Our Multi-age classrooms register half of the class with children ages 3 turning 4, while the other half are children ages 4 turning 5. This is important as it creates a balanced mixed age group. Multi-age education enriches the total learning environment, encouraging all the children to achieve their best regardless of age. Like the “one room schoolhouse”, or “family approach”, children are able to share their experiences and knowledge with compassion for each other as co-learners. They learn to support the community while reaching individual developmental goals.
ln a multi-age class students can stay together for more than one year, often with the same teacher. Research has found that language and social skills improve more rapidly and discipline problems diminish in a mixed age classroom. Our preschool curriculum is filled with a wide range of projects insuring the introduction of academic knowledge in fun and meaningful ways.
Two day or three day used to be the norm, however research shows that many children want more! Throughout the world it is common for preschoolers to attend school five days a week. For “enthusiastic learners,” we offer a 5 day option. lt has been shown that children who attend five days in a row grow by leaps and bounds, naturally building on the previous day’s experiences. This option is open to children who turn three or four by September 1st. * Priority placement is given for this class.
A Typical Day
Each day will vary depending on the activities and timeline of the students. The example times below are based on the 9:00 morning program and are provided to show the rhythm of the day. This pattern frames our days but is not a rigid schedule.
8:30 Parent Helper Arrives – Parent helpers assist the teacher in preparing for students’ arrival. Helpers get out materials for the day’s art projects, paints and brushes, prepare the paint easel, play dough, paper and pens and ink stamps. Helpers also begin putting artwork from previous days into children’s cubbies. Mini-meal should be placed on the kitchen counter.
9:00 Students Arrive – Parents sign in, check the communication area for notes, hang up coats and greet the teacher. Students may put any sharing items from home in the “sharing box.” Parent helpers help greet students and help children put away coats and belongings. As necessary, help children get involved in activities or circle time.
9:15 Morning Meeting – A special time for songs and visiting. An opportunity to review documentation with the students and introduce the day’s activities. (The teacher may choose to skip this time depending on the group and their individual dynamics). If the teacher asks, parent helpers may finish preparing art and activity areas. Helpers then join circle time, participating and providing assistance as needed.
9:45 Choice Time – Children explore all areas of the classroom through choice time. Options include art, sensory table, dramatic area, toys, play dough, glue table, writing table and table toys. Parent helpers may be stationed at the art table or may circulate through the classroom. Helpers assist children by providing supplies and help as needed. They offer guidance when children have trouble resolving a conflict. Helpers may suggest activities if a child appears lost or bored. Remember to take a moment to assess any situation before acting; the best course of action may be to stand back and let children resolve problems on their own. When helping in the art area, be sure to write the child’s name on the artwork and encourage the children to do so themselves. The parent helper should put any artwork that is ready to go home in the cubbies.
10:35 Clean up Time – The teacher and parent helper guide the children through the clean-up process. Helpers put away art materials and wash brushes and paint trays (if you’re running short of time, these things may be done at the end of the day). Wipe down tables with paper towels and bleach solution. Set up chairs. Set table with napkins, cups and the snack.
10:45 Circle Time – A continuation of the day’s activities. Children are encouraged to listen and take turns sharing ideas. Different discovery units will be explored. After the snack area is ready for students, parent helpers join the teacher in circle time.
11:00 Wash Hands – The teacher will dismiss the students a few at a time to wash hands before snack. This is done through songs and games. Children return to circle or snack table and wait for everyone to arrive before eating. The parent helper will assist the students with water and paper towels. A second parent helper can help students get settled in the snack area.
Mini-Meal – Once everyone is there, we can begin eating. Table talk is encouraged and manners are reinforced. Children must clear their own places. They may return to their seat or go sit in the circle and read a book while we wait for others to finish. Parent helpers are encouraged to eat and interact with children during snack.
11:30 Book Time – As the children transition from mini-meal, they can continue to converse at the table or find a story to read. Parent helpers and teachers invite the children to get a book, and encourage them to read it to us. At this stage in their development reading consists of what is called a picture walk. Using the pictures to tell a story is a beginning reading.
11:40 Group Time – Group time consists of a variety of activities that may be done in one large group or two or three smaller ones. Possibilities include outside play, dance, sharing, science, exploration, ceramics, drama and nature hikes. The teacher will let the parent helper know which activity/group they will be supervising.
12:00 Pick-up Time – Now is the time to regroup by hearing a story or singing a song. Students should wait patiently for their turn to go. It is important during this time that if the pick-up person arrives early, they wait quietly on the sidelines until class is over. Visiting with others can be done outside of class. At times classes may be picked up from outside. Please check in with your teacher and say goodbye before you leave. For detailed pick up and drop off procedures, please refer to the “Pick up / drop off” section of the handbook on page 13.
12:05 After Class – After the children are gone, parent helpers make sure dishes are washed, toilets are cleaned, the art area is clean, all projects are cleaned up and all areas are swept, mopped and vacuumed as needed. Refer to the checklists in each classroom and complete all clean-up responsibilities. Please always check with the teacher before leaving.