Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How We do Preschool - Circle Time (Post 2 of 4)

As I explained in my introduction to this series, our preschool time has a set routine.

The first component of Red Room School is Circle Time. All four of us (me, Agent 004, Cousin F and Cousin P) meet on the blue rug at the edge of the room.

As always, we start with a prayer. Most recently, the favorite prayer has been "This is the Day" followed by short petitions. If I've told you that we are praying for you, this is when we do it. Some days the kids do jumping jacks as they sing. I consider it an entirely appropriate way for toddlers and preschoolers to praise the Lord.

After prayer we look at the calendar posted on the outside of the art supply cabinet. The girls tell me what day of the week it is, then they figure out the date. Agent 004 can now automatically add one to yesterday's date, but Cousin F needs time to count all of the previous numbers. As I write the date on the wall, they think about the "code date" and tell me what to write. Agent 004 seems to understand that January=1 and February=2 in code. I think I was 10 years old before I understood that!

This is also when we talk about upcoming events. Cousin P's birthday is marked on the calendar, so the kids have been counting down the days. We flip through the pages of the calendar to figure out when other major events are as well. At 3 and 4 years old respectively, Cousin F and Agent 004 really seem to be getting a handle on the months, seasons, and relative lengths of time.

We have just started observing the weather as part of our circle time. I drew a thermometer on the second art supply cabinet door. After looking up the temperature we color in the thermometer with a red washable marker. Unfortunately the lowest point on the wall thermometer is 0, so for -2 last week I had to erase the "mercury" in the bulb as well :)

Agent 004 is responsible for recording this information in the weather binder. She writes the code date, the temperature, and a one-word description of the weather onto a form. As she does this Cousin F sings the alphabet and points out the letters on the wall chart. She knows all of the letters in order, but still needs reinforcement of letter recognition.

Cousin P (who is not yet 2 years old) sings the prayer with us, but otherwise does his own thing. When he was younger I set up a booster seat with tray to contain him, but he now plays in the rice pool or uses items from the Montessori shelves at his own pace.

All told, circle time lasts five to ten minutes. We cover important concepts and set the tone for the remainder of our preschool session. Writing in the weather binder gives us a seemless transition to "table time" which will be the topic of my next preschool post.

This is my tip for Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.


Kate in NJ said...

I just had an "epiphany"!
In Code..perfect!!
I have been trying to figure out how to explain it to P..I usually
write out the month (I just like it), but..I am going to do the code.
I love the way your day sounds...

mavibu said...

I aspire to have "official" school time. We call it "activities" at my house and the girls clamor for it. The 9 month old and chores often derail us! Not having a kitchen doesn't help!