Our days at school allow for generous periods of time that give children ample time inside and out of doors to choose, plan, and play using their own powers of discovery. Each day the time is balanced between child initiated activities and those that the teacher has planned. The teacher guides and introduces activities that may be new, opening doors of opportunity that have not been explored before.
The day begins with children brought into their classrooms and signed in by a parent or authorized representative. Having been greeted, they have about an hour and a half of time to interact and play with the activities in the environment that the teacher has prepared for them. After learning through play there is a time of clean-up and a short gathering for a song, fingerplay, or sharing. Next hands are washed and the children enjoy a healthy snack with one another. After snack, outdoors they go!
Our outdoor play area is really an extension of learning with nature study, gardening, building, running, jumping, climbing, drumming, and opportunities with activities the teachers facilitate. After about an hour and fifteen minutes the children clean up the playground and come in to our largest classroom for what they call “big circle.” At this time we are all together as a school community for song, story or topical lessons. This is quite adorable as the young twos and threes are just learning to make this circle and often plop right down in the middle of it!
After our big circle gathering the children go back to their own classrooms, wash hands and have lunch with their small learning community of friends. For some children after lunch is the end of their day here at Kids on the Hill and after being signed out they go home.
For others who stay for our afternoon extension time there is now a time of rest. This is about a half hour of quiet time, some children do fall asleep and can sleep until 2:15 if needed. Others are up after that half hour of rest and have a time of afternoon enrichment activities prepared by the teachers. Each afternoon there is a curriculum area emphasized; cooking, literacy, art, science or music and movement.
A time of clean up, washing hands and having a small snack comes near the close of our school day. Lastly, an ending story time is held, families arrive and all children depart for the day.
It is a full, busy day here at Kids on the Hill. Yet we are not rushed, we follow the pace of the children and allow them long periods of play, meaningful gatherings, simple transitions, and find the children do well with a consistent, predictable routine to their day.