Daisy Room Update
Did you know that the Daisy room is a “transition room” where older infants learn skills to prepare themselves for the toddler room?
We are a group of 10 children, who currently range from ages 18 months to 2 years, and three Registered Early Childhood Educators. We participate in daily art, sensory and gross motor activities that practice the “toddler skills” of investigation, manipulation, and attention regulation. For snacks and lunch time, we transition to the dining room to eat together. There, we practice using our spoons to eat, and the hard skills of limiting messes and patience! We have a circle every day, and through songs, we work on concepts such as counting, colours, sharing, language development and sign language. As our children grow, they are introduced to sleeping on cots and potty training when they are ready. In a day, we help the Daisy children improve their expressive language, cooperation, emotional regulation, motor development, coordination and self-help skills, just to name a few!
During the COVID-19 outbreak, with all-day communication via emails, text and video calls with our teams and managers, we have been working from home on many ways to help not only our clients, but also ourselves as educators. We are doing online training webinars to gain a better understanding of our clients’ mental healths, we are creating props and programming for when we return, as well as maintaining continual engagement with our clients. Taking the face-to-face aspect out of the equation for communicating with our clients, we have started to use other means to do so, such as emails, an app, and a secure webpage. Continue reading to see how the Daisy educators didn’t let social distancing stop us from connecting with our clients and children!
The focus of our professional development is centred mainly around mental health to help us best serve our clients. We are now all certified in Infant Mental Health, in association with The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Trauma Informed Care through Alberta Health Services and Brain Story with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative! Other training opportunities covered topics such as effective communication, types of play, and behaviours in early childhood. All of which will help us improve ourselves as educators and help us build positive relationships with the children in our care.
In between webinars, we are also working on making resources for our classroom. We have made props for circle time and visuals to be posted around the Daisy room. Most are based on some of our children’s favourite stories and literary characters!
However, our biggest priority in all of this is maintaining engagement with our clients. Weekly, we create one activity to send directly to each of our moms, with related extension ideas to expand their child’s play. We are doing a lot of research on activities that keep the children’s interests in mind, along with their age and developmental stages. The activities we create have a focus on recycled materials or items that they may easily find in their homes or in nature.
We include lots of visuals and simple step-by-step instructions to make these activities easy to replicate at home. In the Extension Ideas section, we also include ways to make the activity more challenging as we know some of our children have older siblings at home that also need to be kept busy. These activities can be great learning opportunities for them too! Here is an example of an activity we sent to some of our clients:
The Daisy room also publishes one weekly post on an app for all of childcare to enjoy. We have received some really great feedback from our clients! So far, our focus is to provide online circle times and action songs that they can do at home. This way, they are able to see us through videos and engage with us virtually. We try our best to make these activities developmentally appropriate for all of the children in our centre. We give many options on how to make the activity appropriate for infants, and more challenging for our older toddlers. Here is an example of a fine motor activity we created and posted on the app.
Another one of the really amazing things we, as a centre, have done is create a WIKI web page for our clients to access. Each childcare room has their own page and posts different resources and activities for our clients and their children. Our page is currently divided into 4 sections.
Section 1: Our daily schedule
Our clients actually asked for our daily schedule so they can keep their children on a relatively similar routine. It is great to see that our clients recognize the importance of schedules and, even during this crazy time, are trying to keep things consistent for their children.
Section 2: Activity resources
Here is where we have created word documents of many different activities mainly to do with recycled materials. Examples of these include activities to do with toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and recycled water bottles. These activities are not only for our Daisy children, but for their siblings too! Other documents we created include activity ideas for our moms to do with nature-based materials, as well as a list of recipes for homemade paints, play doughs and other fun sensory materials for them to make with kitchen ingredients. This section is really about giving them many different options for various possibilities for play!
Section 3: Story Time
This section has YouTube videos of 5 of our children’s favourite circle time stories. This is a great way to incorporate literacy into their day especially if they don’t have these specific stories that they love so much at home. It also gives the moms an opportunity to see which stories their children really enjoy and possible gift ideas for the future.
Section 4: Let’s Sing Songs!
So far, this section only includes a song book with lyrics of our favourite circle songs. With this song book, our clients can sing with their children at home! Many of our moms may already be familiar with some of our circle songs from their Make the Connection class, so it is a nice refresher for them to also continue practicing. In this section, we would like to eventually include some videos of us doing circles for our Daisy group.
This website experiences constant updates. Our goal is to add 1-3 different resources weekly to ensure our clients have lots to do at home with their busy children. It also includes resources from other departments throughout Youville, so moms are able to access a multitude of articles in one spot.
Working from home has its challenges as we are so used to being on-the-floor with the children, but it is also giving us a different view of our jobs and roles as Early Childhood Educators. The needs of our clients change every day and we are constantly figuring out ways to best serve them and their children. We are working very hard on finding different means to stay engaged with our clients from a distance, and provide them with as many resources as possible, while also working on our professional development so that we can be the best educators we can be. We miss our babies and their moms dearly and can’t wait for things to return to “normal”.
The Daisy Team
Allie, Jessie and Emily