Parents arrive to drop off their children. Staff and children who are already there meet and greet them in the hallway. Children look around the room which is all ready for playing: they can choose between the housekeeping corner and dolls, books, blocks and trucks, rocking boat, seasonal altar, magnets and other manipulatives, bubbly water station, tadpole/ caterpillar/ worm station, or drawing/cutting and pasting table. Children are free to participate in areas that they are comfortable with that day.
Around 9 am, children are introduced to the table project for the day. A painting smock is put on the child for watercolor or finger painting day (table project changes daily). Children are encouraged to participate in the snack preparation and daily chores. When children are finished with the table project, they go back to playing until clean-up time. The tenor recorder is played to signal the end of playing and beginning of clean up time. We encourage picking up toys by songs and modeling.
After clean up is done, clean-up stickers are given as a recognition of their cooperation. Sometimes questions are asked such as “tell me three things that you cleaned up?” We move onto circle time on the round rug. We sing seasonal songs and practice rhymes. Percussion instruments are given at times to accompany songs and dances. Then children are asked to pull up their sleeves for hand washing. Guided by friendly songs and by the teachers, children flow from washing hands to getting their cup and napkin ready for the snack time.
We all sit around a table for the snack. The older children might help with pouring water into the younger children's cups. After a blessing is sung, we enjoy sharing the warm food together. Polite manners are encouraged. When snack time is over, the children pick up their cup and napkin and take them to the washing tub in the bathroom, then they get ready for outside.
While the last ones are getting dressed or a diaper changed, other children play by the gentle creek area. When everyone is ready and dressed, we start our nature walk. We practice staying together as a group while we explore the natural world. We stop and play and observe seasonal changes throughout the year. All their senses are activated and the children are deeply absorbed in the creative process. When we get to the road, children are asked to hold a rope or hand. The signal giver gives a signal to safely cross the road. We sometimes run into neighbors or other people doing things such as a mail deliverer bringing mail, construction workers taking down a tree, or a jogger running with a dog.
Back at the preschool playground, children play freely until the story time. They make fairy houses under the rhododendron trees, tell stories with animals in the sandbox, push a wheelbarrow or a cart to sell things that they made in the sandbox, and give trucks a “car wash”. Children gather around at the story circle made of stumps and listen to the weekly story. Stories are often tied to virtues that we are learning. We tell the same story for a whole week. By the end of the week, some children can say simple rhymes or verses in the story. When the stories are done, the children go back to play to the playground until their parents arrive for pick up time.