A Day in the Kindergarten
Life in our Kindergarten can be likened to life in a large family. As early childhood educators we place importance on a consistent rhythm of activities - indoors and outdoors. It is through this regular rhythm that the children come to feel safe and secure in their world.
The daily routine alternates between free-play and group activities (breathing out and breathing in). In free play, children follow their own impulses and act-out their experiences through imitation. In led play, the rhythmical games, songs and stories bring the children into a more concentrated, quieter phase, and a 'common doing.' Each day of the week we also have a particular artistic or creative activity which, together with the weekly repetition of the meal plan, gives the weeks their rhythm.
Here is an example of a normal day in our kindergarten:
Before the children arrive in the morning the teachers prepare the room for the day's play and work. The teachers start the day with 'real' work, as that is how children learn, through imitation. The day's work could include housework, gardening, caring for the Kindergarten (such as polishing furniture or fixing toys), preparing food, as well as artistic and craft work (such as painting or knitting).
As they arrive the children are greeted and can get straight into playing or join the teacher in their work. In their play the children follow their own ideas and impulses. They form little groups that could be at the dolls house, the building corner, in the shop, in the building of houses, ships, cars or aeroplanes. The younger children tend to play more by themselves or are included in the older children's games for example as a passenger on a train, an audience member at the circus, a patient at the hospital or as a client at the hairdresser. Some children like to sit and watch with a teacher before they join the games. Some of the children set the table. During this free play time we have a snack of seasonal fruit.
At the end of this free-play time the teachers tidy up their workspace. This, together with a 'tidy-away' song, naturally leads the children into general tidy-up time in which the children take part in various ways depending on their age. We come together for our morning circle where we recite poems, sing songs and play finger games that reflect the seasons.
With a song and a blessing we begin our morning tea of crackers or freshly baked bread rolls that the children shaped earlier, all seated together at our big wooden table. After morning tea we have our second free-play time out in the garden. (In the heat of summer we have outside playtime in the morning before the sun gets too hot). The children find countless ways to explore the outdoors through their senses and let their imaginations flow freely. Here are a few things the children play with in the garden: movable building/climbing/balance block set, swing, walking on stilts, balancing on logs, climbing trees, use skipping ropes, climbing the hills, with our 'flow-form' water feature, the sandpit and 'dry river bed' with a hose when the weather is warm.
After outside play we wash our hands and come inside for a cooked nutritious lunch. After lunch the children enjoy a story told by the teachers. The same story is repeated over a period of time and is usually told with props and small puppets. This allows the children to find a deeper connection with the story.
Children then find their resting place which has been prepared for them by the teachers. Each child has their own sleeping mat, pillow and rest time doll.Some children will sleep, whilst others rest quietly for a short time to rejuvinate, before going outside once more for a final play and a snack. Older children often take part in crafts, looking at books or baking in the afternoon.
Children are then farewelled as they go home with their parents and caregivers.
Fridays are our 'Forest days.' We stay outside all day (in most weather), cooking morning tea over our open fire.