Friday, July 22, 2016

Create Your Schedule

We are so close to getting this preschool co-op up and running! Can you feel the excitement?

Found your tribe? Check!
Structure defined? Check!
Curriculum chosen? Check!
Norms agreed upon? Check!

Next up.....creating your schedule! While you will want everyone's input on what components will go on the schedule, most likely, this job will be assigned to 1-2 people. Yes, all you administrative, organization-oriented people, I am talking to you! This is your forte! So, jump on this opportunity!

First up, you will need to decide as a group what you want to have on your schedule. This will depend on the individual needs of your group, but some ideas that you might include are:
  • Who is teaching each week? 
  • Do you want to have an assigned helper?
  • Who is responsible for snack?
  • What is being taught?
  • Do you want to incorporate some time at the beginning of the year to practice rules and routines?
  • Is someone assigned clean-up duty?
  • If you have little ones, who will be with them?
  • Are there any field trips we want to include on the schedule?
  • Are there any memory skills or Bible verses you want to assign for each month?
  • If there are more moms than assigned positions, where do we want them to go? Roving and helping as needed? Or free to leave? (GASP!!! - possible time without kids???)  
Once you've decided upon what info you want on your schedule, it's time for the 1-2 people who have so graciously offered to put it all together to get started - and the rest of you can kindly pick them up their favorite Starbucks or treat - because it is a task!

I begin the schedule-making process by making a table, with all of my assigned positions at the top. You can do this in Word, PowerPoint, or any other word processing program. Here's a snapshot of our schedule from last fall:

As you can see, we had a verse assigned for each month, which is noted at the top. Then, we had all of our meeting dates on the left. Along the top of the table I have the jobs/components that we agreed to include. 

Our group had 9 preschoolers and 6 little guys, so we had an assigned preschool teacher with a helper (that's the box right next to the date). The first person listed was the teacher, and the second was the helper, who was also in charge of snack. Then, since we had 6 little guys (although some littles stayed with momma), 2 moms were assigned there. 

We also had an assigned rover each week who basically filled in wherever was needed. If the preschoolers needed extra help, she'd go there. If babies were struggling, she'd go there. And if the teacher's baby was absolutely melting, the rover sometimes even took him on a little walk in the stroller.

And yes, we even had the option of leaving a few times each semester - perfect time for Target runs! In our group, we agreed that mommas that were leaving would take their little one(s), and of course, if someone was sick, or needed extra help they'd stay. But when it worked, it was great!

We also included our curriculum on the schedule. As I mentioned in lesson 3, we started with a letter of the week and two additional skills, which are noted on the schedule. We had a list of about 8 skills that we simply rotated throughout the year. 

So once the formatting is done, you just start plugging in the names of the mommas in your group. Easier said than done, right? It's okay, you can do this! I start my scheduling by assigning the teachers first. That way, I know that everyone has a chance to teach. 

Then, I go back and tackle one week at a time - assigning moms to the different jobs and trying to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to fill the various roles. One trick that has helped me is that wonderful "Find" button, found in the toolbar at the top, I click "Find," and enter each mom's name one at a time. Then, the program will highlight each time that name appears in the document. This has been a huge help in 1) making sure everyone is on the schedule each week (once, not twice) and 2) ensuring that each mom is getting to serve in a variety of ways - and they are each getting a week "off".

Once you've got it made - pat yourself on the back! It's a tough job! You've done the grunt work - now just send it out to your group (either via email or Google Docs) and have them double check everything. Don't be discouraged if you have to make a few adjustments - it inevitably happens, but you are well on your way to getting this preschool ball rolling!

I know this can be a challenging task, but I'd love to help you! Leave a comment below and tell me how your schedule-making is going. Where do you need help? Do you have your roles assigned? Are you running into any challenges that I could help you with? Just comment below and I'll get back to you!

And if this post or series has been helpful for you, I'd love for you to share it with your friends. Just click one of the icons on the left to share, 

You are almost there. Join me next week as we dig into the materials with Lesson 6: Round Up Your Supplies!

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