The Preschool Two class is designed for children who are 4 by September 1. The large, bright classroom is divided into smaller interest centers equipped with open-ended materials designed to support children in their investigations and discoveries. A mini art studio in the classroom provides a wide variety of art materials for children to use in their work. Plants, fish, and an ever-growing collection of natural materials gathered by the children contribute to the home-like environment of the classroom. A typical day includes a morning meeting where educators and children discuss and plan, an extended time for children to work on projects, snack, stories,
and an indoor or outdoor time for active play. Educators carefully plan activities designed to help the children develop the literacy, math, and motor skills so necessary for later school success. Learning to problem-solve, negotiate, collaborate, and plan together are important goal for the Preschool Two class.
Personal and Social Development
School begins at 9:00. Children are brought directly to the classroom. The children wash their hands upon arrival and are free to explore open centers working independently or with others. The centers are prepared with a rich variety of materials based on the children’s interests and designed to provoke investigation and exploration. This is also a time for families and educators to visit and informally share information. Children may use this time to continue work on uncompleted projects or work with an educator to complete classroom jobs such as the calendar, attendance, taking care of plants, etc. Educators circulate throughout the room supporting the children’s activities and documenting the children’s work through photos and written notes.
Children and educators begin their day by gathering together to share news, review the calendar, and discuss plans for the day. Together they may collaborate on finding solutions to classroom problems or making plans for upcoming events.
Healthy snacks of fruit, cereals, milk, and vegetables are brought by parents on a rotating basis. On Friday a special Shabbat snack of challah and grape juice is served. Candles and sometimes flowers decorate our tables, and blessings for the challah and juice are said. When they are finished eating, the children clean up their snack and find a quiet activity until everyone is finished.
Small Group Work
Following snack, we begin an extended period of time in which children work in groups either independently, or with an educator, as they explore an area or materials, participate in a planned activity, or work on an on-going project. Cooking activities, discovery walks outside, art and science investigations, and games designed to reinforce math and literacy skills often take place during small group work.
At some time in the morning the entire class goes outside to the playground or to the social hall where bikes, scooters, balls, and obstacle courses offer opportunities for loud, active, play, group games, and skill-building activities.
Ending the Day
The class gathers with both educators for music, stories, and a sharing time of the morning’s activities. Taking time to reflect on that day’s work and looking forward to the activities of the next day gives recognition to individual and group accomplishments as well as helping the children see the continuity of one day to the next. On Friday all classes gather for a Shabbat celebration of lighting the candles, saying the blessings over the challah and juice, and singing songs together. Parents are always invited to join the children for Shabbat.
Children gather coats and backpacks and wait with educators at the entrance door for pick-up at 12:00.