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? Let’s take a peek at a typical day at Spanish Schoolhouse.
The first thing you’ll notice after drop-off is an intriguing 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.
Let’s tiptoe over and peek in the Centers room, a favorite with the children! A few of the 2’s are playing side by side, putting things in a shopping basket and taking them out again. 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 the food, serving the food, eating the food, sharing the food and taking turns with each task. 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/Spanish starts to shift.
Even the lunch break provides a wonderful learning opportunity (and a comfortable bridge between English and Spanish.) 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.
Spanish Circle Time
Here 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, comparing more and less. 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 – with 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!
Next, we pop into English class. This 30-minute class is a shift in gears for the children as all instruction is done in English! The friendly English teacher visits the children in the 3 and 4-year-old classes. Together they’ll to work on developing early literacy skills. They start with the calendar where one-to-one matching, reading left to right and return sweep are all modeled. Math concepts are naturally slipped in such as number identification, patterning, and counting by 5s. The children help choose the story by voting and counting votes.
Handwriting without Tears®
Back to Spanish class! Handwriting is all about papers 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 handwriting. Let’s take a peek! The 2’s are learning about big lines/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.
A Lot of Learning and a Lot of Fun!
As you can see, a day at Spanish Schoolhouse is packed with learning, and this post only covers part of a typical day! No matter what daily activity we’re 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!