At any Children, Inc. center you will see their vision of preparing all young children for school and life coming to fruition.
At Treasure House, one of Children, Inc.’s centers, preschoolers have a full day of fun, learning, playing, and interacting ahead of them each time they step foot into their classrooms.
Treasure House has two Montessori classrooms in their center. Montessori environments allow the child to develop naturally, at their own pace. Children in a Montessori classroom learn based on their own interests; primarily through hands on experiences with carefully prepared materials. The teacher in a Montessori classroom is specially trained to connect the children to these materials and guide them. This method encourages independence and the development of intrinsic motivation instead of external praise and rewards. What follows depicts the day of the preschoolers in one of those Montessori classrooms.
Preschoolers at Treasure House can choose from math, language, cultural, practical life (an area of the classroom unique to Montessori environments), art, geography and many more. Five year old, Jozilynne smiles, saying, “I love everything at school!”
6:15 a.m. Treasure House opens their doors. Children from infants to five year olds tiredly come in, followed by hugs and kisses for their families, and then greet their teachers and friends. Until about 8:30 a.m. children have “free choice” of materials in the classroom, eat a yummy and healthy breakfast of cereal, milk, and fruit, and can either interact with one another or do something quietly on their own.
A little shy, Addi (3 years old) sits quietly in the “reading center” looking at pictures of animals. Sarah (3 years old) plays nurse with her friend Lucy (3 ½ years old). Playing nurse is both of the girl’s favorite thing to play. “Dominic, come back, it doesn’t hurt!” Sarah yelled, referring to the “shot” Dominic was about to receive.
8:30 a.m. the children head outside to run and play. Weather permitting, the children run, climb, jump, and move their bodies throughout the playground. With slides, tire swings, bikes, balls, and so much more the children burn off a little energy to make sure their bodies are ready for a day filled with learning and fun. If the weather doesn’t permit outside play the children head to the “indoor gym” area to burn off some of that energy.
9:00 a.m. children meet on the circle. Coming in from outside the children meet as a group to discuss the day’s events, review the day of the week, and sing fun learning songs about the days of the week. After about 15 minutes of group time the children break up in to pairs or individually go and choose an activity from the shelf. Five year old Robert grabs the spindle boxes and begins working with them. “Sometimes I forget my numbers so I do counting works,” said Robert. He has two wooden boxes with sections labeled “0”-“9,” Robert divides the sticks, putting the appropriate amount in each section. Pointing to the zero section with no sticks in it, “Zero means none, so no sticks are in there,” he explains. Through his work with spindle boxes, Robert has experienced the physical, concrete concept of quantity and related that to the abstract concept of numerical symbol. Not only can he recognize the symbol for 5, he knows what it looks and feels like.
10:30 a.m. children are offered a morning snack. While working with different materials and things off of the shelves about four children at a time come to a table to enjoy a morning snack of cheesy crackers and water. The room becomes a little louder with the children less concentrated on their “work.” Lydia (5 years old), Jozilynne (5 years old), and Jah’Zarah (4 years old) sing songs while coloring and waiting for their turn to eat.
11:45 a.m. children meet on the circle and then head outside. For about 15 minutes the children meet with their teacher on the circle carpet to read a story, sing, and talk. At noon half of the children head outside with one teacher, while the other half helps the other teacher prepare for “rest/nap time” for after lunch. After preparing the cots, blankets, and sheets the other half of the room heads outside to join their class.
12:30 p.m. lunch is served. After washing their hands and sitting nicely the children are served a nutritious lunch with protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. “I like the mashed potatoes,” exclaimed a hungry 3 ½ year old Lucy. After the children are finished eating they scrape off their plates, wash their faces and hands and wait for their friends to finish eating their lunches.
1:10 p.m. the children climb on top of their cots for “rest time.” Resting lasts until about 3:10 p.m. While some children quickly fall asleep, others will not. For the children who can’t fall asleep, after their friends are asleep they are welcomed to read on their cots or do a quiet activity at the tables such as puzzles or art.
3:10 p.m. the children wake up; eat snack, play, and say goodbye to friends and teachers. After the children wake up from “rest time” they are served snack and have “free choice” of activities in the classroom. Weather permitting; they may head back outside, or head to the indoor gym. Children leave with families saying “goodbye” and “see you tomorrow” as they head out the door. At 5:30 p.m. when the last child says “goodbye” Treasure House closes its doors until the next morning.
To learn more about Children, Inc.’s Early Learning Center locations, visit this link.