A day in the life of…

I do really love doing three toddler groups a week. The Thursday group is at my own church (at the other two I lend a hand – taking a turn telling a Bible story, leading songtime and generally helping out where needed). So the following photos are from the Thursday group – we have a lot of space … and this is a glimpse of what happens on a Thursday morning from set up to tidy up! If you are running a toddler group then I really hope that you know that all the hard work that goes on before and after is really appreciated! I am really grateful that my husband does the setting up of all the furniture each week and that I’m part of a team that works really hard and is really cheerful each week.

So – the beginning of the day in the life – early morning furniture moving..

followed by toy set up.. by now there are three of us …

Our craft table is important – it’s really missed if it’s not there! We also have a painting room – I’ll try to get some photos! Our painting dryer is a clothes airer from Lakeland. It does the job, has no sharp edges and was a good price! One of the team makes the playdough and sorts out the paints bringing these from home.

For the first hour and a quarter it’s free play and tea/coffee and biscuits for the adults. The team is now at 5. We serve from the kitchen – the door is open but we use a stairgate to keep children safely out of the kitchen.

Then there is tidy up of the toys and snack time for the children.

At 11am we have a Bible Story and singing. Our hall has a stage which comes in very handy if we’re displaying pictures for the Story. This is a Go pack table on it’s side. It makes a great display space. We use a story bag too.

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It’s almost the end of the session – this is when we celebrate birthdays. We sing and then the birthday child can dong the birthday bell once for each year. It’s decorated bell in a special box.

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And finally we always end singing time with, ‘Row. row, row your boat.’ Then the CD is put on (we are still using CD’s) and the musical instruments come out for the last few minutes.

And then it’s washing up … putting everything away..sweeping the floor…there are often 6 or 7 of us clearing everything away

And sometimes there’s washing to take home and toys to clean. Every week a team member takes the tea towels home and the children’s painting aprons and washes them ready for the following week. Another team member is responsible for our welcome booklet with all the dates for the term.

I’m really grateful that I work in a team!

Toddler Group timings

 

black and white photo of clocks

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

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!