Each class has the following elements in the schedule of its day: Learning centers, free-choice time, clean-up, group time, snack, outdoor time, and dismissal. The order of the schedule differs for each class and changes with the weather. Children participate in either weekly or bi-weekly music, gym, and animal- or nature-related programs. We also hike on the trails, visit Natureplace and the Animal Hall, and use the auditorium on rainy days.
The children follow a flexible daily schedule that meets and enhances the individual needs of the diverse population served by our program. The schedule of the day is created to include active and quiet play and individual and small group activities. During the day the teachers create routines, set up centers, plan activities, and take advantage of teachable moments to promote problem solving, self-reliance, self-esteem, language learning experiences, expression of each child’s own ideas and feelings, health education awareness, and fine and large motor skills.
Children in the full-time 12-Month Program may begin arriving at 8:00 am.
Children who have signed up for early drop-off may go to the room between 8:00 am and 8:45 am.
Morning classes then begin at 8:45 am.
Chickadees enter through the door in the Chickadees Hallway.
Hummingbirds and Woodpeckers enter through the playground doors.
The Robins class enters through the indoor Eco Lab door.
The Falcons class enters through their door in the Malloy Room.
Morning drop-off is a wonderful time for you to share important information with the teachers. After drop-off, children wash their hands in order to keep our rooms peanut-safe and to reduce the number of germs coming into the classroom. Some classes start with free choice time, others have a meeting, and some go directly outdoors. With your child’s help, please check his or her mailbox for letters and art work that are to go home that day.
At arrival and dismissal time, if any accommodations are needed to help children with disabilities have a smoother, safer, more appropriate transition please share this with the teacher. If a specific plan is designed for these transitions it will be documented in the child’s file.
Encouraging Independence: We ask that you help us to teach your children to take off and hang up their coats. We then will help them wash their hands. In the beginning of the year you will be helping them to feel comfortable washing hands, and eventually they will be able to do this all on their own.
Teachers design learning center activities that are based on the curriculum standards for each age group. The curriculum standards for children under 3 are derived from the Creative Curriculum. The teachers will design learning experiences that are aligned with the Creative Curriculum goals and objectives. The curriculum standards for children age 3 to age 5 are based on the Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) and the Preschool Assessment Framework (PAF). The learning experiences that teachers design are intended to show how the children are progressing in each curricular area. For example, if we are assessing the ability to relate number to quantity, the teachers may design a learning experience that measures each child's ability to count using one-to-one correspondence, identify the quantity in a set of objects, and combine quantities using simple addition. While one child or a small group of children are working on learning centers, the other children are actively engaged in free choice time.
Free choice time
Children may choose to become involved in the following centers: Blocks, easel, housekeeping, art, writing, science, manipulatives, library, or puzzles. The teachers set up these centers with developmentally appropriate materials to engage children in the learning process. The teachers plan with the goals for the class and the individual children in mind. It is the interactive process of engaging in all of these concrete, hands-on, multiple sensory, exploratory and child-directed activities that contribute to the child's optimal growth and development.
Transitions during the day are designed to be developmentally appropriate for the children. We announce to the children when it is almost time to finish playing in various ways. Telling the children that they have a few more minutes to play helps them realize that we value their play. In addition, if we do ask children to look at a book, do a puzzle, or use a table toy as a part of a transition, we then need to build in time for the child to finish.
At other transitions during the day, such as washing up for snack or getting coats on to go outside, the teachers are aware that each phase needs to be supervised and encouraged. We want waiting time to be minimal. For example, when children have finished washing up for snack or lunch, the policy is for themto eat as each child sits down at the table.
The teachers let the children know that it is almost time to clean up so they realize that their play is valued. The transition to clean-up varies in each class and changes throughout the year to keep the process novel. A bell or a song is often used. The teachers emphasize that it is the children's room, and that it is their responsibility to help keep it neat, safe, and playable. The teachers use a variety of techniques to motivate the children to see this transition as part of the growth and learning process. Sorting, self-motivation, cooperation, and problem-solving are just some of the goals involved in clean-up.
Toileting and diaper changing
Our classrooms have toilets in the room, except for the Falcons program. In the Chickadees we work with the parents to help the children become toilet trained. We would like you to bring a backpack each day that your child attends. Please label the outside of the backpack with your child’s name. Please include diapers, wipes, and a change of clothing. Soiled clothing will be sealed in a ziplock bag and handed to you at dismissal time.
