Below is an outline of a typical preschool day. The duration and complexity of each activity would depend on the day and on whether it is a 2-hour class for 3-year-olds or a 3-hour class for 4-year-olds. Our program grows with your child, so 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds will have the same monthly themes and general class structure, but specific daily activities are quite different in the two age groups.
Students hang their backpacks in their cubbies, put on their indoor shoes, and wash their hands.
The teacher will have various projects, games, and puzzles prepared at the tables, or students can choose to play at a learning centre. Learning centres are themed areas in the classroom such as the puppet theater, the trucks and trains corner, the playhouse area, the blocks and legos station, or the story corner. Table activities will include a craft project involving paint, glue, scissors, and other art supplies. Other tables may have group turn-based games involving balancing a scale, shape identification, pattern recognition, and pre-literacy skills. Table activities are designed to correspond with current themes in the classroom. For instance, in January we focus on the ocean and sea creatures, while in May we focus on the five senses. Each month also features a theme colour that is woven throughout free play activities from the color of the play-dough to showing students how to mix paints to make the theme colour.
The teacher will call the class to make a circle on the carpet in the story corner. Often the teacher will use rhymes, fingerplays, and songs to settle the group before reading a book or telling a story with felt figures or puppets. Books will be chosen each week to illuminate classroom themes and introduce new ideas. The teacher often uses a game to then dismiss students one by one to wash their hands and find their snack bag.
Students bring their own snacks. We encourage lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. As many families have their own food preferences, philosophies, or allergies, students are asked not to share their snacks and we ask parents not to bring in edible treats for the whole class. On scheduled Colour Days once each month, we do provide a group snack of a food that is colour of the month – usually fruits and vegetables, though we have to be creative for White Day and Black Day!
As students finish their snacks, the teacher and parent helper will ask them to clean up their place at table, put their snack bag away, and wash their hands. Depending on the plan for the day, at this point students may line up to walk down the hall to the mini-gym, or they may put on their outdoor shoes and layers. The teacher and parent helper will naturally help as needed, but students are encouraged to take responsiblity for cleaning up after themselves and getting themselves ready for the next activity.
After snack is often when we really get students moving! Depending on the weather, class may move to the mini-gym or out to the play-yards. We’ll introduce group games such as “Red Rover”, “What Time is it, Mister Wolf?”, and “Red Light – Green Light”. In Fall and Spring, we go for scavenger hunts to search for leaves, flowers, rocks, and moss. In Winter, we build a sledding hill in the yard. We may play games with balls or a parachute or hula hoops.
On some days, Ms. Sue will come to teach music class in the mini-gym and have everyone dancing or acting out her lyrics. Once each month from January on, we get on the school bus and go to the library. The first school bus ride is often a favorite event.
Once again like at the beginning of class, students will be asked to chose their own activity from the options the teacher has prepared. Movement time is usually quite teacher-directed, with many group games, so after the transition back to the classroom (from the gym or the yard), free play allows students to settle into the classroom once more. Before the final Circle Time, students will also be asked to sing the clean up song as they put toys and projects away for the day.
The teacher will end the day with another circle in the story corner, usually with more songs and fingerplays, and certainly with another storybook or two. The main themes wil be touched on again and questions asked and answered. The class will sing a thank you song to the parent helper of the day, and say goodbye until next time.
Many days follow the above routine, but we are very flexible to accomodate special events. We welcome community visitors such as the RCMP, Kananaskis Environmental Educators, nutritionists, veterinarians, fire fighters, etc. We schedule special days for cross country skiing and other activities. We prepare for special celebrations, particularly Mother’s Day, for which the students spend several weeks preparing – learning songs, making presents, and setting up for the party!