A Predictable, Flexible Routine
In High/Scope infant and toddler settings caregivers establish a daily schedule that is predictable yet flexible and that provides a balance of learning experiences.
Caregivers maintain the overall routine as consistently as possible, while flexing it to accommodate individual children's natural rhythms and temperaments. Although each High/Scope program decides on the routine that works best for its setting, schedule, and children, the segments described in the section that follows are always included during the program day. It is up to the program to decide the length and order of the segments, whether particular segments will be repeated, and the content of the experiences in each segment.
? DAILY SCHEDULE COMPONENTS
Arrivals and Departures
Caregiving routines (meals, rests and naps, diapering, etc.)
Adult team planning time
(Starting and ending times are flexible.)
The primary infant and toddler daily routine components are arrivals/departures, one or more group times, choice time, and outside time. Additionally, the day includes caregiving routines such as naptime, meal times, and other forms of bodily care (for example, diapering, using the toilet, washing, and dressing). For some older toddlers, the routine also includes planning and recalling. Transition times occur between each of the daily routine components.
Each child's individual schedule is anchored around a primary caregiver who strives to understand the child's individual temperament and assists with smooth transitions between segments. Having this caregiver as a "home base" provides the very young child with a sense of security while away from home.
Parts of the ROUTINE
Here's what each part of the routine looks like:
Arrivals and departures. Caregivers work with parents to ensure that arrivals and departures are pleasant and reassuring for children. These times allow children to extend the bonds of trust they have with their parents to new adults—the caregivers in the program. The physical locations where arrivals and departures take place depend on the needs of children and their parents. It is important that adults take cues from the individual children about how the children feel while entering and leaving the care setting.
Group times. In small groups of older infants and toddlers, caregivers provide a particular set of materials for children to explore in a common activity. This way children remain in close contact with the caregiver while having a shared experience with other children. Although the adults introduce the activities, children remain free to make choices about materials and how to use them. Adults follow the children's cues (for example, deciding how long the activity lasts, based on children's interest levels).
Choice time. During this part of the daily routine, caregivers are attentive and offer emotional and physical support to children as the children play and explore their environment at their own pace. Caregivers tailor their responses to children's ideas, engage in give-and-take communication with the children, imitate children's actions, support children's play with other children, and assist children in problem solving. They also support older toddlers in planning and recalling their choice-time activities.
Outside time. This segment of the day allows infants and toddlers to explore the outdoor world. Using strategies similar to those employed at choice time, adults support children's exploration and interests, providing open-ended materials and a variety of experiences. When not in a stroller or a caregiver's arms, young infants who are not yet crawling will spend time on a blanket lying on their backs and looking around, reaching for objects, and feeling the sun and air. Older infants sit and explore toys and natural objects, crawl, and pull themselves up to a stand. With assistance, they may swing or go for a wagon ride. Toddlers will use the open area of the play space for a wide range of physical movements, simple games, and problem solving as they pursue their interests.
Bodily care routines. In addition to strengthening bonds with children during bodily care times, caregivers also use them as opportunities to share control by finding ways for the children to play an active role. Caregivers fit these times around children's exploration and play. Frequency of naps is based around each child's individual needs, with quiet alternatives provided for non-nappers. Adults also accommodate children's individual styles of waking up. Similarly, adults take cues from children about feedings and diaper changes rather than asserting control to make the schedule more convenient for themselves.
Transitions. The timing of transitions is flexible, based on children's needs and engagement in their play, and the shift in events or activities should be kept low-key and comfortable. Caregivers organize the parts of your day in a logical fashion, just as one would do in one's personal routine. They strive to avoid unnecessary transitions, such as having children remove all their outdoor wear after playing outside and then putting it back on again to go home after a brief indoor group time.
Adult team planning time. This time happens every day in a High/Scope program. It can occur during children's nap time, before children arrive, or after they leave. The teaching team meets to discuss their observations of children's developing abilities and interests, focusing on these observations as they plan activities and review the materials in the classroom.
It is important to plan a daily routine that makes sense to children and flexes to meet their needs, yet is consistent. Following the same routine day after day gives infants and a toddlers the sense of security they need to make choices and take risks, which will open the door to exciting learning opportunities.
Planned learning experiences in curriculum content areas
Children benefit from a variety of regular group experiences in High/Scope Preschool programs. These scheduled parts of the day include small-group time, large-group time, and transition times. At right are links to some sample activities for these times. These are intended as representative plans that adults can use as models as they develop their own group activities. As you are using the ideas in these samples, be sure to adapt them to the interests, developmental levels, and learning needs of the children in your group. The materials listed under "Related Products" are publications that contain additional small- and large-group activity plans.
Using group times to introduce new materials, activities, and concepts
Small- and large-group times for preschoolers each generally last about 15 minutes. During these times, adults introduce children to new materials, ideas, and activities, which the children can then continue to explore at work time. Group times also offer social opportunities to all children. These times are unpressured, so even children who tend to be shy or solitary are comfortable interacting with others.
Planning group times that expand children's growth and learning.
High/Scope teachers put thought and effort into planning group times. They use their daily observations to see what children are interested in and how they can further their explorations in these areas. Group times are also the parts of the day when learning that needs to be systematic and sequenced- such as specific skills and concepts in literacy or mathematics- can be guaranteed for all children. Transitions are the times in between the other activities. In High/Scope programs, transitions are not seen as incidental. Instead, these activities too are carefully planned to provide opportunities for children to make choices, move in different ways, and learn important concepts.
Active learning during teacher-planned group activities
During all these group activities, the principles of active participatory learning continue to apply. So, even though adults plan large- and small-group times around specific content, they base them on children's wide-ranging interests, encourage children to make choices about how they use the materials, and talk with children about what they are doing and learning.
Excerpted from the preschool's website