It has been a minute since I last posted. Life as a child care provider during COVID has been a wild … adventure? Since March 2020 there have been at least seven rule changes to date. Those changes were anything small from two page documents, to one document being 62 pages. Life in early March consisted of large group circle time, laughter, singing, dress ups, sand tables and then moving into Centers where children would play cooperatively. Since COVID hit? We lost the ability to use sand or sensory play. Dress ups went out the window. Anything soft had to be removed. Every surface had to be covered with a sneeze shield or be fully cleanable.
In the begining everyone stayed home and we had one to two children daily. That was a large change from 31! As families trickled back into care, rules seem to change daily. At first if anyone in the family was sick, everyone had to stay out for 14 days (parent/child)! Then it changed to 10 days if the child had any form of sickness symptoms. Now it seems to be changing again to if you have two sickness symptoms, then you are out for 10 days. However if you just have one symptom, you need to be symptom and medication free for 24 hours.
Sanitizing and disinfecting has become an out of this world chore. I’ll just say it now is a full time job for multiple people throughout the day. Certain toys must be put away and just can’t be played with. Toys can not be brought into school. Books have to be sanitized… BOOKS! The newest rule… children are NOT allowed to share. Ok, as an Early Childhood Professional, sharing is one of the basic building blocks for Social Emotional Development. How to you PREVENT sharing?… Inquiring minds want to know. Children are also suppose to social distance. Have you ever tried to socially distance young children? It is similar to bathing cats. Some love it and others, not so much.
In April/May, groups were split up. Friends who would see each other daily prior to the pandemic, were now separated and not allowed contact. Group sizes were shut down to a, “stable group of 5 – 10.” Kids could not switch between groups or hang out with their friends, only half of them. Watching students grieve and ask why they can’t see their friend any more, knowing they are in the class on the other side of the wall or downstairs was hard.
We are a little frustrated about the 62 pages of rules with many pieces of fine print costing money, time and giving up many of our personal freedoms. Yet we love our jobs. So we press on and pray for this storm to pass and for things to return to normal. One thing we are grateful for in the new massive rule that begins on September 1, 2020, going back to group sizes. For our center this would be a max class of 20, for our homes max of 16. Friends will be reunited and so happy to see each other!
For those of you who supported us during this time, thank you. For those of you who supported your provider in your State or City, THANK YOU! Child care has been damaged in this pandemic. The financial losses from requirements from the state were large. Shutting down programs only allowing one group was also financially hard. A program that once had four groups, now had to financially sink, there was no other choice -no funding supports when our legs were knocked out. Developmentally appropriate practices have been thrown out. Teachers must cover their faces and wear, “Hazmat suit,” material if you are feeding an infant a bottle (and a mask). Can you imagine what infants are going through? How terrifying this must be for them.
It is my sincere hope that our nation can return back to some form of normalcy where Developmentally Appropriate practices are again embraced and providers are allowed to again practice the art of Early Childhood Education. Until then, Preschool and Child Care is just a shadow of what it was prior to COVID. Until then teachers and program directors need your support and encouragement.
It can be challenging moving into a new area, or having your first child. What is there to do for kids in our area? Here is part 1 of the three part series. where to take your family on adventures or vacations.
High Desert Museum: Here is a day full of as many fun adventures as you could dream of. From life on the ranch, feeding chickens, pumping water, to zoo animals -there are many child friendly activities here. Twice a year you can check in here on a FREE day! Check their website for details. Click Here for website.
Camping in a Yurt: In Oregon there are these cool things called Yurts! They are set up with beds inside at a camp ground. My favorite are along the Oregon Coast and they are SUPER affordable. You literally pack your suitcase, a sleeping bag and food, then stay camping style without the cost. Yurt costs vary but they are a cheap option. You can select your date through Reserve America, prepay and you are ready to go. Hint -book ahead…. like WAYYYY ahead. These are a gem and locals know it!
Mount Bachelor -FREE Skiing: You heard it here, Mount Bachelor has my vote over any other mountain in the US! They have a lift called Carosel where you and your child can LEARN to ski though experience for FREE. Let me repeat that… FREE. I know… pick your jaw up off the floor. Bend is really heaven. You need your own gear https://bend.craigslist.org or www.gearfix.com are wonderful places to save some money when getting equipped.
