8:30-8:45 Arrival. Children and parents are greeted and welcomed. Parents/guardians help their child to hang up their coat, put on slippers, and wash their hands - their own little "good morning" rhythm. I am there to help with the transition.
Inside Play. Children are invited in to play in our beautiful indoor classroom as we slowly transition into our day.
Tidy up. Every toy, play silk, or doll has a place in the room. With song to aid the transition, children soon learn that “tidying up” is as pleasant a part of the day as any other piece.
Circle time. We gather together on the braided wool carpet. Our circle time incorporates a variety of seasonal songs and poems (and is beginning to integrate songs in Spanish as well).
Outdoor play. The outdoor play garden, which abuts the Larch Hill conservation area, is dotted with our namesake Maple trees. The hillside provides ample space for climbing and rolling down.
The outdoor toys encourage creative and imaginative play – the nooks and crannies built into the flowering shrubs in the yard; a fully-stocked sand/mud kitchen; tools for digging and raking; a collection of carefully selected sticks and small logs for building and “fishing;” and a few carts for transporting treasured materials.
We go outside in almost any weather: we enjoy the vibrant, crisp days of fall; the variety of snow in winter; the rains and mud in the spring; and the warmth and water play of early summer.
On some days, we might engage in seasonal crafts such as dipping maple leaves in wax, scooping seeds from pumpkins, baking gingerbread cookies, making head wreaths from forsythia boughs, and more. These seasonal activities strengthen our connection with the natural world and help young children in forming a larger-scale sense of time by connecting them with the cycles of the seasons.
Washing up/Setting the table. We head inside and remove our outdoor clothing, taking care to put each piece in its special place. We then wash hands to a special song and set the table in preparation for our meal. The older children love helping as much as they are able as we sing our way to lunch!
Lunch. Lunches are a variety of organic, home-made hearty grains, legumes, or vegetable soups. On special days we accompany the meals with a home-made, organic, whole-grain bread (which the children can participate in making). When finished we all clean up together, with the children participating as much as they are able. Afterwards we play quietly inside until morning children are picked up.
Inside play, puppet show and nap. After lunch and morning pickup, the children play as shades are slowly drawn, cozy resting spaces are arranged, and the aroma of lavender oil and soft light of the salt lamp set the mood for sleep. I then gather the children and perform a short puppet show as they wind down with bellies full. We brush our teeth, and the children are then invited into their special resting spaces as I sing them quietly to sleep.
Afternoon snack and free play until afternoon pickup. The rhythm of our afternoons is unhurried and dependent on the sleep needs of the particular group of children. Children generally sleep as long as needed. As the children slowly wake, I invite them to the table for a fresh organic fruit or applesauce. They then may play quietly indoors until afternoon pickup.