In the life of a Family Child Care Provider, there is never a typical cookie cutter kind of day! At Special Blessing's Child Care, We use a child-led approach. W follow the Kansas Early Learning Standards with our curriculum, while basing the standards of child-focused activities and hands-on learning, effective learning. Children learn through PLAY! Children are making choices and pursuing their own interests. The shelves are lined with baskets and wooden bowls (naturalistic approach) for the children to engage in educational early learning activities. All children have a deep innate curiosity that drives and pushes their own interest, increases their rich intensity of wonder, and supports their ability to gain knowledge to understand the world around them. This child-led approach values children's individuality!
Our program is embedded in nature-based learning. Our outdoor classroom was certified in 2012 through Nature Explore, and continues to be maintained. We have a North American Butterfly Association certified garden and certified habitat for wildlife. Soon we will be planting our garden plots in the " Outdoor Adventures"--
blooming with flowers throughout in addition to an herb garden, vegetable garden and strawberry patch for tasting, touching and smelling. We use some of the produce in the classroom and have a garden market where families can take home garden produce. Children gain learning opportunities on nutrition and healthy eating at home an child care. It is known that children who participate in the garden activities are more likely to try the produce. The children have water available for use with a pump w?handle and metal buckets to water their plants daily. We recently received a garden grant which will help us purchase gardening items, Nothing is better than a day in the outdoors!
Children have multiple opportunities in defined spaces: multicultural housing, dirt digging, messy materials area, balance beam, climbing wall, music wall mud kitchen, circulating water fall, and much more. We recently purchased a grinding table where children are able to grind wheat into flour, which will result in hands- on educational process while making bread. This will give children the opportunity to explore natural materials ans support their learning through identifying ways they can transform the materials.
Being a Family Child Care Provider is more than a full-time profession and is not just about being a small business owner. It is not an hourly job. Being a Family Child Care Provider is a total commitment and dedication of ourselves and our families as we all fully immerse ourselves in our individualized communities. We advocate for early childhood and children, their silent voices need to be heard. I am personally involved at local, state, and national level on councils, regional positions, leadership, work groups, and teams involving family child care. Being an active early childhood in-home provider for 25 years, and a partner with ECKAN Early Head Start for 10 years, I have forever found my love for this occupation: Our Future!
Family Child Care Matters!
by Corinne Carr, Owner and Operator, Emporia, Kansas