Using the same space 11+ hours a day gives me lots of time to evaluate it, think about, consider it and when I come to a conclusion, to make a series of small changes to try to improve it.
The view from the door - love the big open space!
In the past 15 months, I made a big change - painted over the dark, dark wood paneling and added some fun, kid-lovin' art. And some small changes, moving the couch out of the middle of the room to the side - opening up the space, opening up my "office space so it didn't have so many sharp edges and wasn't as closed-off feeling and this week - after some inspiration by my buddy who's done some rearranging and the desire for some change overwhelming me - I moved things around again and I am thrilled with the results... I'm sure I'll be even more thrilled after this weekend when the carpet down here is clean as well!
Step 1 - moved the tv and small entertainment center over to the hearth of the fireplace - that we don't use, and don't plan to use in the midst of the daycare area. Now we are making use of a blank space!
That opened up a wall that I could move some of the toys to. Here now are our small toy cubbies and our block table. We will be also adding a large mirror to the wall above the block table so the kids can watch themselves play and dance and have fun.
On the opposite side of the door is a narrow wall that used to just hold a "welcome" sign. Well, my daycare buddy blogged her new parent info board in her entry way this week and I thought, "Duh!" That's a great idea - so I moved a bulletin board, cut out some letters and created my own Parent News area - right inside the door! They can easily see our weekly theme, menu, newsletter, and any notes for the day! And - the space is the perfect size for our little bench, too. The kids love to sit here with a friend and read books together!
Moving the tv meant moving the couch, too, so the tv is still viewable from it. The wall next to the daycare storage closet, right inside the door, is the Perfect Size for our couch! And now, is a great welcoming space for when parents need to have a few extra minutes to sit with their little ones when they drop them off in the mornings or a place to comfortably sit and put on shoes at the end of the day... This is also where, once the order comes in, all the kids will have a picture displayed on our "Friends" wall!
Our personal storage cubbies are tucked out of the way, by the staircase, where they aren't as much of a temptation for little ones to pull everything out of as they play, but are still easily accessible. This set of cubbies also stores some of our paper-paged books.
Next to my office/stamp area we moved the big rocking recliner and pulled the stuffed animal toy box and basket of board books up right next to it. Perfect comfy reading chair, place to snuggle and rock with a stuffed friend AND - since it's not right in the middle of everything and is next to a lamp, I can now sit here and read comfortably while the kids are napping on those rare occasions when I don't have a million other things to do!
The "big" table is still here for older kids to use when they need to be a bit out of reach for the little ones, as they draw or color or play a game, do puzzles or build with blocks, but is tucked a bit more out of the way so it's not taking up as much space. Bobo the snake is still out here where we can observe him and watch him slither around.
The pre-school area fits perfectly in the other half of the wall, where the chair and couch used to be. We have our calendar and learning posters and name shapes as well as our table and chairs. Great space for learning and doing art and eating and playing games!
It's only 2 days, but our changes feel good so far! I'm sure there'll be more changes down the road - tweaking things is how you figure out what works!