Full-Time/Part-Time Children: Morning
7:30am: Full-time/Part-time children begin arriving. Upon arrival, they greet one another and me, greetings are returned, and then remove shoes and outerwear and wash hands. Children begin doing their work until breakfast. Remember–the real work of a child is play! Perhaps they’re concentrating on building a birdhouse using photo instructions on the workbench, painting at the easel, or working a puzzle. Maybe they’re playing with dolls or dressing up. Just before 8, I remind everyone to check our Job Chart. Everyone will pick up and put away whatever they’ve gotten out, and then go to the chart. There, we will find out who is our Table Washer. That person will get our wash cloth and clean the table.
8am: After, hands will be washed again and breakfast will be served. Our Table Tender will set the table. Our Water Pourer will do their job. We will take turns eating family style, serving ourselves. The children eat nicely and politely, trying many different foods and using their utensils, open cups, and reusable napkins as early as a year old. After breakfast, our Table Tender will make sure children remove their plates from the table, scrape food into the trash can neatly, place plates and silverware in the sink, and place cups neatly on the counter. Our Table Washer will wash the table, and all children will wash hands. Our Chair Washer will wipe down all chairs, and our Floor Spotter will make sure our floor is free of food debris. By the third week of care, children 2+ (and earlier if parents desire) will begin brushing teeth after each meal as well as washing hands.
Playschool Morning Session Arrival
8:30am: The children have some time after breakfast for free play. They go off to do their very important work! In a classroom of 6 children, 6 different activities can be going on at one time. This leaves every child with the opportunity to choose an activity they are interested in and work with that activity for as long as they want to. Children are given the opportunity to develop concentration, order, cooperation, independence and a love of exploration. During this time the teacher in the classroom (called a Guide) is giving individual or small group lessons and observing what children are choosing. Generally, at the end of the morning the class comes together in a gathering. During gathering the class will sing songs, talk about the weather and calendar and do/talk about projects important to the entire group.
9am: Time to go outside! Before we go outside, we all must clean up our areas, put away anything we’ve gotten out, and use the restroom. Children put on appropriate footwear and outerwear including sunscreen. We review safety rules. And then, it’s off to the races! We have a variety of bikes, scooters, climbers, slides, and even a kid-safe rollercoaster. There’s so much to do. What do so many love to do, though? Play in the mud kitchen, of course!
10am: Everyone is famished! It’s time for snack! Sometimes, we have snack outside. It depends on temperament and weather. Either way, we wash hands and assemble snack. Much like breakfast, we check our Job Chart and do our Practical Life activities like washing the table, pouring the water, etc. We assemble and eat our snack.
10:30am: Fine motor time! I have a variety of fun fine-motor activities kids love. Legos are always a hit. And, if kids don’t want to do FMA, that’s okay–we can try something else. No pressure! It’s really about being self-guided.
11am: Literacy and Language: Who doesn’t love a good book! It’s time to read. I read a book aloud and ask questions as we go along. I’ll start with the cover and ask where I’ll find the author and illustrator’s name. I’ll ask the children to infer what the story will tell based on the pictures on the cover. Then, I ask the very same questions as we go through the book before we read. “What do you think will happen here based on this picture? Why do you think that? Why do you think this won’t happen instead?”
Dismissal for Playschool-Morning Session
11:30am: Lunchtime! Just like breakfast and snack, we check our job chart and see what our responsibilities are. And then…we eat!
12pm-2pm: Naptime…glorious naptime. Usually! Infants (under 1 year) nap in playpens as needed. Older children nap on mats. Naps are not required but quiet time is. Children lie down quietly and calmly so their bodies can rest. I play soft music with blinds and curtains closed.
Playschool Afternoon Session Arrival
2:30pm: Naptime is over, it’s snacktime, and our afternoon friends are here! Yippee! Let’s check the schedule and see what our jobs are. Has anything changed?! What are we having for snack? Boy, we eat a lot! Practical Life activities are a HUGE part of what we do here, too, and they really help set us up for success 🙂
3pm: Child’s choice. This is just like what they do at 8:30am, and I’m available as the Guide and I’ll do a gathering as well.
3:30pm: Outside! It’s time to go back outside! Yay! I think everyone loves this time of day 🙂 (on days we can’t go outside due to extreme inclement weather, we do LOTS of gross motor activities inside!) We follow the same routine as we do at 9am.
4:30pm: Process art. What’s that? Well, it’s really all about the process, not about the product. This means our art will have no step-by-step instructions, no sample for children to follow, no right or wrong way to explore and create. It is focused on the experience and on exploration of techniques, tools, and materials. The art is unique, original, and entirely the child’s own. The experience is relaxing or calming, and the art experience is a child’s choice. They get to do whatever they what, however they want, and for as long as they want…well, until closing time it is! I mean, they don’t have to go home but they can’t stay here!