Our days together at Apple House are planned with care for the young child. Our daily rhythm, daily work, free play, outdoor play, kitchen work, songs, puppet plays, crafting, storytelling, and personal friendships lead the way in our days here.
Daily Rhythm: We believe in having a rhythm each day, which helps the children know what comes next. There are times when special events take place like a birthday celebration or a visitor, but generally each day of the week is the same and this daily rhythm encourages a feeling of safety in the children.
Daily Work: At Apple House we encourage the children to join us in our daily work so they feel part of their school. As a mixed-age day care, we enjoy creating daily work for each age. While the one-year-olds can help sweep the floor (or at least hold the broom and try to imitate the older ones) the two-year-olds find excitement in washing the windows and cleaning the table. Our three-year-olds help our younger ones with putting on shoes or sweeping the porch. As the children grow older they can soon do new tasks, which is exciting for them. Imitation is the work of the young child. We often say, “we can’t do this without you.” The Apple House child feels valued for their place in the bunch.
Free Play: The children are free to play and explore.We believe that a small amounts of toys make active children so you will not find a house full of multi-colored toys that make noise and entertain children. We have many toys to explore. We have wooden toys, trains, our kitchen set, cradles, felt balls and rocking horses. The children use their imaginations freely. Our dress-up materials, dollhouse, and blocks are always open to play with.
Outdoor Work/ Play: We spend a good portion of our day outdoors, no matter the season. In warmer months between gardening and our sand area play, as well as time in the forest, we spend most of our day outdoors. We visit the forest a few times a week and it is a very special part of our program. Our outside table gets lots of use when we move eating, cooking, and crafting outdoors. We are committed to at least 3 hours + a day outdoors in the warmer months and at least 3o min-1 hour a day in the winter months. In cases of frigid cold we will break our commitment to this temporarily, as the children’s safety is always our top priority.
Songs, Puppet Play, and Storytelling: We spend time each day singing songs and listening to stories. Our director and head teacher are active storytellers. The children are always hearing little stories about nature, the seasons, even stories to help resolve conflict. We also have plenty of books that we read throughout the day here at Apple House.
Crafting: Our crafts are simple and sweet. We offer crayons, watercolor wet-on-wet painting, chalk, glue, and many other materials. Our crafts are also seasonal. For example: we might do clay in the summer, egg painting in the spring, and candle dipping in the winter. Cooking with friends at Apple House often serves as a daily craft—the children enjoy cooking muffins and taking them home as a treat. We often make fruit salads together in the summer, and butter from cream in the winter.
Personal Friendships: Children here at Apple House teach each other through their friendships many life skills. It’s truly wonderful to watch them teach each other. Creating the space for older children to help and nurture younger children is important, and to allow younger children to copy and look up to the older children. Here at Apple House the adult is not the only model—we are a daytime family with much to teach each other, young and old.