A friend has asked for some ideas on what happens when at toddler group. So here are a few examples. I go to three groups a week at the moment and each one is different. Mondays and Thursday we are in community halls and on Tuesday we are in a church.
Monday group ( venue has one large hall with extra space for buggy parking)
10am Doors open and bubbles
10.15 Story time and welcome/notices
10.20 Snacks for the children
10.25 Free play and tea/coffee and cake for adults
11.15 Singing time and finish at 11.30
Tuesday group (venue has two rooms with extra space for buggy parking)
9.15 -10.15 Free play
Half way through the session snacks for the children ( everyone sits on the floor) followed by story and singing (One room is cleared of ride on toys to create space for this). The story is 5 minutes long and singing time varies.
Free play with tea/coffee and cake/biscuits for adults and finish at 11.15
Thursday group (venue has large hall, two smaller rooms and extra space for buggy parking)
9.30 Free play – with painting in side room. During this time tea/coffee is served – adults come to the kitchen door (we use a stairgate to keep it safe) and ask for their drink when they arrive or at any time up to about 10 minutes before tidy up time.
10.45 Tidy up time immediately followed by children’s snack time that we serve at tables.
At 11 we finish the morning with story, singing and musical instruments. Home time is at about 11.15.
The big downside of this timetable is that the parents don’t get any cake!
Some things to think about…
The space that you have for you group can make a difference to what you do when. If you want toddlers to be involved in story time you may need to have snacks first so that they can join in without holding a drink and a bread stick. It’s easier to tell a story without the distractions of toys around.
If parents help with tidying up toys it can be a real help if there aren’t many people in your team. In each of the three groups I help at the team of leaders tidy furniture once everyone has left.
If you have a craft table or do painting the items that are made need time to dry before home time. This is especially true when it comes to painting!
It can be hard to get a toddler and new baby out of the house to arrive at a group for 9.15. If people arrive half an hour after you’ve started will they have missed the chance for a drink or the story?
It’s useful for everyone attending your group to have an idea of what happens when. At the Thursday group we have a large print out on our noticeboard of our timetable with the heading ‘What happens in toddler group’. There was a lot of laughter the morning we found that someone had written ‘stays in toddler group’ underneath.
How does your group look? Please share your ideas!