School days are specifically organized to allow for a balance of active and quiet times so that children will have the focus and energy they need to participate fully at all times, from large groups, to small groups and individual activities.
- 9:00 - Children arrive and free play occurs
- 9:15 - Big playground time
- 9:45 - Back into school for Circle Time
- 10:10 - Hand washing
- 10:15 - Snack time
- 10:30 - Circle time
- 10:45 - Group time and table activities
- 11:45 - Free play time inside and outside
- 12:25 - Clean up
- 12:35 - Circle time
- 12:45 - Hand washing
- 12:50 - Lunch
- 1:00 - Parents arrive; the school day ends
Parent workday positions
Below is description of the jobs that parents assume as parent-teachers during their workday at the school. The positions rotate weekly, so parents get an opportunity to experience every position at the school.
- Security - Remains at security post throughout the day; makes certain no child leaves the schoolyard without his parent.
- Art Facilitator - Sets up easel; prepares and assists with art project for the day; helps set up outdoor equipment.
- Kitchen - Cleans and sanitizes kitchen and bathroom at the beginning and end of the day; prepares snack; prepare leftovers to return home with snack provider.
- Indoor Games - Sets up tables and chairs indoors; arranges activities on tables and on the rug; encourages children to draw pictures for Friend of the Week.
- Outdoor Interests - Sets up outdoor equipment; after snack, sets up outdoor activity and plays with children.
- Teacher's Assistant - Remains inside the schoolroom to assist the teachers; helps gather children onto the rug during group time.
Tips for Working with the Children
The way we look at it, you already know a lot about working with children. On your school workday you will simply give the same loving guidance you offer your own child to the other children at the co-op. Parent workers and teachers need to work together to provide consistent guidance and clear expectations for the children when they are at school. With that in mind we ask you to follow these guidelines:
- Praise positive behavior. "I like the way you're listening to me today."
- Let the children do their own artwork. Refrain from helping the children or making samples. If a child ask for help say "You're doing a fine job on your own. I like the way you used blue in this corner."
- Warn the children of impending changes. "It will be clean up time in 5 minutes."
- Get down to the children's level. When speaking to a child, kneel down so that you can look each other in the eye comfortably.
- Don't give the child choice if there isn't one. "Now it's time to wash our hands." Not, "Do you want to wash your hands?"
- Don't yell from a distance. Get close to the child when you need to deal with a situation and speak in a calm, clear voice.
- Encourage sharing. "Jack has the bike now, but you can use it in a few minutes." Or, "You can take turns with the red shovel, then you both get to use it."
- Find creative ways to get the children to clean up. Instead of saying, "You have to help clean up." Say, "See if you can put away five things that are red."
- Don't worry if your child is clingy. Accept his or her need to be close to you and work around it. We've all been there at one time or another, so the other parents will do what they can to help out.
Using Positive Guidance
Positive guidance is a way of providing guidance to children by speaking to them in a way that focuses on building up a child’s self-control rather than soley focusing on a behavioral outcome. The idea is that it is not the job of parents and teachers to eliminate conflict, disappointment, and frustration from the lives of our children, but rather to teach children how to appropriately deal with those situations and emotions. To that end, below is a table that illustrates how to talk to children using the principles of positive guidance.
|Don't Climb||You need to climb down and stay on the ground. You'll learn to climb that very soon.|
|What a big girl / boy!||You've learned how to do that very well.|
|Big boys / girls don't cry.||I know that hurts. Do you need an ice pack?|
|Don't hit.||You may not hit him. You need to use your words to tell him how you feel.|
|Don't whine.||I can't understand you when you speak that way. Can you say it again in your normal voice?|
|Don't throw sand.||Keep the sand low.|
|Stop bothering her / him.||You need to keep your hands to your own body.|
|What did you make?||Tell me about your picture.|
|Take turns or I'll take the toy away.||The shovel belongs to all of us, so we need to take turns. I'll make sure you get your turn.|
|Don't interrupt.||I'm talking / listening to Holly right now. I'll listen to you next.|
|Stop or you won't get a turn.||I think you can wait for your turn. You won't get your turn any sooner by pushing your friends.|
|Why did you drop those?||That was an accident. Let's clean it up together.|
|Get over here now.||If you can't come by yourself, I can help you.|