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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Preschool Teacher Deals & Steals

The Budget is always super tight for a teachers. I flip through the catalogs and daydream of all the cool projects and toys I'd love to buy for my class. I'm pretty resourceful and super thrifty when it comes to shopping. Although, I do fairly well, I still miss out on super deals and bargains that could save me a fortune in the classroom. Here's where I got even more resourceful! I just recruited one of the best bargain hunters to bring you (and me) the best deals on teaching materials and supplies! Aren't you excited!? Meet Maranda! Maranda runs website called On her site she shares the best coupons and bargains for thrifty teachers like us. Welcome Maranda to the Centers and Circle Time Family!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Shameka owner of Komfy Kidz Playhouse

When I first began my career in Early Childhood Education, I was a Family Childcare Provider. A Family Childcare Provider provides care for children in their home. My days were filled with learning activities, snacks, home cooked lunches, trips to the library and the park. After our third year in business I decided I wanted to go back to school and learn some more! I didn't return to Family Childcare instead I began teaching in Centers. A great deal of my Facebook friends and Fans are Family Childcare Providers and the other day I got to reminisce about the good ole days while chatting it up with a super star Family Childcare Provider, Shameka who is the owner of Komfy Kids Playhouse in Atlanta, GA.

C&CT: So tell me, what made you become a Family Child Care Provider?
Komfy: I've always wanted to work with kids in some way since I was a kid myself. I didnt even know Family Child Care existed until I began attending classes to obtain my CDA back in 2005. My goal then was to become a certified Pre-K teacher. However, when I learned about the existence of Family Child Care Providers, I knew then that would be my ultimate goal. To some day open up my own in home daycare where I could create my own program."And here I am today: A Licensed, Nationally Accredited Family Daycare Home since 2007!"

C&CT: How did you choose your business name?
Komfy: When I received my papers in the mail approving me as a licensed home daycare back in February 2007, I knew right then that I wanted to use a name for my services. I asked myself what kinds of services or environment I would offer. I felt that my home would be a place where kids could be comfortable while learning inside a playful environment. So I thought Komfy Kidz Playhouse.

C&CT: What was the biggest challenge to being a FCC provider?
Komfy: The biggest challenge I believe was standing by my program policies in the very beginning.

C&CT: How does professional development fit into FCC?
Komfy: It helps to equip family child care providers with the training, knowledge, and resources needed to provide above average, quality in home care that will help prepare children for school and life.

C&CT: What agencies do FC providers have to be accountable to?
Komfy: These agencies include State Licensing, Food Program Sponsors (to help providers serve nutritious meals and snacks to children in care), Local Family and Children Services (that offers subsidized childcare assistance to families in need) and other agencies that some providers may voluntarily acquire such as the National Association for Family Child Care(NAFCC).

C&CT: What is the best part of your day?
Komfy: The best part of my day is witnessing a child portraying things he/she has learned by being apart of my program even when it is the smallest of things.

C&CT: What is the worst part of your day?
Komfy: I wouldn't say that I have a 'worst' part of day. That would mean that I have a worst day every day that I am open. I stand corrected to say that there are times when I have a not so great day which doesnt happen EVERY day.

C&CT: What do you think of parents who say FCC providers don't teach?
Komfy: I would say they are simply undereducated how children learn during their first 5 years of life. They do not know that everyday is a learning day.

C&CT: How do you separate home life from work life when work is in the home?
Komfy: I believe that most times they mesh when you're a family child care provider because we do a lot of things that is normally done in my home on a regular basis. The thing that is separated the most would be the paperwork and my own family's personal space such as the bedrooms. I don't mind sharing my living room or open spaces. However, in order to separate the two on non-business days or non-business hours, I try to leave the daycare part out of my day and tend to family affairs only.

C&CT: I hear you may be starting a blog soon? Is that true and if so can you share some details with my readers?
Komfy: Yes, and I am so excited to do so! I have lots to write about and share. I've had so many ideas and topics floating around in my head and now I get to let those ideas out through my very own blog! In my blog, you will find snapshots or should I say 'little sticky notes' about my life as a mom and home daycare provider. There will be lots of posts related to the crafts we do at home, science projects, outdoor play, ideas for childcare providers, preschool learning, and more.

C&CT: Do you have a name and address for this new blog?
Komfy: As a matter of fact, it's "My little Sticky Notes" and the blog address is

C&CT: What would you like to tell others that are considering FCC?
Komfy: Do it! LOL! But be educated about it. Know the rules and regulations set forth by YOUR states licensing agency. Take advantage of resources that are out their specifically for family child care providers. And most of all, NETWORK! I cannot stress that last part enough. Having the support, advice, etc. from another family child care provider can be very beneficial. Not to mention to be able to relate to someone of the same field.

Thank you Shameka for opening your home and heart to parents looking for a comfortable place to educate their children. We love receiving your posts on Facebook and look forward to your new blog.

Your Friend,

Atlanta, GA

For more information on starting your own Family Childcare Business, check out the resources below.

We Are Not Babysitters: Family Childcare Providers Redefine Work and Care   How to Start a Home-Based Day-Care Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)Family Child Care Contracts and Policies, Third Edition: How to Be Businesslike in a Caring Profession (Redleaf Press Business Series)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preschool Oatmeal Box Craft

I've always seen projects using oatmeal containers. Teachers usually make drums for toddlers, Easter baskets, Halloween baskets, Valentines collectors and so much more! My family rarely eats enough oatmeal that  I can take advantage of these awesome projects. But yesterday, after making breakfast, to my surprise there was no more oatmeal! Oh boy! I couldn't wait to pull out craft supplies and decorate that treasured container. Here's what I did...

First, I shook out all the loose bits of remaining oatmeal, and admired the container upright. 
Yes, it is a preschool teachers treasure.

Next, I found some pretty wrapping paper that one of my kids received on a birthday present last year. We had folded it nicely and stored it with our scrap booking supplies. It wasn't in the best shape for this project but I figured I could make it work.

There was left-over paper gathered at the top, I folded it gently inside the top of the container.

Then, I pulled out the felt. I used it to cut out a circle bigger than the circumference of the container top and secured the felt on the top with my hot glue gun. 

Last, I took put a ribbon around the entire top and tied it neatly in a bow. 

How fabulous! 

Didn't you just love this?
Here are more awesome oatmeal container projects. 

Check out this drum featured on 

And this nature can by Anna Satler on DIY life. It's perfect for collecting rocks, leaves, flowers and maybe even 
creeping, crawling, creatures. 

And who wouldn't fall in love with this adorable Valentiene Mailbox box? 
You can find this on the

Sure, Halloween is a long ways away, that means you can start collecting 
now to make this precious pumpkin turned jack-o-lantern. 
See Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish for instructions.

And I couldn't forget the most wonderful time of the year! Here's 
a oatmeal container craft guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit. 
See how Mary Ann makes gift containers from the recycling bin!

Happy Crafting

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