Young children are comforted by routine. Our daily rhythm is inspired by the breath. Breathing in with calm, centering activities that develop focus and breathing out with dynamic activities that allow children to explore and release energy.
9:30-9:45 Arrival (outside)
9:45-9:55 Opening circle/meeting
10:05-11:35 Outdoor free play
11:35-11:45 Closing circle/story
12:20-1:10 Inside play
1:25-1:30 Gratitude sharing
Seasonal Rhythms are reflected through songs, poems and stories. Songs, fingerplays and games explore the changing seasons, teach about plants and animals, and evoke a sense of wonder for the natural world. We celebrate each season with special events for the whole family: A festival of light in the fall, a shadow puppet show in the winter, and a maypole dance in the spring
Elements of the Day
Children arrive and prepare for outdoor weather with their parent/guardian, Children who’ve arrived can choose to have tea in the fairy garden, play in the sandbox or rock pool, or harvest fruits and veggies with the teacher.
Once all the children have arrived we gather in the stump circle to sing songs and discuss plans for and needs of our garden plots. In slower gardening months we will use this time to discuss ideas for play, anticipate and solve problems with these ideas, and/or set physical development goals.
Here are just some of the questions we might explore:
What did you notice that is new in the garden or in your plot today?
How do the plants need your help today?
What plants are ready to harvest?/ What do we look for to know they are ready?
What ideas do you have for play? Do you want to transform into someone or something else? What are the rules of this game/what do friends who are joining need to know? Is everyone included?
How does your body feel like moving today? Are their any new tricks you want to try or old tricks you want to do again? How does your body feel when you do that? Is there a need to or a way to make that safer?
Each child will be involved in the processes of planning, planting, tending and harvesting their own section of the garden. We will harvest ripe fruits and veggies in the greater garden together. Children are given “garden tests” throughout the year, gaining freedom to harvest on their own after demonstrating their knowledge and ability to harvest each kind of plant successfully.
In our open ended playscape, children are free to build forts, climb and swing from trees, roll down hills, jump from various heights, find “treasures” in a rock sensory bin, dig sand pits and channels for water play, hammer nails into stumps, turn over rocks to discover critters, make “soups” from fallen leaves and calendula petals, and so much more…the possibilities are endless!
The garden is a place for creative, collaborative and explorative play where children are given the freedom to shape their own world and the trust and support to develop their own risk assessment skills.
During free play the children are welcome to munch food from the garden, or from the “nibbles” available (commonly nuts and dry fruit).
We end our outside time with songs, pedagogical story, and reflections on problem solving/affirmation (What kinds of problems came up today? How did you solve them? What worked? What didn’t work? What made you smile or laugh today?)
Children bring a lunch from home. Parents can best support their children’s health by preparing lunches that meet their child’s unique dietary needs. In warmer months, we may eat outside.
During lunchtime, the teacher will tell a story (either a fairytale/folktale, nature story, pedagogical story or personal story)
Children may choose to explore dramatic play, sensory activities, building and art. They will use simple, open-ended toys made of natural materials such as wood, shells, silks and stones. In the classroom play is child-driven. Children may explore individual, parallel, or cooperative play.
To clean our room we use a system of cards, which have symbols of each toy in the classroom. Children pick a card indicating the toy they'll be in charge of cleaning up. They work independently or with friends to complete each task, putting everything back in its place.
Gratitude has been proven to improve physical and psychological health, sleep, self-esteem, and mental strength, as well as reduce aggression and enhance empathy. Children are given the chance to share their gratitude for the events of the day or their lives in general. We end the day with this poem:
Thank you for this day
For work and rest and play
Thank you for every friend
Soon we all will meet again
We’ll use every last minute together! Parents will wait outside the door. Promptly at 1:30 they will be invited inside to help their child dress for home. Teacher Rebecca will join parents and children in the front yard for 5-10 minutes to visit.