Have you ever wondered what your child gets up to when you drop him/her off at childcare?
It’s easy to imagine them standing by the door, pining for you from the moment you leave until the time you arrive to pick them up. But is that what really happens?
Artemis Early Learning kindly opened the doors to their nursery wing recently, to show us what a day in a baby’s life looks like in a long day care service.
While many of us are in bed and hitting the second or third snooze on the alarm clock, several of Artemis’ educators have already arrived at work and begun preparing for the day.
The educators in the nursery start with organising bottle warmers, nappy change areas, and setting up activities for the children to enjoy during the day.
For parents who start work early, the centre opens its doors from 7:30 am. For the next hour, parents start to arrive with bub in tow. Educators greet the parents and seek information on how their child is feeling, how they’ve slept, whether they’ve had breakfast, and who will be picking them up.
Understanding a child’s mood and recent experiences in the morning helps the educators provide more tailored and effective care during the day.
We all wish we had a personal chef, but for the little guests of Artemis, it’s their daily norm! Their experienced cook arrives early but in a cheery mood to prepare the tasty meals served for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. These meals are not a simple task either, as they need to cater to a multitude of individual and special dietary needs such as vegetarian, gluten-free, halal, kosher, and vegan.
As the last arriving children are saying goodbye to mum or dad and are settling into the day, the first nappy change cycle starts. At Artemis, nappy changes happen up to 7 times every day! It’s just one way a childcare service ensures babies stay happy, clean and comfortable.
Morning tea is served early so that children are energised before playtime. Across the nursery rooms (and the pre-school and toddler rooms too), children enjoy a healthy snack of fruit, cheese or yoghurt.
For the bubs under 18 months, this is also the time when they’ll often go down for their first nap. Artemis’ policy is to put children to sleep in accordance with safe sleeping practices and parent requests (i.e.: with dummies, in grow bags, rocked to sleep, sung to sleep, and so on).
Mid-morning is when the real fun begins! Artemis follows the government-initiated Early Learning Years framework which combines hands-on learning through play. There is also free play, and kids will play indoors and/or outdoors depending on the weather and their motor development.
Educators also complete detailed observations on each of the children two to three times per month, so they can gauge progress and inform parents.
It’s an early lunch for the nursery babies and a staggered lunch for toddlers and preschoolers. The babies tend to eat in their rooms, but aspire to be like the older children and feast in the colourful dining room (which keeps the play areas and rooms clean, as well as teaches children social and dining skills). A typical lunch could include chicken chow mein, pumpkin and pea risotto or perennial favourite spaghetti bolognaise. Yummy!
Children that haven’t slept yet will do so soon. Educators hold the kids’ hands, pat their backs and play soft sleepy music until… zzzzzz. Those that have had a snooze are able to enjoy the activities they missed out on.
The late sleepers wake up when they’re ready, one by one, to participate in quiet free play until everyone is awake and refreshed.
A good sleep can make you hungry, so afternoon tea is served nice and early with a mix of fresh fruit, vegetable sticks and homemade biscuits or cake.
Now the fun starts again! Depending on the weather, the children engage in a range of indoors or outdoors activities designed to build their cognitive and psychomotor skills, such as building blocks and puzzles, painting, arts and craft, dance, music, and much more. Artemis even has regular yoga sessions for the older children; another thing the babies can look forward to as they advance through the age groups.
As the children continue learning, a number of educators remain hard at work prepping for home time. This includes ensuring that all bottles and excess clothes are back in the right bags, a daily diary on what they did during the day is completed, and each child’s report on nappy changes, sleep times, and eating are complete and ready to discuss with parents. Some days, there will be the inevitable but minor falls, scrapes and bumps that occur and the staff attend to, all of which is discussed with the collecting parent.
The day is winding down and the children enjoy free play as they wait to be picked up. It’s a time of squeals, cuddles and recounts of all the amazing things they’ve enjoyed during the day. Parents also chat with the educators so they know what happened throughout the day before they embark on the usual home routines of dinner, bath and bed.
It’s closing time. By now all the little people have gone home, and the big people (i.e. educators) set about wiping everything down, disposing rubbish and packing everything away, ready for the next day of fun and learning.
It can be a long, eventful day for those who choose childcare as a profession. But Rebecca Sleeman, Director of Artemis Early Learning, tells us that “We do it because we love it.”
So the next time you drop off your little one at their childcare service, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re pining for you miserably all day long! Because the truth is, they’re probably way too busy building a tower, doing a dance, singing a song, taking a nap, or eating a gourmet meal!
If you like the way Artemis run their days, and are interested in care for your child, visit Artemis Early Learning or call 02 6239 3927.
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