What is our day like in Pre-K?
Circle Time/ Large Group
Our Circle Time (or Large Group) is like a class meeting and consists of music, stories, and group discussion. During group discussion, we talk about things the children are interested in and wonder about. We talk about things they have noticed recently or things that have happened. We also have a daily literacy activity and phonemic awareness activity, as required by the state of Georgia. Circle time can also be used to play math games or explore science. Literacy and phonemic awareness activities can be as simple as a game, a chart, a fingerplay or rhyme, or a song. I break this time up throughout our day, and do a little at a time, so the children do not have to focus for long periods of time.
Our calendar is very simple. We use a regular desk calendar with large blank squares to count down the days until someone’s birthday, a holiday, or special event. We might also use the calendar to track something, such as the growth of a seed or a caterpillar’s time in a cocoon. I don’t feel that doing the calendar in the traditional “school” way is an appropriate use of our time in Pre-K. The calendar and a clock are available at child height for children to look at any time they wish.
Center Time is child-led, not teacher-directed. We have free choice centers. Children choose the centers they want to work in, and decide when they want to move to another center. I do not limit the number of children in each center, and I do not have signs showing how many children can go to a center. Children learn to regulate the centers themselves through problem-solving. Many of the materials are open-ended, and children are allowed to use them creatively and decide how to use materials. Art in the art center is open-ended, with no instructions from the teacher.
Small Group Time is separate from Center Time, so that children are not interrupted in their work at centers.
Rainy Day Recess
We have indoor recess activities in the classroom or gym: bucket stilts, plastic stepping stones, balance beam (a 2×4 from Lowe’s set on top of two large hollow blocks), tunnel, scarves. Sometimes, we just have an extended center time.
We have one “Leader” each day who leads the line, holds the door, helps at the table, and assists the teacher in other ways as needed. We also have cleaning supplies available on a low shelf for the children to use anytime they need it.
hand brooms and dustpans
spray bottle of water
Since we have an early lunch (11:00), we have snack in the afternoon at around 1:00. As the children wake up from nap, they go to the snack table, and then to centers when they are finished. Since some children awaken quickly and some slowly, not all of the children are eating at the same time. The children have learned to be completely independent at the snack table. A stack of napkins and cups are set on the table, along with a tray of food, individually wrapped, and two mini pitchers of juice. The children get their own napkin, cup, snack, and pour their own juice. When they are finished, they clean their area. We rarely have spills, but if we do, the children clean up by themselves using our cleaning kit or a napkin from the table.