About

ABOUT RAINY DAY PREK:

Rainy Day PreK  is a source for fun and educational activities for preschoolers and their caregivers, parents and teachers.

When it’s raining outside ( and even when it’s not!) and you are looking for something to keep the kids busy and entertained check out this site for ideas.   You will find  fun activities for 2 – 3 and 4  year olds as well as 5 – 7  year olds,  abc kids games, art for preschoolers, songs and dances, multicultural lessons plans, recommended reading  and more!

Hi, I am Gail Leopold, a former family daycare /preschool owner.  I like to help early childhood caregivers, teachers and parents with developmental issues and educational activities for the preschool set.

Have you ever had challenges and frustrations while working with toddlers and preschoolers and their families in the areas of curriculum and activity planning or behavioral problems or making it work financially??? Me too!  I understand completely.

It’s not like children come with a ‘paint-by-numbers’ instruction booklet and everything will go smoothly! No, completely the opposite is true.  Working with young children can be both rewarding and still present many challenges.  The unpredictability and impulsivity of young children can cause you great stress when you are unprepared to handle it.  The key is to have structure and balance but most importantly – patience and flexibility.

For 13 years, I ran a daycare/preschool for local families – Curiosity Corner Daycare – in my neighborhood because I wanted to work at home when my son was born.  I basically started a babysitting/daycare service when he was 6 months old with no real idea about early childhood education (this was pre-internet in the late 80’s so I had no help in that area!). I was just going on my new ‘mommy instincts’.   I knew children required love and security, food, naps and playthings – and frequent diaper changes! But I didn’t know anything about early childhood development and the importance of those first years in the life of a child – just like every new mother – so I learned fast and furiously.

There was a real need for quality childcare in my neighborhood.  My little babysitting service idea quickly grew into a real business that I loved more and more each year.  Since my daycare was registered with the State of NJ, I was required to attend trainings each month.  That is where my eyes were opened and I began to learn about early childhood development and education.  The more I learned the more I wanted to learn.  I was hooked!  I attended the trainings and seminars and took courses at my local community college and decided that I wanted to be more professional in my business.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I began using formal curriculums programs, set up a real business (that means paying income taxes!) and set up the environment for real learning.

What did I learn? Well, first I realized that having 6-8 preschoolers with no structure was madness! I was confused and overwhelmed and thought to myself ‘I must be crazy!’ There were babies crying, juice spilling, potty accidents, toddlers grabbing and general chaos ensued in the beginning as I learned how to handle all of this and much more.  I learned to get over the overwhelm! I learned what ‘to expect’ before it happened and I truly believe that was the key to stress relief. Learning even the basics of child development will take you a long way in accepting the unexpected, and understanding the way children learn and grow.

The children taught me what they needed and I taught them what I needed and it really did work – we became a team! We created a system and everybody was happy, most of the time – especially the parents of my little charges.


So, I want to share with you some of the tips, ideas, mistakes, stories and best practices for working with young children that will help your time with them be happy and productive and satisfying.  My focus with the Rainy Day PreK Blog is on activities for preschoolers and younger children.  I realized that planning activities was the main area where I needed help in the beginning of my preschool journey.  I could feed 6 kids and change diapers and read naptime stories and take them all to the playground and multi-task 6 things at once (as you do, too!) but coming up with the ideas for fun and educational  learning activities was the real newbie challenge for me. The first year was the toughest year but after that I got into a routine with structure and a healthy amount of flexibility and everything became FUN !  Preschool was a blast for the kids and for me!

I believe that young children are the key to the future.  The preschool age is one that is full of wonder and curiosity and great promise.  The brain of a young child develops the most during the first five years of life and that is why it’s so  important to nourish it with a variety of stimulating learning activities and hands-on life experiences.

Preschoolers will always hold a special place in my heart!

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy visiting Rainy Day PreK and welcome all your ideas to share with everyone !

Partners in Early Childhood Education,

Gail Leopold

 

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