Wanoga Snow Park -tubing and sledding: It is a whole $5 (for the parking pass)! Bring your own gear. Occasionally there are food trucks there. Make sure to pack snacks. My clan is always starved after our adventure.
Bouncing off the Wall: Is the weather less than outdoor weather today? Need something to run off some energy? Look no further! This is a great place to get out the wiggles.
Mountain Air: Indoor trampoline park is fun for all ages, adults and kids alike! You can jump for 30 minutes or two hours. There is dodgeball, a small kids area, foam pit even basketball. This is a hoot with a large group or for birthday parties. It is little more on the spendyside, but a fun memory.
Bend Rock Gym: Children who are old enough to walk can enjoy BRG. With auto belay technology, you can climb along side your preschooler or your spouse. No previous rock climbing experience needed. We usually go for an hour and rent shoes while there. It is along the spender actives and well worth it.
Juniper Swim: In the winter there is great swimming at Juniper. The price is very affordable and it is a great way to tire out your active kids. In the summer, the outdoor swim and water play area is open. No additional fee’s are charged and you can bask out in the sun while enjoying the pool with your littles.
Cascade Indoor sports: I LOVE roller skating and I’m hoping it will come back strong like it was in the 80’s! Cascade Indoor Sports has roller skating. Great music, games, reverse skate… the only thing missing is couples skate. Considering these are our kids and we aren’t the kids… couples skate can be left out. Affordable and fun. Skate times are listed on their website and usually there are additional hours on non school days.
Bend Lava Cave: This link is to trip advisor for this special monument of amazement. We took our boys when they were infants here. Wonderful memories and it is breath taking. We went in the summer time as the natural AC was just what we needed.
Wow there was a lot of snow the last 48 hours. We recorded 26″ here at Bend Preschool! That might possibly be a record of some sort. The snow pacalypse of 2016, has passed, sidewalks have been blown off, parking made available and we are all set for Friday. Drive safe on your way to school and see you tomorrow!
Click Here for Snow Pacalypse 2016 Video
“NO, I can’t leave MOM! I can’t find my socks! And my pants don’t fit any more!” screamed my 6 year old daughter as we were late for school the 5th time this week. That was it. I’m going to have to get another late slip in the office.
My mind wandered back to the days of each of my five kids, being infants. The long nights of multiple messy diapers, the “poo-caso paintings” they sometimes created middle of the night and the ever stained clothing… these just seem to be a stage we have been stuck in for 17 years! You like me, wondered how these heaps of dirty laundry, unmatched socks, clothes under the bed, under the sink, under the sheets come to life. How do people get to nicely organized drawers and kids who were happily going to the car each morning for school?
As I sat folding socks about 4 weeks ago, an idea came to me. From this idea our house became a house of happy mornings with matched socks and “magical drawers.” Let me share with you a few simple tricks to conquer this laundry monster.
1) Set the week up: Pick out 7 outfits that will work for the week. Example: One shirt, one pair of pants, socks and undies = 1 outfit
2) Limit the options: We have nice clothes, play clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes, too small clothes, too big clothes -TOO MANY CLOTHES! Yet it is impossible to part with anything (am I the only hoarder here?)… Lock the other options up
3) Donate: Get those 0-3 month clothes out to someone who needs more laundry. Pay it Forward group on facebook or Goodwill, so many people are in need.
4) Wash on short cycle: You know that cycle that takes 1.5 hours to wash, then the clothes get left in there and need rewashed and the laundry just stacks up another week while the clothes get stinky? Then the things from the dryer end up on the floor unfolded for the week? End that. Now. Use the 30 or 45 minute cycle. Now you can remember to flip, fold and put away before midnight strikes.
Know that if you are in the middle of laundry he!! that you too can break free. This simple strategy has led to more peace, less laundry and less fighting in our family.
I’m sure everyone out there in the world has already conquered the looming laundry beast. Just in-case he is still lurking in your home, now you know our secret to keeping him a small pet.