We start by embracing the natural curiosity the children have for the world with the understanding that their motivation finds its own rhythmic ebb and flow. We believe learning comes naturally when enjoyment is the goal, so we make sure to bring flexibility and freedom with us to the classroom. At times, we invite the children to follow our example but understand that they grow and develop even when they strike out on their own unbeaten paths. There is so much to learn!
With that said, the descriptions below provide a loose framework for the kinds of invitations the children receive each day.
At Circle Time, we invite the children to talk together in a larger group about a range of topics including the calendar, the Letter of the Week, our thematic activities, and all of those special “teachable moments”, like “Where do rainbows come from?”. It’s also a chance to sing our favorite songs and share a story or two. The children practice listening, taking turns and being patient with one another while being exposed to the larger world through words and pictures.
During Activity Time we are looking to get the children up off the carpet and out in the classroom experiencing hands-on activities that stimulate their intellect and fine-tune their motor skills. They might search the classroom for objects that begin with the Letter of the Week, or create one-of-a kind works of art, or elect to work independently with the manipulatives at one of our “Montessori” stations. Older children might explore the written word through “inventive” spelling exercises, develop their own Letter of the Week book, or assist in a science-based thematic activity. The different ages and abilities benefit from a differentiated curriculum that challenges each individual to grow and develop.
Outdoor Exploration takes the children into the backyard where they can run around and make use of a variety of outdoor equipment. The children enjoy a large sandbox, balance beams, a basketball hoop, a water table, tricycles and balance bikes, and two recently added garden planters where the children help plant, maintain and grow our Sprout House fruits and vegetables.
Finally, Free Play invites the children to make use of the numerous ‘loose parts’ they find throughout the classroom in whatever creative way they choose. From play dough to train tracks, legos to art supplies, they are sure to find something that tickles their imagination.
Through it all, a spirit of enjoyment remains the highest priority. When the children return home feeling loved and accepted, having enjoyed their experience, then the time was truly well spent.