A DAY IN THE LIFE...
To ease the transition from home to school, we work with families to create a warm and consistent routine that children can depend on. Upon arrival, children are welcomed into their classroom and are encouraged to hang up their belongings in their cubbies, change into their indoor shoes, and wash hands before they begin their day. As they prepare to say goodbye to their caregivers, children greet friends and make their own play choices to start the morning. Early math and literacy is incorporated into arrival activities, such as a question of the day, a sign-in chart to see which friends have arrived, a counting game, or an estimation jar.
WELCOME & Provocations
Children begin their day by engaging in a variety of evolving provocations, carefully curated by their teachers to introduce or expand upon new concepts and experiences. Morning activities are designed to provide inquiry and experimentation, and focus on math, science, literacy, and/or sensory based art. Examples might include a station setup to magnify leaves, loose parts, mirrors to observe symmetry and pattern, or a station examining, counting and sorting rocks and natural materials. Teachers engage and observe, making note of the children's interactions and discoveries.
Prompted by sound or song, children gather to welcome one another as we discuss our ideas and intentions for the day as a community. We see which friends are present, engage in greeting games, discuss feelings of the morning, and establish a sense of belonging and regard for one another. Teachers often read aloud a story that either relates to or introduces a topic of exploration for the day, leading the group in conversations that may provoke thoughts and ideas for a project to explore in the coming days and weeks.
Outdoor LEARNING AND ACTIVE PLAY
Fresh air and exercise are an important and cherished part of our daily routine, and a growing body of research supports the importance of outside time for young children. Children will embark on daily outdoor walks to the open green spaces and playgrounds of the Southwest Corridor (across from Stony Brook T Stop). Through group games and activities, guided explorations, and open play, children will develop gross motor skills, while making key observations and connections to nature, and social connections to one another.
In case of inclement weather, each classroom will have time in our dedicated gym area for active, indoor play, where children can engage in obstacle courses, yoga, parachute play, dance, and other group movement games and activities.
Snack and Mealtime
Snack and lunch times are centering opportunities within our day, as children come together as a community. Here they practice table manners and conversational skills, as they often reflect upon their daily learning and experiences. Mealtime brings us an opportunity to make observations and connections to the foods that the children are eating, presenting an opportunity to learn about healthy food choices, nourishment, where food comes from, and what variations of foods we might experience from family to family depending on our cultures. We are a peanut and tree nut free space, and are diligent about working with parents to advocate for children with different dietary needs and choices.
Children are encouraged to learn how to open and close their lunch bags and containers, dispose or recycle trash, and help with the task of cleaning up and assembling their belongings. They learn and practice hand washing and tooth brushing skills as a daily party of their mealtime routine.
Songs and storytelling
Singing, reading, listening, and storytelling, are important threads throughout our day as these activities help children transition from area to area, to understand new concepts, to connect ideas, and to express what they are thinking about. Songs and stories introduce basic literacy concepts, and also help us explore topics like feelings, differences and similarities, nature and seasons, and taking care of ourselves and each other. Storytelling, whether through paint, drawing, puppets, acting, play or conversation, allows us put into practice social-emotional skills of communication, sharing, collaboration, empathy, self confidence, and understanding of other views.
Planning AND IDEA SHARING
Planning and idea sharing can happen as a full group, smaller group, or with individuals, as teachers work with children to create curriculum based upon their interests. Collaboratively, they work together to revisit their observations, questions, hypotheses, and consider artistic, scientific, or creative avenues to learn more. Teachers often introduce materials, language or concepts that children may use to further their inquiries.
Projects and Sensory Play
Teachers are thoughtful facilitators and avid listeners. They create opportunities, often alongside the children, for experiments that can further investigation and understanding of concepts. Sensory bins, light and shadow materials, work with clay, sand, water, paint, natural and other sensory materials serve as a medium for their inquiries, learning, and play. Teachers help guide, observe, document, and encourage children to make, test, and reflect on their theories and outcomes.
Rest AND RELAXATION
Each class allows daily time that is dedicated to a restful period for relaxing the body. Children who are still napping, will likely snuggle onto a cot with their own blanket and settle down for a short rest. Children who do not desire a nap, will be encouraged to join in listening to soft or classical music, do yoga, listen to or read storybooks, or engage in quiet play with puzzles and other fine motor activities.