How to Plan An Annual Event's Calendar for Your Early Learning Service
Early Childhood Services rely upon calendars as an essential tool for planning early learning programs as well as the service operations.
Finding a balance between internal curriculum and lesson planning for educators and including significant events and activities to share with the learning community of staff, children and their families.
This article focuses on supporting you in crafting a comprehensive service calendar that both staff and families can reference for significant dates and events within the childcare program. You can include staff training days, holiday closures, public holidays, orientation days, and celebrations. Furthermore, the article offers insights into various activities appropriate for different times of the year to ensure preparedness among staff and families.
Guidelines for Crafting an Early Childhood Educator Calendar:
When designing an annual calendar, direct attention towards the kind of information that families and staff might require.
Families need details about service closures, holidays, relevant deadlines, enrollment periods, and any factors that may affect their child’s care at the service.
Crafting a classroom calendar can also be an enjoyable experience for the children. It helps children understand the passage of time. Use poster boards, stickers, cut-out letters, and artistic materials to create a visually appealing display for each month. You could even organize it in three-month segments to showcase the previous month, current month, and the upcoming month. The interactive aspect can involve activities such as marking off passing days and using stickers or pins to signify special occasions like classmates’ birthdays or holidays.
I strongly suggest, you schedule in professional learning days throughout the year. You could schedule 2 a year at a minimum. This designated time is valuable for realigning pedagogical philosophies, operational routines, cleaning and sorting. For families, also contemplate adding major events from other schools, such as graduation days or spring breaks.
How to Create a Child Care Calendar:
1. Schedule a planning session: Devote time to plan the year, noting significant dates like the commencement and culmination of the school year, holidays, birthdays, field trips, and national observances. This phase is ideal for outlining monthly themes for the classroom, such as an animal theme in September and a gratitude theme in November.
2. Incorporate community events: Integrate engaging community events each month to foster family participation. Examples include celebrations like Earth Day, Walk to School Day and NAIDOC Week. Moreover, contemplate involving family members in volunteer opportunities like reading to children during story time or assisting in craft activities.
3. Collaborate with staff and families: Encourage staff and families to contribute their cultures and ideas to the calendar. This inclusive approach promotes a sense of community and offers enriching learning experiences for the children. Family engagement and communication escalate when families are actively involved, facilitating the alignment of family-oriented activities with convenient dates.
4. Create digital and physical versions: You can create and offer both digital and physical calendar variants. Digital calendars provide accessibility, especially for busy families. They permit the easy addition and removal of events, alongside setting up reminders. Conversely, physical calendars offer visual cues.
5. Schedule your Socials: Remember that these events are an opportunity for you to promote your early childhood service to the broader community. You can share up coming events with your families, and then you can share your commemoration or celebration of these events.
6. Personalize with branding, colors and visuals: Customize the calendar using your branded colours, logo, and images. You could also use colour coding, like using blue font for national holidays and purple for special occasions. Additionally, incorporate individual educator and child photographs to mark their respective birthdays.