Five year old Reanna carefully sews a button on a piece of fabric.
Reanna joins 3 year old Jimmy, and they sit side by side in comfortable library chairs looking through the book silently. Then Reanna selects another book and reads to him. Five year old Maggie takes out a rug and the movable alphabet. She uses small objects from a basket. She chooses an object. It is a small mop. Maggie says the word “mop” out loud. Then she chooses the letter “M” from the alphabet box. She says the word mop again, slowly sounding out each letter. “M-O-P.” Then she chooses the letter “O” from the box. Next Maggie finds the last sound, “P.” Maggie sounds out several more words, first choosing an object, then sounding out the word with the letters. Maggie puts this work away.
Reanna counts and labels beads on the 1000 chain as four year old Hope looks on.
The children sing songs and discuss the calendar together. They role play how to wait patiently when a teacher is working with another student. The teacher ends circle time by reading a story to the children.
The teacher calls the children two at a time to go to the bathroom, put on their coats, and line up to go outside to play. Reanna plays soccer with the five year olds on the field. Jimmy and his two friends help a teacher cut flowers from the garden for flower arranging. The rest of the group enters our spacious, tree lined playground. They play tag, hula hoop, and kick balls. While swinging on the monkey bars, some of the children sing a song that they learned during circle time. “We love this song,” they call out to their teacher.
The teacher gather and walk Reanna and her classmates back to class. As they are walking into the building, the teacher points the different types of trees that grow on Bala House’s campus.
The teacher asks the children to join her at the circle. She holds up name cards one at a time. The children quietly peer at the names. Upon reading their name, they either prepare for lunch or prepare for dismissal if their day ends at 12 pm.
Children staying for lunch wash their hands, gather their lunchboxes and placemats, and sit at the tables. They children open their lunchboxes, set out their food on placemats, unfold their napkins and place them on their laps, and then place their lunchboxes under their chairs. They sit, talk, and eat. Hope has a squeeze yogurt in her lunchbox. She tries to tear the top off, but it won’t come off. Reanna gets up and gets a pair of scissors and offers them to Hope. She cuts the end of her wrapper off then puts the scissors away. Hope notices Reanna using the apple slicer to cut her own apple and thinks to herself that she might bring an apple in her lunchbox tomorrow.
The children finish lunch and begin to clean up. They put away lunchboxes, sweep, sponge their placemat and table, and put any leftover food in the trash. Hope reminds Reanna that apple cores can go into the trash.
The teacher calls the children one at a time to line up to go outside to have some more fun on the playground. Outside, a teacher helps two children plant seeds in the garden, several friends dig in the sandbox, and a group of boys and girls play soccer.
The teachers gather and walk Reanna and the other kindergartners back to class. While in circle, the teacher reminds them that later in the week they will travel to a nearby Japanese house and garden for an afternoon tour. Then she folds a sheet of paper into the shape of a frog to demonstrate Japanese origami to the class.
Each kindergarten student collects their personal workbox containing crayons, glue, pencil, and scissors. They have the choice to work on their own book about Japan either at a table or on the floor. Reanna selects some photos, writes a page of Japanese characters, and colors a Japanese flag for her book.
As each kindergartner finishes working on their books, they put away their work and decide what other activities they will do during the afternoon. Reanna finds a vase, selects several fresh flowers, and makes an arrangement for the Japanese feast tomorrow. Maggie practices picking up pom poms with a set of chopsticks so she will be ready to pick up real noodles at tomorrow’s feast. Since Shuntaro is especially interested in Japan, he takes out the large puzzle map of Asia and completes it. David walks to the office with a teacher. He copies the Kindergarten News he wrote and illustrated the day before about the upcoming feast and trip. He sounded out and wrote each of the words on his own. Ben and Tyler are sitting at a table with a teacher making their own origami baskets.
Reanna reviews two pages of long vowels in her phonics workbook. David reads a book he borrowed from his teacher in the library corner. Today she will take home a new book to practice reading with her family. Shuntaro writes and illustrates a story in his journal about a recent family trip to Florida. In the writing center, Maggie creates a sign advertising the upcoming kindergarten community service project. She urges everyone to buy lemonade at the Alex’s Lemonade stand the kindergarten students will run at our upcoming school wide Earth Day celebration. When it is finished, she hangs it in the hall.
Across the room, Reanna completes several four digit addition problems using the Montessori golden beads. She builds the numbers first with the beads, then joins them together in piles, and finally counts and writes how many units, tens, hundreds and thousands she has. Reanna puts her paper in her cubby and returns all work to the shelf. David is nearby sorting and laying out all the numeral tiles from 1 to 100 on a board. Maggie walks by and starts counting numbers in Spanish. She just learned to count in Spanish class in the morning. Maggie pauses from her work to correct “ocho,” and they both laugh together. Shuntaro sits on the floor matching clock labels to the correct times on wooden clock cards. Mark is hungry. He puts on an apron, washes his hands, and cut his own melon balls for a little snack. When he is done, Mark washes and dries the dishes and sets it all up again so others can have a turn.
In another part of the room, Reanna and David finish building their own Japanese house in the block corner they started yesterday. Today they surround it with tiny artificial flowers to make a garden. They discuss making a sign for it and adding some little people. Maggie and Shuntaro play checkers at a table. Ben and Tyler chat together and make snakes at the play dough table. Julia paints flowers at the easel while her friend Mary glues a pink tissue collage at the art table.
Reanna, the Child of the Day, rings the bell. The kindergarten students clean up their work and begin their classroom jobs. To prepare the class for the next day, Maggie rolls the mats, David pushes in the chairs, and Shuntaro closes the paint containers. Every month their jobs change. Afterwards, they each sit on the rug and listen to the teacher read The Old Man Who Made Trees Bloom, a Japanese folktale.
The teacher gathers the children who stay until 4, 5, or 5:45 p.m. and walks them across the hall to the extended care room. Another teacher calls the children who leave at 3:00 p.m. and walks them to the red benches lined up outside the school. Reanna and a few of her kindergarten friends board the waiting school bus while Shuntaro and the others get in their parents cars idling in the car line.