The Connecting classes are typically composed of up to 18 children who turn 4-years-old in the fall of the school year. Two to three teachers staff the classroom and additional resource teachers support the class throughout the week. We have one morning and one afternoon session and students attend five days per week; morning students attend for four hours per day and afternoon students attend for three hours. Both the morning and afternoon classes may extend their days with lunch and enrichment opportunities (Smokey’s Bounders).
Interactive Play – The teachers help the children settle in to the class for the day. As the children play with one another, the teachers assist them in strengthening their interests and friendships, facilitating problem solving and effective communication. The children are encouraged to take advantage of the different activities in the room. Drawing and writing are especially supported throughout the morning.
Meeting – The teachers and children discuss the plan for the day, topics of interest and bits of news. Role playing and singing are often a part of this time.
Small Group Time – This time revolves around projects of interest to the children and class themes. Small groups of children may leave to work with a resource teacher for Science, Sensory Art, Studio Art, and Music. The teachers are then able to work with the remaining students, giving each child individualized attention. The teachers encourage writing and drawing in a playful manner. Teachers guide the students to learn to write their names and other words of interest. Through games, children become more familiar with numerals and math concepts.
Book Time – Children have the opportunity to first “read” books on their own, followed by story time with the teachers. Teachers hone language arts, comprehension and listening skills by asking children questions about what they heard and saw. Using the children’s interest as a springboard, teachers design playful activities to strengthen reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary.
Self-Responsibility – Children engage in room clean-up accompanied by upbeat music. Once the room is tidy, they often dance in celebration of their joint effort. Then comes hand-washing and snack time, served and cleaned up family-style. Learning to care for oneself is emphasized throughout the day, and especially at the end of the day when the children are encouraged to dress themselves, as much as possible, for going outside to play.
Enrichment – Students transition once per week in small groups to special classes in Music, Sensory and Studio Art and Science/Nature.
Large Motor and Active Exploration – Children have an opportunity to develop large motor skills and safe play in the multi-purpose room and on the playground. They learn to appreciate nature and the outdoors through exploration on the playground, gardens and during Nature class.