There are so many different kinds of summer child care and preschool program situations – so it’s impossible to generalize one “right” way to do summer in the classroom. In my own personal experience, I’ve always worked for full-year, full-day childcare programs. our summers typically look exactly like the rest of the year, but summer always FEELS different. I like to embrace that and really do my best to incorporate the very best parts of summer into the classroom.
For me, this has always included a little less structure and a lot more time outside. Now don’t get me wrong, we still do a ton of learning! It just feels a little slower and less routine. As a child I was always a kid who attended childcare all summer long too and I think this gives me a really good understanding of my students and what they really need from me in the summer. Summer should include some special elements, even if they’re still getting up at the same time everyday and going to the same place with the same people. I like to add walking trips (to the library, the park, local gardens, etc.), themed days, and extra chill time to make summer a little different than the rest of the school year.
If the weather is exceptionally nice, we might spend the entire day outside – including lunch, because young children really get a kick out of that! I might have everyone bring their favorite board game from home so we can spend a day playing them, or we might host a party for our stuffed animals. I might have the children help me plan a special event, like an ice cream social or garden party. We might grow vegetables and deliver them to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. There are so many possibilities, and summer is a time where we can really dive in!
What are some of the ways that you love to create a summer atmosphere in the classroom?