During any holiday time/season, it is important for teachers to preserve the regular routines of the classroom.
Holidays should have the same significance or emphasis as other subjects you explore at any time during the year. It is important for teachers to keep in mind appropriate goals for children in regard to holiday activities, discussions and celebrations:
= Brief conversations with families.
= Create a “transition into school” routine: sign in process, wash hands,saying ‘hello’ & ‘goodbye’.
= Encourage children to become engaged in the environment.
Large Group Time-(to last on average 10 minutes)
= Children and adults greet each other.
= Attendance (using different formats/different languages).
= Conduct community building activities.
= All areas of the room open.
= Inviting spaces are created each day to reflect children’s interests (resource text support).
= Problem solving occurs when children can make choices .
= Conflict resolution is a part of the learning opportunitiesTransitions.
= Prepare children for transitions-5 minute warning.
= Use a consistent and unique transition signal such as a song or bells.
= Create a system and/or routine for clean up.
= Encourage participation from all children.
= Teach children the expectations for clean-up time.
= Hand washing routine.
= Open snack to be implemented during free play or whole group snack.
= Display the menu for children’s view.
= Promote independence through self-serve/family style snacks.
= Incorporate natural singing into the schedule.
= Develop body awareness & gross motor activities.
= Incorporate the use of instruments.
= Children gather in large and small groups for story time.
= Stories are shared in a variety of venues (flannel board, puppets, props, storytelling).
Small Group Time
= Introduce and explore new activities/area of curriculum.
= Engage in conversations with children – allow children to talk in the group.
= Practice problem solving and conflict resolution skills.
= Create different groups-by age, skill levels, interests, etc.
= Observe and assess children’s skills.
= Spend time outside each day (weather permitting).
= Utilize all outdoor spaces (field, trail, and playground).
= Extend your curriculum outdoors.
= Wash hands prior to eating.
= Adults sit and eat with children.
= Provide a quiet time for eating and talking.
= Lights turned low – provide quiet background music.
= Develop a system of accountability for children at the end of the day.
= Guide the Backpack children to use the bathroom before their transition.
= Establish a dismissal routine.
= Teach children the routine.
Supportive narratives for each segment of the Daily Schedule
Each classroom will establish an arrival routine for children. A check in/sign-in station is set up creating a mechanism whereby children write or identify their name and wash their hands. This offers children immediate exposure to their name and maintains classroom cleanliness. Greeting families and having minimal conversations at arrival time is important. This shall be done while monitoring the control and safety of the classroom. Teachers may not be able to personally greet families who arrive late. When needed, extended conversations/consultations with families should be given a scheduled time.
The daily schedule may incorporate one or more large group times. Large group times shall be planned to
stay within the attention span and interest level of the group. When behaviors occur that indicate lack of interest or attention, the activity shall be stopped and the group will be transitioned to the next component of the schedule. Large group times provide opportunities for maximum participation on the part of all children. Activities implemented benefit the entire group and will enhance the community of the classroom. Large group times can be utilized to:
_ introduce the small group agenda
_ introduce a new topic for exploration (using the K-W-L method)
_ solve classroom problems and/or social conflicts
_ prepare for the day’s events
_ reflect on the day’s events
Teachers shall reflect on the success of each group time to monitor the appropriateness of the approach and the activities.
Large group meetings can be successful if they are relatively short in time, include experiences children enjoy doing together, focus on topics of current interest, and children are not forced to remain in the group.
Small group time is incorporated into the daily schedule. One small group experience is planned for each half day segment. It is understood that small group times may be interrupted by field trips, special community visitors, or evacuation drills. Group times can be as short as 10 minutes and shall be no longer than 20 minutes. Time frames for small group experiences can be modified as dictated by level of attention and interest.
Children are grouped consistently throughout the year or groupings can vary from day to day, week to week, etc. Teachers strategize grouping decisions. For example, teachers group children randomly or
according to ability, interest, or development. Small groups can gather in the classroom, the hallway, the Family Resource Room, or the Gross Motor Room.
Teachers utilize good transition practices. Visuals are incorporated as much as possible to communicate group configurations. For example, photos charts are used to display the members of the group. Photos can be adhered to Velcro for quick switching if groups configurations change frequently.
The objective for small group time is to build community and to introduce routines and concepts. At the beginning of the school year, small group times are utilized to model appropriate use of materials, share rules and expectations, and outline classroom routines such as clean up and transitions. Throughout the year activities addressing various content areas, such as science and math, can be incorporated.
Teachers utilize small group time to engage children in activities that are not chosen during free play. For example, art experiences are developed for children who avoid art experiences during free play, and block building
experiences are developed for children who avoid the block area. Small group time is a valuable forum to engage children in social role playing scenarios, such as conflict resolution. Teachers can gather observations for child assessment during small group times.
