It happened. I heard something I have never heard before at preschool. One of my students said, “I’m done playing. Can we clean up?” What! Done playing? The other students quickly agreed. So, we cleaned up and did an extra learning activity, which surprisingly enough, looks like structured play. These students seem to like the structured activities better than the free play. They already have a love for learning. I’m also guessing these students were just tired from their first week of school. But, I know they loved every second of it.
I keep the same routine everyday so the students know what to expect.
Our day starts off with circle time. At circle time, we do calendar and weather. I also introduce the theme for the day and we do a short activity or have a short discussion on the theme. Mother Goose Time included community activities this year. They are wonderful! They involve all students and teach them a life skill. This month, a lot of the skills are learning how to work together and give each other our own space. Today we learned about being kind to others.
Next is the investigation station. Sometimes there is an activity for the day that asks a great questions and will help the students explore the theme for the day that I’ll use for our investigation station. And sometimes I take the activities from the STEAM stations in the front of the lesson plan book. These stations help students explore a concept and discover answers for themselves. They also discover questions that they might have and we can discover the answers together.
Today we talked about keeping our bones safe. A student asked, “Why do we need to keep our bones safe?” This started a discussion on why our bones need protection, what they are for, and how we can keep them safe from harm. We pretended pencils were our bones and we covered them up with play dough (which we pretended was our skin.)
At story time, I read a story that relates to the theme.
Art: Make and Play OR Invitation to Create
Art is probably one of my favorite times of the day. It’s when we have the most fun exploring and figuring things out the way we want things to be. I always ask a lot of questions to get the students thinking. And they always have a lot of insight about what they know about a topic. The “make-and-play” activities are fun because the students can usually play with what they made during free play. “Invitation to Create” pieces are a little messy and don’t always look great, but the process the students go through to create their masterpiece is amazing. I have had students walk me through what they were doing and had them do “think alouds” as they created their artwork. It’s amazing how their little minds work and how they connect what they are learning to what they already know about a topic.
We wash our hands and eat our snack.
Outdoor play is a new area I have added to my curriculum in the last year. I usually do it at the end of the day. But, since it is still so hot outside where I live, we have to limit our outdoor time to 5 minutes. So, I have started doing brief outdoor activities that go along with the theme for the day right after snack when it’s still shady and a little bit cooler. I use the outdoor activity ideas found in the front of each week’s lesson plan book. They are written with the STEAM Stations. When it cools off, I will move this to the end of the day. I let the students explore the outdoors until their parents arrive to pick them up at the end of the day.
We learn a new letter, word family, or sight words each preschool day. This year, I am making an alphabet book for each of the students. Each month, they will color three new letter coloring pages. I will stick them in a book to review with the students throughout the year. Then, the students will take home the book at the end of the year.
Students get to free play! This is suppose to be the most fun part of the day. But, I have a feeling that my students are going to like learning better than playing.
Math is at the end of the day. We learn numbers, shapes, colors, and patterns.
Closing time is where I have them reflect and share one thing that they did that day that they could share with their families. The last thing we do is music and movement. The students dance to a song as part of reviewing what we learned that preschool day.
All activities are short and fast so the students don’t get bored or lose interest. We are constantly moving from one activity to another. They get a break during snack time and free play. But, they don’t mind because they know breaks are coming. We have an established routine that helps kids know what is coming up next. Behavior is better with an established routine as well because students know when it’s time to play and they know when it’s time to work.
** I receive curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 3rd year using Mother Goose Time, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Mother Goose Time!