We follow our daily schedule quite closely so as a result, my group is quite familiar with the sequence of our day. Actually, just the other day, I caught them reading the routine chart. They took turns trying to cover over the list as quickly as they could. So cute!
So that’s how our daily routine goes for the most part. I do try to keep to our schedule and routine because it works for us. One of my little guys asks his dad every day when he’s going to pick him up. Every day the dad says “After your nap, eat your snack and then I will come.” We’ve shown him on the routine chart where that is. He accepts this and smiles. Every day. Kids just need to know what to expect. Children respond to routine and structure because it makes them feel safe and secure. Children also feel in control and competent when a routine is followed.
Circle time is very much looked forward to here. We keep it brief – sometimes it’s longer than other days but it needs to be developmentally appropriate. It’s not fun and no one is learning if everyone is not cooperating or you’re trying to force them to sit. We make sure to:
- Update the calendar piece: perhaps talk about what season it is and what holidays/special events are coming next. Sometimes review the days of the week. Count the days we’ve filled on the calendar so far. More Calendar Math ideas.
- Talk about the weather: Look outside and see what’s happening in the sky, talk about how it feels, update the weather image
- View the daily topic page and discuss the question listed on it and have conversation about anything related (or not related! Ha)
- Sing the Opening Song
Then we might move on to music and movement or go to the table and do a math activity or read a story. Usually, at the end we go to the counter to do art or our writing activity.
Facilitating circle time can be intimidating but if you follow the children’s lead, it works out. If an activity is not working, or if circle time just doesn’t seem to be effective, move on. Sometimes children come and go. They are still in tune with what’s happening so they hear what we’re talking about. They may return to participate in what’s next. I just require them to play quietly so they do not interrupt the rest of us. The Teaching Guide (see photo above) directs the circle time process and gives tips for the different activities covered. Here are 3 Tips for Circle Time and 10 New Ways to Shake Up Circle Time. There’s definitely a need for balance between predictable and not boring.
During outdoor play or free time, we often use suggestions from the Teacher Journal. There’s time to explore Investigation Stations. Usually, there are so many ideas I can’t get to them all but choosing a couple to mix up our centers, keeps kids’ interest. Having a daily routine helps the group anticipate learning and they look forward to circle time, music and movement and story time. Honestly, some days we do more and some days we do less.
Our schedule and routine support a routine of caring. A day with Mother Goose Time can be really full if we’re attempting to accomplish everything in the book but we must be focused on the needs of the child first so pick and choose the activities that will benefit the children you are working with most.
A routine of caring includes caring for our toys and materials during clean up, and care for each other. Having time between activities and flexibility in our day also allows for moments like this – A bumped her shin on a wood chair while we were working on our Little Journals. G said, “I’ll read you a book! I’ll get you an ice pack!” and that’s what she did. These are two of our options that we use to help a friend feel better. I was so pleased to see her come up with this on her own. We need time in our day for this, because in the end, it’s what’s most important – each other. We want to teach compassion. So even though Mother Goose Time includes so many wonderful resources, we don’t always get to do all the activities. We do what we can and I tailor the day to fit our needs but the curriculum is definitely flexible enough to meet our needs. The Friendly Bees lessons can be incorporated at times like this.
Mother Goose Time believes that learning is a process of inquiry and investigation. I think our Fizzy Ice Science & Sensory Play demonstrates this process. You can see the children participating in the activity, hands on, freely exploring. Responding to their comments and actions, adds discussion and an opportunity to adapt the play experience to fit their previous knowledge and background. It is necessary to give children time and opportunity to explore materials and activities using all their senses and to be there, listening and supporting their play with open-ended questions and responding to their learning. This helps us learn from our children – see what they already know, what they are ready or not ready for in the future. It helps us guide their learning in the moment and for the future.
Transitions are that time when children are moving from one activity to another. Like free play time to clean up time. Clean up time to handwashing. Handwashing to snack time. Helping children switch from one activity to another can be challenging. Most of the time, my group really responds to the activity I am presenting or offering but every day is a different story. During this time, children may need your support moving from one activity to another so being prepared is key. I’ve realized over the years that always being ahead of the game is necessary.
Mother Goose Time curriculum definitely helps me be prepared and have our materials organized quickly because our days move at lightening speed.
Using a specific song to indicate it’s time for circle time is effective. There is a Mother Goose Time theme song for this purpose. Another sound we use to capture attention is the wooden stir box to indicate story time. Planning transitions into your day will prevent some challenging behaviors. Read this article at Child Care Lounge for some excellent tips and advice on using transitions in child care.
Sometimes our activities are short-lived and other times they hold interest longer. Certainly some can be extended them into bigger projects, although I’m not sure I have a current example of that. Most often, though, we use the materials at circle time or in small groups. Then I put the game or activity on the activity cart with a variety of Preschool Activity Trays or in the centers around our room for them to explore again later. Preschool Activity Trays 2. Mother Goose Time definitely allows for the flexibility in our day that we need when working with young children. Any extra materials may be put in our scrap box on the art cart to use in collaging for free time art experiences. Daily routines, a routine of caring, the learning process and using transitions is all a part of inspired learning with Mother Goose Time.
Daily routines, a routine of caring, the learning process and using transitions is all a part of inspired learning during a day with Mother Goose Time.