Siblings hugging at the Harvest Festival
Scene of the school grounds with wooden bridge
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats
"Learning is the interplay of discipline and delight." - Chogyam Trungpa
"The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity." - Thomas Henry Huxley
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." - A. A. Milne
"Before I built a wall, I'd asked to know what I was walling in or walling out." - Robert Frost

Rhythm of the Day

For young children, rhythm, ritual, and repetition are extremely meaningful. The rhythm of our day at school gives the children a sense of security, relaxation, and predictability. The schedule of the day is as follows:

 

8:30-8:50 am Arrival Time

Each child arrives at school in his or her own way. Some enter with gusto, running in to class and quickly engaging in activity, hardly remembering to say good-bye. Others take their time adjusting each day, sitting and visiting while warming up slowly. The morning good-bye is a very valuable time for experiencing transition. We strongly encourage parents to make their morning transitions warm, yet brief. After a kiss and hug good-bye, the children are free to play, read books with a teacher, or engage in different activities until it is time to begin circle.

Little Girl Jumping from Rockto Rock

A note about transitions…

All children at some point feel the discomfort of separating from parents and transitioning into being at school. For some children this experience comes and goes quickly. For others, it lingers. If your child is having a difficult time saying good-bye, here are a few suggestions: First, prepare your mind so that energetically your child feels confidence about him or her being at school. If you are feeling hesitant, your child will become hesitant as well. Second, make your morning good-bye quick and clear. The most difficult thing for a child who is having a difficult transition is for parents to lengthen the good-bye in an attempt to make it easier for the child. With transitions, the clearer and more positive and confident we are as parents, the easier it will be for our children. We know this is often easier said than done and teachers are always available to help!

 

9:00 am Morning Circle

The heart of each day is Morning Circle. It is very important that all children arrive in time to benefit from this time when we come together to welcome the day, to acknowledge each other’s presence, and to connect with what is happening in our world. Circle is a time when children are lead through a series of songs, verses, movements, and games that weave into a story. At Circle, there is a sense of wonder, inspiration, appreciation that is sparked and that carries the children through their day at school. What happens in Circle tends to flavor the children’s play and provides the ground for other class activities. Please make it a priority to arrive in time for Circle every day.

When children arrive in the middle of Circle, it disrupts the entire rhythm, making it nearly impossible to re-group. Sequences, poems, songs, and silence are interrupted and the atmosphere changes dramatically. For children who are the ones interrupting, they distinctly feel the discomfort of this and we notice a significant difference in their sense of connection. For us as teachers, we spend great amounts of time preparing for Circle and it is frustrating for us as well. Please make sure your child arrives by 8:50 am. If you are going to be late, please call and then wait until 9:30 am to arrive. We completely understand that sometimes you are running late in the morning and we really appreciate your understanding about our Circle time, which we hold so dear.

 

9:30-11:45 am Morning Activities and Snack

This time of our day together consists of the following activities:

Creative Play

When children play, they learn about the world. Children’s play is by far the most important aspect of their early education. Children learn more through play than through any projects we are able to provide. In play the children communicate deeply with one another, sharing their thoughts and ideas, sorting out difficulties, experiencing their emotions and the emotions of others. When children are able to sink into their play, uninterrupted, they become exceptionally creative. If we can imagine the times in life when we feel completely relaxed and expansive, when our creativity flows, leaving us with confidence and a feeling of greater meaning and connection to our lives, we can begin to understand the depth and importance of children’s play. Teachers provide support during these times by creating a cheerful and uplifted environment, nice playthings, and an unobtrusive yet warm presence, there to lend a hand if needed, and otherwise content to simply observe. The playthings available to the children are mostly made of natural materials – cotton and silk cloths, building blocks, log pieces, hollow blocks, dolls, stones, pits, and carved wooden figures, to mention a few. These open-ended types of toys encourage children to “create as they go” and to connect to the natural world through their play.

 

Arts and Crafts

We make a distinction between art and crafts. Art is led by and created by the child. Crafts are led by the teacher and created by the child with the teacher’s help. In the older class, the shelf in the art room is always full of art supplies which the children may help themselves to at any time. In the Cubs, art supplies are offered on a daily basis as well. Arts and crafts relate to the seasons and to what we are doing at Circle. Through the course of the year, we paint, color, sew, weave, die cloth and wool, sculpt, dip candles, and do many, many other crafts and art activities.

