A Day at Our School

The day begins with hanging up coats and backpacks as the children greet friends and perhaps share a story from the previous day. After a goodbye hug with parents, they are ready to explore.

They start to settle in and find an activity to truly engage in – this could be new materials or seeking out interests or projects from the previous school day.

Activities are varied and may include woodworking, stitching, playdough, painting, dress up, role play, water and sand play, or building a rocket out of blocks and taking a mission to the moon. When the weather is nice they are often outside.

After about an hour and a half of open play, children help prepare the tables for snack by arranging chairs, dishes and creating their own “decorations.” Teachers and co-oping parents will help with transitions, facilitating the preparation of snack and picking up materials used during the day. Some materials will return to the classroom shelves, but often the results of large cooperative projects (a city, a stage for dancing, a boat, etc.) are left in place for a day or two, showing the children that their work is valued and allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Then they gather in a circle on the floor for group time. This might involve a game, physical activity, or dance and always involves plenty of conversation. The teachers are facilitators, allowing children to discuss topics according to their own perceptions and understanding. This is a chance for children to take risks by expressing their thoughts, to listen and organize diverse ideas, and to develop questions to enhance the understanding of ideas in themselves and in others.

Now it is time for rest! The children love catching a pillow when their name is called and then finding a place to lie down for a short rest. Listening to relaxing music and allowing their bodies to be still helps to calm the excited energy that has been building all morning.

After pillows are put away, the children are ready to wash their hands and head into the kitchen for snack. The artistically arranged food is served and consumed on ceramic dishes chosen for their aesthetics, practicality, and safety. Children learn to exchange ideas and take risks by trying new foods or different preparations of familiar foods.

Often before the children leave for the day, there is group story time and outside play time. Stories are not just for listening. Children are active participants in the content and development of the story, and are encouraged to make comments and share ideas.

Children spend a lot of time outside – especially in the Spring and early Fall months – on the unique playground with play tools and structures that are regularly rearranged, a big grassy area, and a sand box that can easily fit the whole class and often has water flowing through it.

Field trips include a visit to a local pumpkin patch in October, a walk to a nearby fire station, and walks to a nearby creek or hiking path.