The daily rhythm of the center will vary depending upon the age and interests of the children. However, there is a structure designed at both of our campuses that will give teachers a guide to this daily rhythm to ensure a balanced and varied program for children, and compatible sharing of space by alternate class groups.
7:00 Open (Table/Floor Activities)
The teacher will greet children and parents and children will help open the school and choose activities, greet/feed pets, etc. Teacher will prepare breakfast, sometimes with the children’s assistance, whenever safe and possible. They may crack eggs, flip pancakes or help with scrambling. All breakfasts consist of at least three food groups.
During breakfast, children will serve, pour and pass food to others at the table, and of course hand wash before and after. After breakfast and clean up the children will have some outdoor play time.
8:30 Outdoor Play
The entire yard is available for running, digging, discovering and even individual spaces for playing alone. There are opportunities for gross motor skills like balance beams, slides and steps as well as natural play areas in gravel, sand, grass and rocks. There is a large patio with space for chalk play, a mirror wall, sound garden or banging post and naturally scented sensory garden to enjoy and explore.
9:00 Morning Greeting
All of the children and teachers will meet briefly as an orientation to the whole day with the whole school. This is a great chance to announce if there is a new child, a substitute teacher or even a large mud puddle! In this way children are a part of the mechanics of school and not surprised by sudden changes.
9:05 Circle Time
Children will be divided into small groups, their classes based on what is developmentally appropriate by age and level of understanding. Circle Time consists of language development, concept introduction and academic concepts. Circle Time also is when children practice daily routines such as ‘checking in’ (roll call), and practicing calendar concepts. Our teachers use Circle Boxes to introduce the theme to the children in hands-on interactive ways. Circle Time will be filled with songs, finger plays, stories and lots of conversation. Two year olds will have diaper checks at this time.
9:30 Focus/ Outdoor Play
Each class group will have a Focus activity that hones-in on one particular skill, each day. The activity will be fun and engaging to the children and varied. The teacher will balance Focus activities throughout the week to make certain all areas of development are in focus. Skills will be wide and varied, from topics like: alphabet recognition to gross motor skills, from fine motor, eye hand coordination to following directions or leadership skills.
Snack will always begin with hand washing. Snacks are prepared in some cases in front of the children so they benefit from learning the methods and terminology of the food they are eating: the peel, the core, the rind, seeds, pits, etc. Children will pass food and beverages, use utensils to serve themselves and clean up their space when finished.
10:15 Social Play and Morning Art
Our rooms are designed for centered-choices, i.e. blocks and building, reading, playhouse, puzzles, etc. Teachers will enrich the environment at times with theme-related activities to keep the space new and interesting. In the older classrooms a writing center is available to children to help them develop pencil holding skills, in the younger classroom softer blocks, more rounded materials and more floor space for their younger developmental needs.
Morning art will be offered to all children, they will be encouraged but never forced to participate. Most of our art activities are exploration of materials with little guidance and never using a right/wrong model. Although we make attempts to keep children clean throughout the day, art substances will be on their clothing and parents should prepare to dress children in play clothes so they are comfortable to freely discover their inner artist.
11:15 Outdoor Play
Another opportunity for outdoor play to break up the indoor/outdoor experience. Children who are in diapers will be checked and changed at this time.
The center will join all teachers and all children for this last program time. This is the perfect wrap up to our morning preschool program filled with joy and fun, dance and music.
Lunch is served and children will again be a part of the passing, pouring and serving in family-style eating. Our lunches are made on site from whole foods with as little processing as we can manage. We try to incorporate our own herbs into the foods so children can experience growing to eating. Our lunches are more like dinner. A hot main dish, side dish carbohydrate, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit accompanied by a beverage, usually milk.
2:30 Wake Up/Warm Up
As children awaken from nap, we have a gentle period that allows them to wake up at their own pace, use the toilet and go to the interesting table activities that teachers have provided. The lights stay dim during this time so that napping children can wake up gently. Teachers will put away mats and assist children as needed with shoes and clothing
Another healthy and balanced snack and beverage is offered.
3:30 Outdoor Play
Creative Discovery may be in or outdoors. We are so fortunate to have our choice of indoor and outdoor spaces for this art/science guided activity. From painting to planting, Creative Discovery is a wonderful component to the afternoon line up.
3:40-4:15 Afternoon Carousel
“Move It!” – “Mix It/Mess It!” – “Do It!”
In the afternoon program Carousel makes for an exciting and interesting program with a mixed age group PM program as energies typically have fallen, Carousel lifts spirits and focuses waning attention. We strive very hard at Caring Connection to provide more that ‘just day care’. We want children to be interested, learning and wondering through the entire day.
4:30 Story Break
As we wind down for the day, an afternoon story break offers a chance to soften the pace of the day, use the toilet and provide final diaper checks.
An evening snack is offered to children who stay the whole day. We can provide that snack ‘to go’ for parents who are in a hurry. This snack is not required by law and we make it a light snack, so as not to spoil dinnertime appetites.
5:30 Table Activities
The end of the day is a mirror to the morning. Children of multiple ages are combined as teachers clean the center and children help put their school environment in order.
6:00 Group Games or Individualized Activities
Teachers may lead a small group of organized games, songs or activities or set children up with individual activities to keep the end of the day as interesting as the beginning of the day.
Questions about Caring Connection’s Daily Rhythm, contact us or stop by for a visit.
Learn more about Enlightened Discipline
Author Julie Jenkins insists that we say goodbye to the naughty mat and call “time out” on timeouts. Leave all those old-school techniques behind. This is the manual for teaching the foundations on self-discipline, common sense and self-respect to young children. Written for every teacher in the early childhood field and every parent with young children.