Tag Archives: Change

The Squeaky Door

It was back in December that I rearranged the play space again.   When I looked back at that post I realized that I mainly wrote about the history of the loft and the reason for the changes.  The post was getting too long so I didn’t include pictures of the finished space.  I will have to do a full post about that soon but right now I want to focus on one small area.

The refrigerator in the housekeeping area;

15-03-squeaky

The new block bin is now located on the right hand side of the refrigerator – this is where the entrance to the block area used to be.  The counter top above the block bin is centered over the block bin and overhangs the bin by several inches on both sides.  This was an intentional design feature.

Due to the placement of the counter top the right hand door of the refrigerator only opens part way before it touches the counter top.  The left hand door opens a full 180 degrees.  I didn’t think it was a major issue so I didn’t correct it then.  Months later the problem is getting worse instead of better.

Even though the food in the refrigerator is easily accessible when the right hand door is only partially open the toddlers insist on pushing on the door to force it to open fully.  Since it is physically impossible for the door to open that far all they manage to do is get the door jammed so tightly against the counter top that they can then not close it.  Meltdowns ensue.

The hinges on the right hand door had also begun to squeak.  Some of the children like to move this door slowly back & forth simply because they like the sound.  I do not like that sound – especially not for a solid 20 minute stretch of time.

Last Friday was an school inservice day which meant I had the older children here for the whole day.  It also meant that my school-bus-driver husband was home for the day too.  So, as the children and I were getting ready to go outside to play I said to my husband “We will be outside for the next 2 hours.  While we are gone please unhook the brackets holding the counter top and move it an inch to the North.  Also, grease the fridge door hinge.”

For the second half of Friday and all of Monday I have silently watched and waited.  Only one of the two-year-olds has noticed the change.  On several occasions he has stood by the refrigerator and slowly moved the right hand door all the way open and then all the way closed.  Sometimes he stands in the space behind the door so he can watch the hinge action from a different point of view.  I’ve been observing him as closely as he is observing the door.

The other children either don’t notice or don’t care that the door doesn’t stick or squeak any more.  I notice, thank-you very much.

Before and After

They’re Back! 🙂

The daycare has been closed for the past two weeks while I was on ‘vacation’.  Of course there have been some changes and I even remembered to get a few ‘before’ shots this time.

In the yard we have the sunflowers growing in the pots on the left and right – before my vacation:

BA01And after;

BA02

The carrots in the big blue planter before;

BA03

And after;

BA04

The garden before;

BA05

And after;

BA06The shed/deck before;

BA07

And after;

BA08

None of those projects are completed yet.  Mother Nature and I still have more work to do.

Downstairs in the basement is where I spent most of my vacation.  The shower as it was for the 17 years I’ve lived here (yes, that’s about as clean as it gets);

BA09And after;

BA10The children call it ‘fancy’.  I’m happy my ‘vacation’ is over and I can go back to playing outside.

What’s the Difference

Changes to the playspace are always made on the weekends so on Mondays we play ‘What’s the Difference’.  Yesterday the first children here immediately noticed the appliance upgrade;

Yes, last month when my husband and I renovated the playspace, I said it would like to paint the appliances to simulate stainless steel.  I didn’t paint the washer/dryer like I originally planned — there was some discussion about possibly re-designing this appliance due to some minor damage and functionality issues.  I didn’t want to paint it if we were going to eventually replace it so until that decision is made I will not paint it.

The children’s comments regarding the fridge and stove were “What happened?” “Cool!” “Neato!” and “Ooo, it’s so soft”.  We briefly discussed the difference between ‘smooth’ and ‘soft’.  Then one of the children excitedly exclaimed “Look! she painted this too”.

Very observant – the tissue box is a different colour than it was on Friday but I didn’t paint it.  I just brought out a new box because the old one was empty.

There was another difference but this one took them a little longer to notice.  As usual, I waited.  I don’t ever point out the changes – letting them notice on their own is part of the game.  As promised – under the sink in the housekeeping area my husband added a drain and water line;

Later in the day the children eventually noticed this new addition.  Each and every one of them squealed with excitement and then immediately did this;

There was a little dissappointment when they realized that the water line was not actually attached to a water source but they still like the new addition.  Now, before getting their tools to repair the sink, they make sure the tap  under the counter is turned off — they must watch the DIY channel too 🙂

Changing Times

We have a written schedule that provides a very basic outline of our day. Essentially the schedule is just a chronological list of the events of the day.  It looks something like this;

  • Arrival
  • Free Play
  • AM snack
  • Circle/Calendar/Planned Activity
  • Outdoor Time
  • Lunch
  • Nap/Quiet time
  • Free Play (short)
  • PM Snack
  • Free Play
  • Home Time

The posted schedule does list actual times for each event but these are just a formality.  In reality the timing is very flexible.  For example, outdoor time is scheduled for two hours from 9:30 – 11:30 am but it can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 4 hours if we move other events like circle and meals outdoors too.

It is the order of the events that remains consistent. Times are adjusted as needed to accommodate individual schedules, moods and interests.

Naptime probably has the biggest influence on the timing of our schedule because during naptime the cots and playpens are set up in the playroom – so there is no ‘free play’ room.  During naptime activities are limited to the sunroom – crafts, board games, puzzles, books and some small toys — quiet activities.

Currently, the baby’s nap is affecting our schedule.  You see, he simply cannot stay awake until the scheduled afternoon nap time.  He can sometimes be persuaded to have a short morning nap in the stroller while we are outdoors – but then he doesn’t want his real nap until after 2 pm and he will sleep until 4:30.

That means ‘naptime/quiet time’ has been extended from 1:00 to 4:30 as various children sleep at different times. It means that for nearly half the day there can be no free play in the playroom which is normally considered the main play space. It means that the baby is in the sunroom for part of quiet time – the sunroom is intended as a place where older children can use small stuff independently without interference.

It is not a good schedule.

Now, since the baby doesn’t really need two naps – and sometimes even argues about having that morning nap – the simple answer seems to be to just skip the morning nap.  The problem then is that he ‘crashes’ before lunch and he wakes to eat at 1:30 pm.  Essentially this results in the same issues as the late nap but at a different time.  The playroom is off limits due to naptime from 11:30 to 3:00 and I have a bored baby awake in the sunroom while the others nap.

So last week I tried something different.  I moved naptime ahead one hour so the preschoolers nap from noon to 2:00pm.  It means we have lunch early – something that is possible because this year I don’t have any school-age children returning here for lunch from 12:15-12:45pm.

I changed something else too.  For the first time ever, I made a change to the order of the events in our schedule. Now it looks like this;

  • Arrival
  • Free Play
  • AM snack
  • Circle/Calendar/Planned Activity
  • Free Play (short)
  • Lunch
  • Nap/Quiet time
  • Outdoor Time
  • PM Snack
  • Free Play
  • Home Time

All the children nap at approximately the same time again.  Outdoor time is now scheduled for after naptime and the two preschoolers who attend ½ day school programs in the morning are now able to engage in some active outdoor play in the afternoons instead of only quiet time activities.

It seems to be working well.  Even on Friday when there was a school inservice day and all the children were here for the full day this new schedule worked.  I don’t intend for this to be a permanent change.  I’m certain that by Spring/Summer we’ll want to be outdoors all morning again.  For winter though, an early lunch and naptime and an outdoor time that takes advantage of warmer afternoon temperatures may just be the perfect solution.