 

Sensory Play and Handwork

We have many playthings, which encourage the children to work with their hands. Locks and keys, pouring and scooping materials, beads, marbles and tracks, trains, magnets, puzzles, geo boards, matching games, tweezers, eyedroppers, Froebel’s gifts, hammer boards, and many other materials are available. We tend to rotate materials and offer activities that relate to the other areas of curriculum, as well as those that accommodate each child’s interests and needs. We also sew, weave, tie knots, work with beeswax, and woodwork. Handwork is important in a young child’s development. Several educators have observed that manual dexterity increases mental dexterity. Other benefits of handwork are increased concentration, determination, patience, spatial awareness, and self-confidence.

 

Cooking

Cooking projects offer one of the best scientific exploration opportunities for our class. The children are involved with each step. As you know, the children love to pour, mix, measure, knead, flip, crack, chop, and taste! If you have favorite recipes, please pass them on to us.

 

Clean-Up Time

We teach the children to relate thoroughly to the beginning, middle, and end of their activities. This is easier said than done! We always sing as we work and help each other out. We do not force the children to clean up, but we strongly encourage them to participate, mostly through modeling this habit ourselves. When a child is consistently not relating to the ending of their projects, we use stories, games, and group discussions about “wrapping up loose ends” and “relating to the beginning, middle, and end” as our main tools for helping the children feel the importance of completing what they start.

 

11:35 pm Story Ring

We teach the children to relate thoroughly to the beginning, middle, and end of their activities. This is easier said than done! We always sing as we work and help each other out. We do not force the children to clean up, but we strongly encourage them to participate, mostly through modeling this habit ourselves. When a child is consistently not relating to the ending of their projects, we use stories, games, and group discussions about “wrapping up loose ends” and “relating to the beginning, middle, and end” as our main tools for helping the children feel the importance of completing what they start.

 

12:00 am Lunch

The children take turns ringing the gong and leading us in a bow before we sing a song and begin lunch. Lunch is a very social time of the day. If you can imagine having a lunch date with your friends several times a week, you will have a good picture of your child's lunch time at school! Lots of chattering, conversation, voiced opinions and laughter prevail.

Earth who gives us this food, sun who makes it ripe and good
Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun, thank you for all you have done.
Give thanks to the mother Gaia
Give thanks to the father Sun
Give thanks to the plants in the garden where the little children run around
Give thanks, give thanks, and again we say give thanks!
Give thanks, give thanks, and again we say give thanks!

Oh, the earth is good to me and so I thank the earth
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the apple seed,
Oh, the earth is good to me.

 

12:30 pm Half Day Children Departure

Half-day children meet their parents in the yard after lunch with one of our teachers. Children and parents are welcome to play in the yard and visit with each other after school until 12:55pm.

 

12:30-1:00 pm Candle Songs and Rest

After lunch we transition into rest time. Children are separated into smaller groups allowing for a more relaxed space and energy. Some children fall asleep and others stay awake while resting. This is a deeply relaxing and nurturing time of day as well as a time for the children to experience stillness in the midst of a day full of activity.

 

1:00-3:00 pm Indoor & Outdoor Play and Activities

In the afternoon, we play outdoors, continue the morning’s projects and often bring out handwork toys for the children to work with. When all of the children are up, we have a snack and get ready to end our day together.

 

3:00 pm Closing Circle and Afternoon Snack

We formally end our day by gathering together and singing:

Thank you for this day, for rest and work and play.
Thank you to every friend, soon we'll meet again.
May the long time sun shine upon you, and all around you.
And the pure light within you, shine your way home.
Blessings on our day and peace on earth.

 

3:00-3:15 pm Departure Time

The children are free to play until their parents arrive. Then, they gather their things and say good-byes. This is a time for teachers and parents to touch base and for children to be with their parents in the school environment. If your child likes or needs a lot of transition time at the end of the day, you may want to come at 3:00 pm so you have time for a relaxed good-bye.

 

3:15 pm Departure Complete

By 3:15 pm, all of the children should be on their way out the gate, with all departure routines completed. Once the children leave, the teachers have time to clean up from the day’s activities, prepare for the next day, and touch base with each other. We depend on your prompt arrival and departure at the end of the day so we can keep the class running smoothly.

Girl Sweeping under the Jungle Gym