Small group activities that initiated a high level of interest are incorporated into the classroom for children to engage in during free choice times. Activities that spark a high level of interest can be built upon and incorporated into subsequent small group plans. For example, if interest is high for an experiment on ice melting, additional variables can be added to the experiment for a subsequent small group time.
Free play offers children the opportunity for a variety of comprehensive learning experiences, problem solving, social interactions, conflict resolution, construction opportunities, and dramatic play.
The daily schedule shall provide enough time for children to become engaged in high levels of productive play. It is recommended that at least 45 minutes or as much as 1 hour and 15 minutes be allotted for each free play period. Teachers are reminded to exercise flexibility.
All areas in the environment will be accessible, with a variety of choices offered through the availability of a sufficient amount of materials. For example, multiple copies of a favorite book and multiples sets of a popular manipulative will be accessible. Materials are rotated from time to time provide novelty.
A familiar material displayed with a new dimension encourages learning at a new level. For example, adding a novel item to the playdough table encourages new explorations. Likewise, adding novel figures to a set of table top blocks supports new play themes. Environments are strategically designed to provide areas for small groups to engage in constructive or dramatic play. Various activities – such as science experiments, math activities, and/or listening activities – are set up during free play periods to encourage groups or pairs of children to engage in inquiry learning opportunities. Large motor opportunities shall be offered in the environment. Lofts, ladders, large blocks, beams, and tunnels afford children the opportunity to engage in large motor experiences.
Teachers play a valuable role as facilitator and observer during free play. Teachers capitalize on teachable moments, scaffold learning, guide and mediate social interactions, and observe child development.
== Clean-up after a free play period can be overwhelming for children. Teachers can prevent cleanupapprehension by instilling an expectation for children to periodically clean up materials during free play. Guide children to clean up before moving on to another area when the disarray prevents other children from becoming engaged in play in that area.
== Create an area where children can save their ‘work.’ Encouraging the child to ‘write’ a sign for their work offers a rich literacy experience.
== Suggested Reference for designing environments for free play: Carter and Curtis.
Transitions shall be planned well. At the onset of the year, utilize your whole group or small group times to teach children what to expect at transition times. Minimize the length of time children spend waiting for the next segment of the day to start. Incorporate a way for children to be engaged while waiting fingerplays, a job task, etc.) Warnings and signals consistently incorporated initiate successful transitions.
A ‘transition warning message’ may say, “5 minutes until clean-up; that is enough time to finish what you are doing but not enough time to start something new.” Teachers will assess children to appropriately implement an individualized support and cueing system for children.
= Clean-up times are successful when teachers and children work together to accomplish the task.
= Warnings and signals consistently incorporated are essential to a transition to clean-up time.
= Establishing a consistent routine further supports a smooth transition to clean-up time, such as singing a clean-up song.
= A consistent routine at the end of clean-up time is essential as well to transition children to the next activity.
= Planning for clean-up times at the onset of the school year is essential. Early in the year and on an as needed basis, teachers utilize small and large group times to teach children the expectations for clean-up times.
= The amount of materials available to children is strategically limited in the environment the first days of school, reducing the potential clutter created during free play. Gradually, additional materials are added to the environment.
= Throughout the entire year, teachers reflectively monitor the amount of
materials offered in the environment to encourage engagement while discouraging high levels of clutter.
= The environment is strategically arranged to facilitate efficient clean-up times. Containers and shelves are clearly labeled, and sufficient space is provided for materials. Other visual cues are placed throughout the room to guide children.
= Adult participation and presence is needed throughout the entire clean-up session to assist in areas that are overwhelming for children to clean up alone. As teachers participate in clean-up, they will model the appropriate handling of materials.
= Teachers will assess children to appropriately implement an individualized support and cueing system for children who have difficulty contributing to clean-up.
Meal Times (Snack and Lunch)
= Teachers shall take advantage of the opportunities offered at meal times to help children develop healthful food habits.
= Teachers will model the attempt to try new foods.
= Water will be offered to children at all meal times as well as any portion of the day.
= Teachers will sit with children and engage in quiet conversations with children during meal times to capitalize on the potential social opportunities.
= Positive table manners such as saying Please and Thank you will be modeled.
= Teaches will utilize strategies that encourage multiple peer interactions. For example, teachers will sit children together that may not normally interact on their own.
= To maintain cleanliness and safety during mealtimes, all children will wash hands before and after each meal and will remain sitting at all times while eating.
= Teachers will model these behaviors by following
such guidelines at all times.
hands before and after cleaning tables.
