Today I'd like to share our morning routine with you. My school is in my home, and I've created a combination preschool, kindergarten, and home child-care. Children arrive any time after 7:30am, we eat breakfast around 8 am, and by 8:30 we're ready to learn. This is how we start the structured learning part of each day.
We sing and dance! Children love to move, and they learn best when they are moving, listening, looking at and joining in with engaging activities, so we start each day with 20-30 minutes of active learning with youtube.com. I've created a play list for each week of the school year, so it's super easy for me to pull it up on the computer. Each playlist starts with something energetic! Here the kiddos are enjoying I Like To Move It, from Madagascar.
Other, really useful channels to find learning songs include Heidi Songs, Harry Kindergarten Music, Dr. Jean and The Learning Station.
When singing and dancing is finished, the kiddos sit on the carpet, and I draw them back together with an alphabet activity. Some days we recite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as I point to the letters on my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree, other days we chant the alphabet, and sounds. Here the kids are pretending to eat an apple as they say, "A is for apple, a a a."
I ask 3 kiddos to tell me something we have zero of (lions, sharks, and unicorns today), and then let everyone else whisper their idea to a friend. Then we jump and count!
While we're standing up we do the pledge to the flag, standing tall and proud, showing respectful body language. I made up a little rhyme to help the kiddos remember the names of our flag:
The Red, White and Blue,
Old Glory too,
The Stars and Stripes,
We respect you!
We sit back down, and look out the window, and on the count of 3, everyone whispers what our weather looks like, so we can graph it. Thr child in the next picture is signing "equal", because we've had 0 snowy days and 0 rainy days so far this month.
I ask questions about our graph, from easy (How many ___ days?) to challenging (How many more ___ than ____?) We always notice what has the most, and what has the fewest!
The last thing we do is look at the calendar. I use a picture pattern for the calendar numbers, and we always start several days back, and count-on to find out what number we need. We don't start counting at 1 every time, because counting-on is an important pre-addition skill, and one preschoolers might not otherwise experience. We say the pattern too, starting several days back, and continuing the pattern to discover which picture we need. This month our calendar numbers have shamrocks on one side, and rainbows on the other.
We finish by singing and dancing to Dr. Jean's Macarena Months song, and the Days of the Week song. With that last dance, the children are ready to sit down for a quick story and lesson, or whatever we have planned for the morning.
As you can see, our "Preschool" time is very active, and very musical. We include a lot of things! Over 20 years of teaching, I've found that daily repetition is key to students remembering.
Next time I'll tell you more about what comes after our preschool routine!