A typical day for the Pre-K
9:00-9:45: Arrival, Outdoor Play
9:45-10:00: Unpack Belongings, Bathroom, Wash Hands
10:20-10:40: Circle Time, Plan for the Day
10:40-11:30: Art, Learning Activities with Small Group Instruction, Free Choice
11:40-11:55: Group Read Aloud
11:55-12:00: Prepare for Dismissal
If you were to watch a day unfold in any of our classrooms, you would see happy children enjoying the company of other children and engaging in a great deal of play. This play is the means through which children hone skills, build friendships, discover the world around them, and find out what interests them.
Play is a child’s work. However, it is not play without planning. The learning environment and the activities engaged in are all carefully planned by the teachers to teach specific skills. Parents are encouraged to ask questions of the teacher regarding the rationale for specific activities.
Children arrive between 8:55 and 9:00am and begin their day on the playground where they may engage in playing with the extensive collection of ride-on toys or practice their basketball skills, play soccer, utilize the various climbing structures or dig in the sandbox. Playground time is the perfect opportunity for developing gross motor skills like running, catching, throwing, climbing steps, etc. Engaging in exercise at the beginning of the day also serves to help students focus during the rest of the day.
After spending 45 minutes to an hour on the playground students come to the classroom for a bathroom break and to wash hands. Afterwards they sit down with their snack boxes, say a short prayer selected by the teacher, done in both English and sign language, and begin eating. Snack time is an important time during which students work on fine motor skills while manipulating their snack boxes and the contents therein, as well as conversational skills. Some of our pre-K classes practice speaking another language, Spanish or French, during snack time as well.
After snack time students move to circle time where they discuss their schedule for the rest of the day. They do their calendar and weather work (often in two languages) and then discuss the theme under study (e.g., the solar system). The teachers will elicit whatever background knowledge the children already possess on the subject and then expand on that knowledge introducing concepts and terminology appropriate to the subject. Additionally each week the students work on a particular letter of the alphabet so during circle time they will talk about letter formation, letter sounds and work on finding words that begin with that particular letter. Circle time for pre-K students may last as long as 30 minutes.
At the conclusion of circle time students transition to stations. Each teacher (and a co-oping parent, if one is available) will conduct a particular station for a group of 3-4 students. The stations vary from day to day but may include arts and crafts, Handwriting Without Tears workbooks, Scholastic “Weekly Readers”, journals, games or other such activities. Students not actively at work at a station will be having free choice time in the classroom which includes engaging in imaginative play, doing arts and crafts, playing at the sensory table, working with manipulatives, putting together puzzles, listening to a book on CD, building with blocks or magnatiles, or playing with the various toys around the room. Each student works through all of the stations for the day.
After stations and free choice time are completed students gather for one more circle time during which they are read to by one of the teachers. The teachers also take this time to review what happened during the day and to preview what will happen in coming days.
The class will have music once a week for 20 minutes with Ms. Maribeth who comes to the classroom to do that and, in the winter months, will have Jump Bunch in Phillips Hall for 20-25 minutes once a week. Jump Bunch is a gross motor movement class that develops balance, coordination and other physical skills. In addition each Pre-K class enjoys French instruction several times month taught by our French Immersion instructor and Pre-K Teaching Assistant, Mrs. Khenissi.
Beginning in January pre-K students make lunches for the homeless once a month and enjoy rotational activities—science, math and literacy—with each teacher as well.
During the course of the pre-K year students will hone all of the skills that they’ve been working on during their time at CCUMC. By the end of their pre-K year students should be able to: identify all letters and their sounds; identify numbers; be able to do simple addition and subtraction; write all letters and numbers; use scissors properly; engage in scientific enquiry; and follow classroom routines. In addition to these academic skills students will have made appropriate progress in the development of socio-emotional, gross motor, language and life skills. For more information, please see CCUMC’s Learning Objectives.