Children are arriving with their parents. Some are
having a hard time separating and others are giving a quick kiss and waving goodbye to
their parents. As children
come into the classroom they will
help with preparing the classroom by folding towels or cloths that have been
drying from the previous day, feeding animals, or watering plants. Some will
immediately begin choosing lessons to work with, while others may socialize
quietly with friends. Some children will be putting their nap things away.
Others might be preparing snack.
Before the children arrive, the adults have prepared
by getting supplies ready for snacks, putting the correct food out for the
classroom animals, wetting the sponges in all the lessons that have them,
stocking paper and art supplies, preparing the markers that indicate which
plants need water, preparing the calendar, straightening any lessons that are
in disarray and assuring that the room is clean.
During this transition time, teachers will be
helping children and parents feel comfortable with farewells. They will be
supporting the children who are not yet independent with changing out of shoes
and/or jackets, while encouraging parents to allow children to develop
independence. Teachers will help parents with the separation, too. Sometimes
children are more ready to separate than their parents are, so it is important
for parents to limit the time they spend during the farewell process to allow
their children to develop independence. Parents might be exchanging information
about special circumstances that their children have experienced that need to
be taken into consideration.
This is the morning work
cycle. Children will be moving through periods of intense concentration with
materials they have already been presented, contemplation of their work,
presentations of new materials, quiet socializing, creative expression and
rest. Typically, there is a short period around mid-morning when many of the
children are at an ebb in their activity. The classroom noise level increases
slightly during this “period of false fatigue.” Then the children settle into
their most intense work of the morning, provided the normal work cycle is not
interrupted by a group activity. Snack is available throughout the morning so
children may choose to eat when they feel hungry and there is not a call to group
snack to interrupt the work cycle.
This morning work cycle is
also an opportunity for children to experience the satisfaction of
responsibility. They prepare their own place to eat snack and clean up
afterward. They put every lesson back in its proper place on the shelves. They
wash their own dishes after eating snack and prepare the area for the next
This morning work cycle is an intense
time for the adults in the room. They are involved in careful observation of the children to ascertain the best time to present
new lessons. They are making notations in the records of what materials have been presented and the reactions they have observed
to those presentations. They are helping to redirect children who are having difficulty feeling confident or gracious. They
are providing encouragement and guidance for those in need. They are giving new lessons and re-presenting materials to the
The adults have prepared the classroom carefully to make it possible for children to develop responsibility.
The chairs and tables are light-weight enabling the children to move them with ease. The shelves are low, allowing easy access
to materials. The materials are beautiful to encourage the children to care for them and there are often glass components
that can break if handled carelessly.
This is an important
transition time from individual activity to group activity. Transition times
can be difficult for children, so a regular familiar routine is important.
Group participation should
be voluntary, so teachers invite children individually to come to group. Those
who are in deep concentration are allowed to continue their work until its
natural conclusion. Some may not realize that a group activity has begun if
they are deeply involved with their own activity.
Children have the chance to
learn etiquette for group situations. This includes keeping one’s hands to
oneself, listening and talking when appropriate and taking turns. During group
activities there may be singing, listening to books, finger plays or other
group instruction. In many schools children review the days of the week and
month by finding the current date on a calendar. Numeration may be reinforced
by counting the number children present
Before group begins, the
teachers must be prepared for the activities they will present. If there are
any birthdays among the children, the teachers must be prepared to acknowledge
them in the way the school has decided. Many schools have a “walk around the
sun” ritual to signify the number of years of the child’s life. The sun is
represented by a candle that the child blows out upon completing the number of
revolutions around the sun representing the life so far.
Children will experience
another transition as they prepare to go outside. If they have been wearing
slippers inside, they will be putting on their shoes as well as jackets and
other outer wear depending on the weather. Older children may help younger
ones, and teachers are also available to offer assistance when needed.
Some of the more responsible
children, typically kindergarten aged, will stay behind for a few minutes to
help prepare the classroom for lunch. Teachers will help organize this process.
11:30 – 12:00
Children will be
participating in outdoor recreation.
The older children and
teachers prepare the classroom for lunch by setting out the placemats, plates,
glasses, napkins, and silverware. They bring the lunch boxes to the appropriate
places at the table. Children are proud to have reached the level of responsibility
that allows them to help in this important way. They join their younger
classmates in a few minutes. While they are outside, the teachers will prepare
part of the room for naps by laying out the mats and preparing the blankets or
whatever items the children have brought from home to ease them into a restful
Some children go home at
the end of the morning recreation time. Others return to the classroom for
lunch. This will involve another transition of changing into indoor wear and
Teachers bring the last of
the lunch necessities to the table including anything that has been
refrigerated, such as pitchers of milk and water.
12:00 noon until finished.
Lunchtime is a valuable time for children. They sit
peers and teachers in quiet conversation. Some of the children provide the
first serving of milk to their friend and teachers. As more milk is needed they
ask for it to be passed to them. After
eating, children will scrape and stack
their dishes, use table crumbers to clean their placemats, wipe the placemats,
sweep the floor under their place and generally ready the classroom for the
afternoon. Those who are young enough to take naps will use the restroom and
settle down on the mats, which are placed in a regular spot to help children
Teachers sit among the children to model manners and
meal procedures. Once children are finished with lunch teachers also lend
guidance for the cleanup routines.
After lunch a teacher will finish washing
dishes so they are ready for the next day.
Younger children are
resting until they awaken, while the kindergarten children have an extended day
of learning including lessons that may be difficult to set up during the morning
when more children are present. Children who have been napping put their mats
away and use the restroom when they get up. Then they may choose lessons and
continue with a short work cycle in the afternoon. They learn to respect the
need for quiet while others are still sleeping.
Teachers may also use this
time to teach some of the more advanced math and language lessons to
The children help
straighten the room for the next day. By taking responsibility for their
environment they gain a better sense of ownership.
Teachers participate in
this tidying activity to help model the behavior and guide the children.
Children prepare to go home
by gathering their things and changing into their outerwear. While waiting for parent
to arrive they play games that help them develop numeration, grammar, or
general language skills.
Teachers will assure that
appropriate notes and communications go home with the children. They say
farewells warmly and wish the children and their families a wonderful