A typical morning…

The children arrive and put their belongings in their “cubbies” which need to be appropriately labeled with their names and perhaps some pictures.

They often come together in a circle to talk about the morning’s activities. The children may take the roll, name the day of the week, note the date and the temperature. If a particular child is having a birthday, this is duly noted, etc…

Children may participate in “Show and Tell” activity. After “Show and Tell”, the children will often disperse to different interest areas. A skilled teacher makes sure that children have a variety of experiences and do not spend their time exclusively in one area. The teacher will work with individual children or with small groups on special projects.

Towards the middle of the morning, all the children come together for a snack.

It is in the small group activities that the skill of the early-childhood educator is evident. Effective early-childhood education always involves knowing how to avoid either over- or under structuring an activity.

Choosing the right materials is as important as being able to follow up on the direction of a child’s thinking.

After the individual and small group activity, the children may engage in one or another large-group activity. Sometimes the teacher will read a story to the children; sometimes they will sing songs or play a game…

After this group activity, the children will usually go outdoors to the play area. After the outside play, children usually come back for a quiet activity or lunch and they prepare to go home.

If it is a full day program, the afternoon is generally less active than the morning. Most children, like most adults, learn best in the morning, and that is the time for the most demanding intellectual tasks. Moreover, the energy reserves of young children are usually run down by early afternoon, and many preschool youngsters are ready for a nap. Full day programs should have portable cots or mats for children to rest on.

This is just a brief overview of the philosophy of David Elkind. His books The Hurried Child , Miseducation and All Grown up and No Place to Go are available in most book stores.