Where Learning Is Fun
Learning Centers Area
Although a large portion of my home is used, there is a dedicated learning centers area. There is a large room, wide hallway, bathroom, and small kitchen area that are used exclusively for Helena's Early Learning Playhouse.
The large room consists of both loud and quiet areas. The loud areas consists of dramatic play, blocks, and music. The quiet area consists of a library, writing, science, manipulatives, and open space for young infants.
The large hallway is set up as an art and eating area, as well as the safe place, to be used as needed for calming our bodies and learning to deal with our emotions.
The hall closet has been renovated into a small kitchen area, making serving meals, washing hands, and cleaning toys more convenient. This will allow for children's play to not be interrupted.
The hall bathroom has been made easily accessible for the children and also contains the diaper changing station.
Entrance and Living Room
The entrance for Helena's Early Learning Playhouse enters into the living room. Since I don't have young children anymore, I want to have adult space, and what looks to be kid-free space at the end of the day and weekends. So, I've put some things together to make this happen.
Each child will have a cubby and hook labeled with their name for personal items along the wall in the living room, entering the learning centers area. Children will now nap in the child care area. Each child over 1 year old and/or walking will be provided a cot, sheet, and blanket. Children will get to choose a stuffed animal from my Cuddle Buddy collection each week to be their sleeping partner. Infants under 1 year and/or not walking will be provided with their own pack'n play, located in the area between the living room and learning centers area so they can be seen and/or heard at all times. They will only be in the pack 'n play to sleep and to keep them safe at times our attention needs to be focused on something. Otherwise, they will be in the infant play area, our arms, or other areas where the activities are happening.
There will be learning toys kept in the living room to be used as needed. The TV is also located here; however, use will be limited to videos to expand learning of our curriculum and exercise videos for active time. This is required by TX minimum standards, so the TV will never be used just to keep children entertained. Children must also be 2 years or older to have screen time and it is now limited to 1 hour per day. The living room area may also be used for group time and other large group activities. Children are welcome on my home furniture; however, it will be important that children wear a diaper/pull-up if they are not fully potty trained and that they are taught to "sit" or "lay" on furniture.
A parent board with all required documentation for parents, including my license, is located right inside the front door. You can also see closings or important information on the front door; however, these will also be texted. Sign in/out QR code is located by the front door.
The family dining room/kitchen will only be used for occasional activities and meal preparation at this time. Meals will be set up in the learning area kitchen for family style dining meals depending on ages of children. Three meals a day will be available - breakfast, lunch, and pm snack. A 5-week cycle menu will be used with plenty of variety of nutritious foods. I will accommodate all food/milk substitutions due to allergies or parent preference; however, these must meet state and food program rules, and I must have ample time to shop for substitutes so they must be discussed in advance. The only outside food allowed will be approved food donations for parties and activities.
The dining room/kitchen will also be used for cooking activities, large group art or messy activities, and for school age children to do homework. There is a dining table and a bar height table for them to choose from.
The outdoor learning area is on the side of the house and is set up specifically for the children. This more natural outdoor area consists of:
*a covered (during summer) pea gravel construction pit with vehicles, wood pieces, pvc pipe, buckets, and shovels
*covered (during summer) sand box with playhouses, mud kitchen, small creek, bridge, and accessories for sand, mud, and dramatic play
*mulch area with logs to walk, balance, and sit
*garden area with areas for planting and includes a weather station and wood path
*trike/coupe car/scooter track with traffic signs and in the middle is our water trough for water play
*music wall with home items used as musical instruments
*covered (during summer) infant/toddler play area with climber, seesaw, and sit and spin
*grassy area to be used for balls, hula hoops, running, games, etc.
*library area with books and seating
On rainy days or code yellow/red days, if possible, we will use the front porch. If this isn't possible due to blowing rain or lightening, then we will do active time indoors. (This may be one of the times an exercise video will be put on the TV, depending on ages of children in care.)