The Earth upon and within which we live also lives in rhythmic cycles. Days are predictable: sunrise, midday, evening, nightfall, moonrise. The 4 seasons persist, year after year after millennium. We know them well. We breathe in the warmth of spring air, as we emerge from the dark inner days of winter, followed by the exhale of summer, with outdoor play and the drinking in of the warmest sun's nourishment. As the days shorten and cool, we return to our busy days of planning ahead for the winter.
Rhythm and routines prepare us to live successfully. We begin developing the discipline of order and structure in early childhood. Babies and preschoolers function best when they keep regular wake/sleep times, meal times, and play times. A reverent blessing of the food at mealtime teaches children the value of mindfulness and gratitude and sets the stage for a peaceful meal.
The Unity School values the rhythm of the school day and adheres to a predictable schedule the children come to anticipate.
Day in the life of a multi aged kindergarten during our outdoor days…
The children will be greeted by the teacher and welcomed into our outdoor classroom space where they will then be led on a daily walk through a forested area adjacent to the playground for outdoor exploration, socialization, and play. Our gross motor skills are at work as we navigate the unlevel terrain together along with social and emotional skills as we negotiate and collaborate in our work and play.
Upon returning from our initial classroom hike and outdoor journey we will gather together in a morning circle of poetry, song, and movement. This offers us the time to come together for connection, and further awaken our bodies while we welcome the current season. Circle time will be held in a space suitable for appropriate social distancing.
Along with these wonderful opportunities to play and explore, the kindergarten class will also spend time with many different artistic activities including painting, crayon drawing, beeswax modeling and finger knitting. These activities develop fine motor skills and the ability to focus on a task for a lengthened amount of time.
We will end our day with Storytime. This will offer the children the opportunity to enjoy the wonderment of our beautiful curriculum, while they begin to develop important pre-literacy skills including comprehension and development of a rich vocabulary. We will close with a verse and make our way to a gradual transition home.
During the afternoons at home, we encourage families to engage children in rest/quiet time, self care, and supportive home/family care. Guidance and examples of this time will be offered and provided for all families as needed.
Day in the life of a multi aged Kindergarten at home when remote days are necessary...
Audio and video lessons will be provided for you and your family to enjoy along with our daily rhythm. Opportunities for live lessons will supplement our beautiful curriculum. Giving your children the opportunity to connect, to feel seen, safe, loved and heard will be our main objective. Through developing this time and relationships with your children, we will then be able to enjoy activities together virtually; such as folding, singing, finger games, poetry and storytelling. Keeping our screen time minimal, we will still be able to absorb socialization and relationship building with each other virtually. .
The school day begins with a warm welcome into the outdoor classroom, as students make the transition from their homes to their school environment. Special attention will be paid to appropriate social distancing to ensure the health of all children during school. The two hour Main Lesson starts each school day. In first grade, Main Lesson is divided between arithmetic, language arts and nature studies, each encompassing multiple weeks. This Main Lesson begins with a mood of reverence as the class speaks in unison the morning verse. Poetry, song, speech, mental math, gross motor and fine motor movements are all essential in the students’ warm up. This warm up awakens the students’ capacity to receive the new material of the day. The previous day's story and already introduced content is then practiced and reviewed in artistic ways, whether through play acting, drawing, beeswax, or oral review. The teacher then guides the class through drawings and writings in their Main Lesson books. Then it is time for the students to settle in for the heart of the main lesson: the story. These tales from all over the world act as soul food for the emotional and social life of the developing first grader.
After Main Lesson, the children have a hearty snack brought from home followed by outside play. The remainder of the day consists of various subject classes. These may include handwork, games, music, painting, and more.
When meeting online is necessary, the school day will begin with a class Google meet. Special attention is paid to each student, as they are welcomed into the virtual classroom and join the whole class. The rhythm of Main Lesson, such as the order of movements, poems, verses, songs etc. is kept as consistent as possible to allow students the opportunity to fully interact in a meaningful way. Following the warm up, the teacher guides the class in an artistic review of the previous day’s lesson and already introduced content. After the review, the students follow the teacher step by step in drawing and writing in their main lesson books. A closing verse will put a wholesome bookend on the Google meet portion of the lesson. Then, students will listen to an audio recording of the new story for the day, allowing students’ space for a much needed in-breath after their hardy virtual work period.
Suggestions for a healthy continuation of the day, such as various enrichment activities, will supplement the virtual Main Lesson.