As each school day begins, faculty and staff wait in the hallway outside their classrooms, eager to greet the students as they arrive. In our Pre-K classrooms, the children have the opportunity to play dress-up, build with blocks, work on a floor puzzle or perhaps pursue a quieter activity such as drawing or looking at a book once they arrive. Teachers soon call the students to the table to “write” in their journals, play a math game, or get started on an art project. By the time the children sit down for Morning Meeting, they have made an authentic connection with their teachers and friends and they are ready to hear about what the rest of the day will bring.
In Kindergarten, children unpack their bags and excitedly look for the purple butterflies which mark the Learning Centers that are open that morning. You might see two children playing a game in the math center and two others building with blocks, whereas others may be writing in their journals. This limited free choice time gives students the chance to settle into the day and make important connections with friends. After everyone has settled into the morning routine, students are called to clean up and come to circle time, where you can can hear the children discussing the day ahead, asking questions, and pointing to the words in the morning message. The day has begun.
Throughout the day, children are engaged in play based learning. The teachers use the curriculum as a springboard to create original learning materials, songs, plays and crafts. You might see a group of children playing an octopus math game when learning about the ocean environment or wearing headbands with straw proboscis when learning about insects. Games, crafts and academics blend seamlessly as our students become excited about the world around them. They are eager to come to school and they find joy in becoming learners and in their academic achievements.