= Teachers will teach children to use a mat or a fresh napkin to lay
food on during meal times. Individual mats can be created by the children with a photo of the child included.
= The mat can be laminated for continued use. Mats will be sanitized in between each use.
= Teachers will routinely monitor allergy information pertaining to the children in their classroom and Backpack.
= At the onset of the year, teachers will inform families of the allergies that exist in the room.
= Families of children with the allergy can be invited to provide the School with safe treats to be offered to the child in the event of a Birthday or other celebration.
= Teaches will serve only foods that come from the
items’ original packaging that clearly indicates the list of ingredients.
Teaches will enforce the hand washing rule at all times, ensuring that all children wash hands before and after every meal, preventing the contamination of classroom materials with potential allergens.
All snacks are provided by The Academy. Only nutritious foods will be served for snack. Sugary snacks are limited to rare special occasions.
The attempt to offer nutritious snacks on such occasions will be made.
For example, muffins can be provided as a treat instead of cupcakes. Snacks supplied by The School are peanut free.
Lunch time should be a quiet time for social interaction and healthy eating. Teachers are encouraged to dim the lighting in the room and to offer soft background music.
Teachers will encourage families to provide a nutritious lunch. Families will be provided with a list of suggested lunch items that promote healthy bodies and that are manageable for children at school.
Teachers will model good eating habits and behaviors during lunch. For example, teachers will consume healthy foods and beverages for their personal lunch (i.e. avoid drinking soda during a meal time with children).
Birthday treats will be served as a dessert after lunch. This provides a greater opportunity for families to be present in the classroom to share in the birthday celebration and prevents the consumption of sugar too
early in the day.
Music, movement and songs are important components to incorporate into the classroom schedule every day. Children should become familiar with a repertoire of songs. Tapes or CDs can be used to accompany a musical activity; however, they should not be used as the only musical opportunities available.
Exposure to the vocals of a “real” person singing allows children to experience music on a more personal level. Children are often exposed to specific concepts (fast/slow, loud/soft) during musicactivities.
Using musical terminology such as tempo, rhythm, and volume during activities allows children to develop understanding through meaningful experiences.
The focus of music activities should be explored for the pure enjoyment of music rather than focusing on the skills children learn.
During the year, teachers expose children to a variety of fingerplays. The Resource Room has several books that offer song/fingerplay ideas. Fingerplays allow children
to memorize short rhymes while using their bodies to act out a story.
Each classroom has musical instruments for children to use during free play experiences.
Teachers can rotate instruments from a selection available in the basement storage area.
A gross motor room is located off of the gym. A sign-up sheet is distributed at the beginning of the week for classes to request a specific time for their group. The room can be used for small group movement, music, or yoga activities.
It is important to plan specific activities that meet the CT Frameworks goals and objectives for creative xpression.
Reading experiences occur throughout the day. During free play, children read in one of the cozy spots in the classroom by themselves, with other children, or with an adult. Independent reading is often used as a transition activity between two sections of the day.
Books should be placed in different areas of the classroom.
Integrating books into interest areas allows children to expand their understanding of specific topics.
Children also begin to make meaningful connections.
The classroom book selection should represent a large selection of books. The books should expose children to different genres (fiction, non-fiction, rhyming, informational). Books should also representdiversity of race, generations, and family structure. Quality literature with rich story content and illustrations should dominate the classroom book selection.
Offering a large selection of books allows children choices for independent reading.
SPECIAL readers (Seniors and Preschoolers Engaging In All Learning) read books to children at least once a week. Readers bring a bag of books to read to children. They visit the same classroom each we and develop a special relationship with the children.
Story time is an intentionally planned portion of each day. Teachers choose books that relate to topics covered during the day or children’s interests. Books that allow children to participate by reciting the story text encourage involvement and listening skills. Teachers will use storytelling as a valuable Technique for engaging children in the story process.
Children can retell stories with a variety of materials. Puppets and other props related to a specific story (Three Billy Goats Gruff, Caps for Sale) are provided to extend children’s creativity and ability to tell the
Art and writing areas provide children with materials to independently create their own books.
Books can be displayed in the library area for other children to view.
Books are created by the whole group to reflect an area of interest, new concept, or reflection upon a fieldtrip experience. Illustrations may include children’s drawings or photographs.
Children may also dictate the text of the class books. The books are displayed in the library area and are often sent home with children to share with their families.
Teachers offer families opportunities to read at story time. Family members often have a special book they want to share with the class.
Children shall experience the outdoors during all four seasons at The School for Young Children.
Seasonal opportunities shall be capitalized on, such as raking and collecting leaves in autumn, shoveling and sledding in winter, and planting and observing new life in spring. The summer offers opportunities for extended gardening and nature experiences. Gardening experiences can include watering and weeding.
