Originally Posted by NoliMum
But for now, we'll just have to navigate the complex grounds and try not to step on dog poop.
I so hear you about that...I started doing childcare while on my mat leave with my first. 10 years ago, I was taking my dd and my friend's toddler to the playground in our apartment complex, which was separated from the garbage dumpsters by only a fence. Extremely stinky in hot weather and not a thing could be done about it
: Not so much dog poop, but way too many cig butts on the ground....Lots of benefits to an urban area, so much to interest children, so much that they can learn, but hard to deal with so much that is just not child-friendly.
I guess I'm in a little bit of a different place than most of you on this thread. I have been doing a full-blown home daycare business for 7 years now. I am established in my community and turning away potential clients for lack of space. I've had two more children while running my home childcare and am now looking to the future, when they are a little older. Instead of going back to work outside the home, I'd like to maximize my income potential through the home daycare, because I love the work and it is a great fit for my family life. I am taking courses towards an early childhood certification that would qualify me to be a preschool teacher here, and reorganizing/upgrading my home daycare equipment and practices in preparation for offering a really excellent program (and raising my fees
)in a couple of years when my middle child is in elementary and my youngest is 4.
I first learned about Waldorf practices about two years ago. I have learned from other philosophies as well, and I don't think I would ever want to get a strictly Waldorf certification/education. I think Waldorf is a beautiful way to live and raise children. I think it would resonate very strongly with prospective clients, as well as being good for my own family, if I could incorporate a lot of the signature Waldorf ideas in my home.
I've been working on this gradually over the past year or so. So far, I've eliminated a lot of the visual "noise" in my home, like the educational posters, the Little People empire, the MIC "character" toys and books and costumes, bright red beanbag chair covers, etc. I've replaced toy storage plastic bins with baskets, and just plain gotten rid of a lot of toys, focusing on quality, and ideally handmade quality, with what I've kept. We started spending as much time as possible outside, and started doing nature walks in the bush near our house. But it gets below zero F here for days or even weeks on end in winter, and most of my daycare children right now are super-active boys, hence my obsession with indoor large motor activities
We've been using more natural/organic/local foods, done more scratch cooking with the children, and have begun using natural materials in crafts and activities whenever possible. I made a deal with a local beekeeper at the farmers market last week to buy some beeswax, and raw honeycomb, which I'll use as a science activity with the children -- and maybe I'll figure out how to make homemade modeling wax! Will be going next month to visit my aunt's farm, near a woolen mill and I plan to arrange to pick up some roving to dye, some wool, felting supplies and maybe a raw fleece. They also sell wool-stuffed sleeping bags and pillows, etc. and I'm drooling to get a look at them and see if there is anything I could adapt to home-daycare use...
If I were starting from scratch today, knowing what I know now, I'd do a lot of things differently. However, since I do have a complete home daycare set up already, and a lot of my supplies and equipment are totally functional, although not very Waldorfy, I am planning a gradual general upgrade. I don't think I'll ever buy another bin of foamy letter stickers, but I will use up the ones we have, rather than tossing them, to give a small example. And it doesn't seem very environmentally friendly or frugal, to get rid of the better-quality plastic toy kitchen that I got in perfect shape 3rd hand for free to make way for an expensive wooden one. Though if one falls into my lap, or my kids want to help me make one when they are a little older, I would be very happy.
So, I've been working on a list of natural/Waldorfy wants for my home daycare. I plan to really hunt for bargains at thrift stores/garage sales over the next couple of years, but buy only what I love and what really fits into my vision. At the end of that time, perhaps I'll pay retail for the rest of it,
. Like a pp, I've found some great wooden toys here and there, but some of them did need sanding down!