I am an Illinois certified early childhood educator (type 04). I have taught preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. I left classroom teaching and opened my own family childcare business 18 years ago. During that time, all but one have come into my care as infants or toddlers and most have left when they entered kindergarten or first grade. The fact that parents are consistently happy with the care their child receives year after year is my best advertisement.
The children in my care learn through hands-on, playful, language based activities. The curriculum I use is one I've developed over the years with elements of Creative Curriculum, Growing Up Wild, Illinois Early Learning Standards, my own experience, and the interests and learning styles of the children in my care at any given time. My own interest in the outdoor world influences our time together as well. For example, we raise monarchs in the summer and tap maple trees in the spring.
I also lead a local family childcare association, an on the citizen's advisory council at Harper College, teach classes there on occasion, and am on the board of Big Barn Preschool.
Outings are part of my program, so parents have to be agreeable to children traveling short distances with me. We also have a cat who is a beloved member of our group.