are often involved in all that we do. They help prepare meals that are eaten family style and help care for their space. Social emotional skills and self-help skills are a large part of the foundation of our program.

We don’t do any typical teacher directed activities or forced circle times. Gatherings happen naturally throughout the day and are typical led by the children.

While our schedule is never rigid or over structured, we do have a simple routine we typically follow.

When children arrive, they are free to choose from the spaces and materials throughout the room INCLUDING art, sensory, and messy play. We have breakfast and then typically head outside for the morning. After lunch there is a rest period where children can sleep or choose to play quietly. The afternoon consists of more child chosen play, a snack, and outdoor time again until pick up begins.

With limited transitions and schedule demands, the relaxed atmosphere, slower pace, and large blocks of time to explore allow the children to sustain more complex cooperative play and provide a more meaningful experience for the children.

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Owner at Mountaintop Family Child Care

Melinda lives in Upstate New York and is owner of her home based program, Mountaintop Family Childcare.

She has been a family child care provider for over 18 years and worked with children for over 27 years. Her program offers relationship based care that includes many aspects of farm life and nature/forest school with PLAY at the center of all they do. She firmly believes in slowing down childhood and allowing children to develop at their own pace.

Melinda believes family childcare programs offer unique settings that have much to offer to the early learning world. She strongly supports family providers in keeping a home like atmosphere in their programs. Backed by research, she continuously advocates for children's right to play.

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