Teachers utilize all outdoor opportunities available at The Academy for Young Children. Such outdoor opportunities include the playground, the Nature Trail, and Taylor’s Field. In each of these outdoor opportunities, teachers shall enhance their indoor curriculum by utilizing the outdoors.
Outdoor opportunities can be brought inside the classroom, and science and nature curriculum can be expanded upon outside.
Children engage in unstructured free play experiences on the playground. Both gross motor and small motor experiences shall be made available for children. Teachers are available to facilitate play and social interactions.
Teachers plan for unstructured play by providing play materials that suggest a variety of types of play. For example, play props added to the sandbox suggest creative dramatic play.
Such materials shall be rotated from time to time. Children are given the opportunity to develop their own play and games rather than engage in teacher created games.
Teachers utilize opportunities to observe children in the areas of gross motor, fine motor, and social development. Younger children may be inhibited by the large space offered on the playground. Teachers are aware of their behavior and plan for their needs.
Quiet opportunities are also available on the playground, such as fine motor activities and gardening experiences at the bottom of the hill and dramatic
play experiences in the playhouse.
As gross motor experiences are important for children, teachers shall
strategize ways to engage these children in climbing, biking, and swinging.
Teachers play a key role in maintaining appropriate supervision and monitoring the space for safety when on the playground. Playground spaces are uniquely challenging to supervise. Teamwork among all teachers from each group on the playground at any given time is essential to maintaining comprehensive supervision of all children on the playground at all times.
Teachers shall position themselves strategically
so that all areas are visually accessible by at least one teacher. Adhering to assigned days and times for the playground helps keep supervision manageable.
(Please reference the Personnel Handbook for Standard Playground Rules.)
The Nature Trail
Teachers shall utilize the Nature Trail at least once per week. The path extends deep into the woods before circling back around. Mid-way along the trail, a shorter path gives access to the back end of Taylor’s Field. For safety, teachers and children shall remain within the borders of the trail.
The Nature Trail is a valuable way to extend the math and science curriculum. Such concepts as change, growth, life cycles, survival, and erosion can be explored on the trail.
Bug boards are strategically placed on the trail for viewing. Simply lift the board and observe the activity underneath. Children are taught to observe and recognize the change in bug activity during each season.
The trail offers valuable opportunities to engage children in various learning experiments.
Teachers utilize the Field at least one day per week, alternating with or in unison with the Trail. The Field is appropriate to use throughout the entire year. The Field can be utilized as one large open space with no equipment needed. Children are offered the opportunity to run and explore as well as to engage in searching and collecting activities.
Equipment is also available to children for gross motor experiences. Equipment is housed in the shed located on the Field. The key to the shed is accessible in the office. Teachers shall plan for gross motor activities to meet the needs of all children. For example, teachers can be strategic in planning appropriate gross motor activities for children who tend to avoid gross motor activities on the playground.
The dual gazebos located on the field can be used for snack time, story time, and music activities.
A consistent dismissal routine shall be established to maintain accountability of all children.
Congregate the group in a limited space to engage children in a directed activity (story reading, singing songs) or allow children to independently engage in a limited selection of activities (puzzles, paper and pencil activities). To maintain safety in the classroom, conversations with families should be kept short.
Each year, teachers plan to provide children with experiences and activities that reflect the current classroom community. As directed by the NAEYC standards and criteria, teachers implement curriculum in a manner that reflects responsiveness to family home values and home language as well as family beliefs, and experiences.
Teachers learn about their current families by gathering information directly from families and children.
Information learned guides decisions made when developing curriculum that reflects the lives of children and families.
As directed by the NAEYC standards and criteria, teachers shall select materials and equipment that reflect the lives of children and families as well as the diversity found in society, including gender, age, language, and abilities. Such materials are rotated as the interest and abilities of children dictate.
Celebrations and traditions are explored and shared throughout the year and not just at popular holiday times. Families are invited to share their cultural traditions with the classroom. Books, photos, materials, and other classroom props such as dolls are available in the classrooms that reflect the diversity and abilities representative of the school and larger community. When discussing diversity, gender and age
diversity is considered as well.
= During any holiday time/season, it is important for teachers to preserve the regular routines of the classroom.
= Holidays should have the same significance or emphasis as other subjects you explore at any time during the year. It is important for teachers to keep in mind appropriate goals for children in regard to holiday activities, discussions and celebrations:
– Families may celebrate the same holiday in different ways.
– Different families may celebrate different holidays.
– Not everyone celebrates every holiday.
– What my family does is valued at my school.
– We can all learn about different holidays and how they are celebrated.
-There are special feelings associated with holidays; they are more than costumes, food, decorations and parties.