This week we focused on routines in the classroom. To have an idea on our transitions and how our schedule looks this is how it's run down.
1. Good morning! We come in, spend a few minutes with mom/dad/caregiver. Although the anticipation is there and they may be exhibiting signs of their special person departing, it's great to set up a quick and easy routine that lets them know it's time to stay at school. Examples: Read a book or play with your child in an activity. Give them notice that once you are finished reading or playing with them that you will have to say goodbye.
2. Engage in open provocations. After saying goodbye to our special person, a teacher will try different tactics that will help keep your child interested. Once he/she is comfortable they begin to navigate the classroom to get an idea on what to play with. In the mornings we set up what is called provocations. These are centers that are set up in a certain way to see if it catches their attention. It may or may not work, and that is okay. The idea is that if it does keep them engaged then we can add on more classroom items or feel out what they want as part of their experience through their play (since most are not verbal yet).
3. Snack time. Once we are finished with provocations, we then get ready for snack time. We focus on sitting together and having "conversations". We talk about what they are eating, how they are feeling, perhaps even sing a song. Snack time is usually about 10 minutes. Just enough to help them re-energize and ready to go.
4. Diaper change. Once snack is finished we change their diapers and clean up the table area. As they get older we will encourage the children to help put their garbage away. At diaper changes we explain what we are doing and why we are changing them. We may ask the child to help us hold a clean diaper or a bag of wipes so they feel they are part of the process.
5. Open play/science/art/math, etc. At this time we incorporate different activities that catch their interest. Although the children are in control and decide what they want to play with, the teachers also try to add a focused activity. An example, if we are working on art, we will focus on using tools (hands as well) to paint, however it will be a group between 2-4 at a time.
6. Gym. Once open play is finished we go to the gym. Here they get to work on their big muscles (gross motor). They can jump, hop, skip, dance and move their bodies in ways they can not do in our classroom.
7. Buggy walk. Weather-permitting we go for a walk outside. Sometimes we just go around the corner, or we will visit a market. Anything that piques their interests and keeps them refreshed.
8. Lunch. We then come back and get ready for lunch. Here there is a bigger emphasis on sitting together "family style". We do the same as snack time except we extend the time a bit longer. Usually lasts between 20-30 minutes.
9. Diaper Change. Once lunch is finished we change their diapers, clean up their hands and faces, and get the children's belongings ready to go for the day (half day kids).
Most of our children stay until 12pm. Those who continue on until 3pm or 5pm go to a different classroom for nap-time and play. As you can see there are 9 transitions happening throughout the morning til noon. For these children that is a lot. Especially if it is their first time in a school setting. However, do not worry. Eventually all the children get used to it and can follow the routine without waiting for the teachers cues.