When the children first arrive at school, they will put their lunch box away and hang up a sweater or jacket. Some children will choose an activity from the shelf right away, and others will greet friends and observe for a while. The teachers may invite certain children to work on specific activities, such as reading or number work. At the beginning of a new term, half to two-thirds of the class are returning and can go right to work. New children are quickly shown some basic activities to integrate them into the classroom quickly. More detailed evaluation and presentations follow soon.
From arrival until about 10:30 a.m. usually one teacher will be working with a child, or small group, while the other teacher is circulating throughout the class helping when needed. This is the “work time” in a Montessori classroom. Most children are working independently with guidance and instruction from the teacher. This is the period when the children work with Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Art, Language, and Science activities. In addition, a reading area for the children is available.
At clean up time (about 10:30 a.m.) the teacher will ring the bell and children put away their work, They are ready for circle time.
When it is circle time, the children will gather in a group for the day’s lesson. During the first circle time, the children may discuss the calendar, phonetic sound of the week or lesson such as Geography, Nutrition, Community Helpers, Dinosaurs, or some other monthly “unit.” A second circle time during the day may be devoted to such things as music, dance and movement, or story reading. Snack will be introduced during the morning work time. Usually snack will be left on a table with signs letting children know how much to take. They serve themselves at the table and then clean up the area when they are finished.
By 12:30 pm. the half-day children leave school. After recess, the full day children come into the classroom to wash their hands and have a story time. The children whose parents have indicated that they should nap will be shown a cot with their blanket and pillow as the other children have a “quiet” time with a story. After the story, when the napping children have fallen asleep, the older children will again have an afternoon work period. Those waking from their naps will later join the children who are working with the materials.
By 2:45 p.m. the children will begin to clean up their afternoon projects, come together for the end of the day circle time and will either be picked up or go outside for play. At 3:15 p.m., extended care begins.
Children are supervised from 3:15 p.m. to 6:00pm. in after school care. From 3:00-4:00 pm they are allowed to play outside on the playground. At 4:00 pm the children line up, are brought inside and again come to circle time. After they are allowed to wash hands and rejoin the circle, they will have an activity such as story time, games or singing. At about 4:30 pm they choose among appropriate toys, puzzles, games, art activities, etc. which the after school teachers have set up for them. During this time optional classes are available, such as Dance, Art, Playball, Woodworking, Spanish, Gymnastics and Science are available. Snack is available throughout this period. Parents pick up children during this period and leave at individual times, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm