Here we sit together as a group to talk about our day or the current theme we are studying. We may read a book, sing a song, discuss the calendar and weather and/or practice a new manipulative or math skill.
Play is the work of childhood. During choice time, the children work at what they are most interested in. We have a variety of toys and activities to choose from including Montessori inspired work trays for children to practice practical life skills such as pouring, sorting, dressing, stacking, and folding. I work with each child to extend their learning and help them develop and lengthen their focus and attention. We learn to respect each other’s work and not take or touch another child’s work without their permission. We learn to treat materials respectfully and return them when we are finished playing with them. As I observe the children I continuously change and add to the available activities based on their interest and skill level.
Families take turns preparing snack for the class for the whole week so that we can all sit together and share food while practicing table manners, engaging in conversation, and trying new foods. The children learn how to set the table, serve themselves, and wash their own dishes.
This is a very important time of our day! We aim to spend as much time outside as possible to connect with the natural world and explore using all our senses. Our natural playground is continually transforming and new features are added all the time. We have plenty of rocks for building and balancing on, mud, trucks, grass, tree stumps for climbing, rings and rope for hanging from, a hill to climb, insects to find, flowers to grow and gardens for planting. It is a fun space to play in, explore, and get our hands dirty!
This is the time for whole group lessons involving cooking, science exploration, music, and art. The activities are integrated into each month’s theme(s) and have connections to books we are reading. They are intended to help children make use of all of their senses, encourage curiosity and develop language and motor skills,
- For music and movement we dance, since and use a variety of West African instruments to develop rhythm in addition to using scarves and ribbon wands when we move our bodies.
- In arts and crafts we paint, glue, cut, draw, build, mold, and more using a wide variety of materials and textures to explore our senses and create beautiful things. Sometimes there is a product to take home and sometimes it is simply about the process.
- In science we focus on asking questions and making observations and hypothesis as we investigate physical and chemical changes, simple machines, our bodies, and the natural world.
- In Spanish we sing songs, read books, and play games that allow us to hear and practice using common Spanish words based on our monthly theme.
- In yoga we practice mindfulness by noticing our breathing, using our muscles, and learning new poses on our yoga mats.
- Twice a month we take a trip down the street to Circus Culture to run, jump, balance, and use all the fun props.
During our day the children play, learn and socialize with the group. We work together to develop a community that is kind, comfortable, and engaging. Our class grows together by practicing good manners, open-mindedness, executive functioning skills (following directions, controlling impulses, focusing, being patient, paying attention, and taking turns), curiosity, and an awareness of how their actions affect others. We read books and have discussions that help us understand and achieve these character skills. Practicing them daily at school and at home help the skills become second nature. It is our responsibility as teachers and parents to model them and offer gentle reminders to keep our children on track.