Oh, to Be a Fly on the Wall
It’s been a few weeks since your child started the school year, you’ve finally mastered the morning routine, and drop-offs are going (mostly) smoothly. Now that you have a moment to stop and take a breath, you begin to wonder, “What are they doing in school all day?” Wouldn’t it be nice to be a fly on the wall in the classroom? Well, the good news is you don’t have to wonder what your preschooler or kindergartner is learning. Let’s take a peek at a typical day at Spanish Schoolhouse Creekside.
Wake Up With a Morning Activity
The first thing you’ll notice after drop-off is an intriguing learning activity on the table for your child to jump into. Let’s say the children are working with play dough– the 2’s are holding it and squishing it through their fingers or mashing it into a big pile, building their finger strength. Next door, the 3’s are rolling it out and using shape cutters. The 4’s might be rolling it between their hands making long “snakes” and then using them to form letters. All are working on developing their fine motor skills at different levels.
The Centers: SSH’s Imagination Station
Let’s tiptoe over and peek in the Centers room, a favorite with the children at Spanish Schoolhouse Creekside. A few of the 2’s are playing side by side– putting things in a shopping basket and then removing them. Later, we spot the 3’s playing with toy cars at the table. Some are having races while others “drive” around. Here come the 4’s! They pretend to work in a restaurant and are taking orders, making food, serving it, eating and sharing the food, and taking turns with each task. Now, you may be wondering– where are the teachers? Oh, they blend right in– subtly observing behaviors, watching to see how the children interact with their friends, and encouraging their imaginations. It’s interesting to hear more and more Spanish in the children’s conversations while they play, as their mix of English and Spanish starts to shift.
Spanish Circle Time
Now we are at the heart of the program! The children are gathered in a circle with the teachers. In the 2-year-old class, they are singing songs and learning about colors through visual aids and hands-on activities. In the 3’s the class is playing color games, and forming groups according to their favorite color. Moving on to the 4’s class, the children are graphing their favorite colors and listing different objects that go with each color. Learning the colors in Spanish is a major goal for these activities, but the bigger opportunity is for the students to learn how to learn! They’re learning how to listen to the teacher– using their eyes, ears, and bodies. They’re learning how to participate in a group– raising their hands and waiting for others to stop speaking before speaking themselves. They learn the “give and take” of communicating with others– taking turns listening and speaking. This is the groundwork for all future learning.
English Literacy Building Time
Next, we pop into English class. This 30-minute class shifts gears and all instruction is instead done in English! Our friendly English teacher visits the children in the 3 and 4-year-old classes. Together they’ll work on developing early literacy skills. They start with calendar fundamentals like one-to-one matching, reading left to right, and return sweep, which is all modeled. Math concepts are naturally slipped in and include number identification, patterning, and counting by 5s. The children may also help choose which story to read by voting and counting votes together.
Handwriting without Tears
Back to Spanish class! Handwriting is all about paper and pencils, right? Actually, there is so much more to it! Handwriting without Tears uses a multi-sensory play-based approach to help children develop their handwriting skills. Let’s take a peek! The 2’s are learning about big lines and little lines using wooden sticks. These are the parts that will make up the letters. Next door in the 3’s they use these same sticks to form the letter of the week or the letters in their name. The 4-year-olds are the big kids! They are forming letters on individual chalkboards, erasing using fingers, and writing in missing parts of letters.
Lunch Break and Vocabulary Expansion
Even the lunch break provides a wonderful learning opportunity. As the children get ready for lunch and begin to eat, we hear teachers using and repeating the Spanish vocabulary for all of the foods. The children ask for help in Spanish, opening their containers. The class repeats a short prayer in Spanish, then “¡A comer!”… Time to eat! This is also a time for the children to interact in a more casual way as they focus on social skills and manners.
A Lot of Learning and a Lot of Fun!
As you can see, a day at Spanish Schoolhouse Creekside is packed with learning activities, and this post only covers a portion of a typical school day. No matter what daily activity your child is involved in, vocabulary is reinforced and language connections are made as children hear and use language throughout the day. Thanks for joining us for a preview of some typical activities in our school day. Keep an eye out for another peek at more activities in a future post.