In the Hummingbirds we make sure that we invite each child to use the toilet at some time during the day.
In the Woodpeckers we encourage independent use of the bathroom, but work with those who still need a reminder to use the toilet.
In the Falcons the children do need to tell the teacher when they wish to use the bathroom, because a teacher must escort the children to the bathroom.
The teachers plan for this time to be successful for everyone. For the Chickadees we work toward all of the children coming to join in as the year progresses. The teacher begins with appropriate length board books and songs.
In the Hummingbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons the class may gather as a group more than once in a day. This is an interactive time that includes both teacher- and child-directed activities. Discussing the weather, the days of the week and birthdays, participating in a flannel board activity, engaging in creative movement or active games, and singing to charts are some of the activities. A book is read or a story is told to the class every day during a group time. There are many goals the class could be working on at this time, from learning that the written word is oral language written down (charts), to creative expression of feelings, to learning how to be part of a group activity.
We provide a snack consisting of two food groups for each class. Snack provides the opportunity for a variety of learning experiences. In the Chickadees the children are working on learning the routine of washing up before snack, sitting with friends to eat, drinking from a cup, and having conversations at the table. Two teachers sit with the children in order to model healthy eating habits and to engage children in conversation. At snack time we work with the children to use small cups for the juice. We do not use sippy cups because speech therapists that we have consulted with over the years have recommended that we help children transition to using cups. They have found that children do not develop the muscles needed for speech if they continue to use sippy cups inthe two-year-old year.
In all of the classes the children have crackers and either a fruit, vegetable, or piece of cheese. We also introduce hummus, all-fruit spreads, sunflower butter, salsa, and other dips. They have water to drink. The children are involved in counting the number of crackers, spreading their own butter, and pouring their own water. In the Hummingbirds a teacher sits at each table and engages the children in conversation and models healthy eating habits. In the Woodpeckers and Falcons the children have snack as a center. In the beginning of the year a teacher does sit with the children to help them learn the process of washing hands, pouring their own water, and serving themselves. The teachers also model snack as a time for conversing with friends. As the year progresses, and the children are able to independently handle snack there is not always a teacher at the Woodpeckers and Falcons snack table.
There are many opportunities for large motor development, fine motor development, and dramatic play as the children experience the playground that has climbers, slides, swings, a play car, two interactive sand areas, an area for tricycles and other riding toys, a bridge, a rubber spider web, and a basketball hoop. Children practice safe riding procedures by wearing helmets while riding the tricycles. These are wiped off by the teachers in between use by each child. The Hummingbirds and Woodpeckers help in the garden — planting, weeding, and helping to harvest the vegetables and pick some of the flowers. We also bring out balls, soft Frisbees, trucks, wheelbarrows, and a variety of sand toys. The trails are a favorite area for hiking and experiencing nature. We are always on the lookout for deer, turkeys, turtles, chipmunks, snakes, and salamanders. Children wash their hands when coming in from the outdoors.
At this time we work on self-help skills, helping the children to find their own coats and collect art work, writings, and lunch boxes to bring home. Any artwork that is still wet will be sent home the next school day. The teachers in all classes discuss briefly what the children were involved in during the day before dismissing. Sometimes they share songs, anecdotes, books, or group stories from that day.
Parents or the person picking up the child must sign the child out in the attendance book.
Parents may authorize someone besides themselves to pick up their child by filling in a section of the Student Record Form or by filling out a separate Earthplace Authorization Release Form. The form is designed for us to be able to check it against an indiviuals driver's license. The form is available on our website. We will not release a child to anyone not listed without prior authorization from the parents.
Chickadees: Dismiss from their doorway in the Chickadees Hallway at 12:00 PM or at 1:00 PM for lunch club.
Hummingbirds and Woodpeckers: Dismiss from the front of the building. The Hummingbirds sit on the bottom step of the stage and are dismissed one by one to the parents. The Woodpeckers sit outside on the benches.
Robins: Dismiss from their classroom hallway at 1:00 PM.
Falcons: Dismiss from their doorway at 1:00 PM.
Chickadees Lunch Club: Dismiss from the Chickadees Room.
Preschool After School Enrichment Program: Please check in at the front desk and you will be directed to your child's location.