It is through play that children learn to know the world around them. We engage our children in interrupted play where they move freely in a natural and relaxed environment. The kitchen corner looks busy with meal preparations. The toolbox corner has enthusiasts trying their little fingers to make and repair. Role play comes alive where children dress up as kings and queens with the scarfs and silk cloth. Playtime is usually busting with joy and laughter.
Circle time is the heart of our program. The teacher joyfully sings and gathers the children for circle time. Circle time happens throughout the day in different forms where children sing together and move together into a seasonal or a story based theme. Our day begins with the morning circle where children greet each other through songs and movement and offer prayers and gratitude to nature. Besides that circle time is a time to practice language and math concepts through stories and rhymes.
Soul time is the favorite time of the day of all our children. 30 minutes of daily quiet time where children are involved in the artistic activities that nourish their soul. They work with their hands and heart to create things that appeal to their feelings. Each day is dedicated to a specific art form. Mondays being the Drawing Day, Tuesday is the Clay Day, Wednesdays alternates between Sand and Water Play, Thursday is the craft day and Friday’s reserved for Cooking.
Outdoor play brings in children, a sense of connection with nature and their surroundings. Play is the best form of research. Their curiosity comes alive when they are allowed to explore, see, touch, feel and make connections with the world around them. Children have a natural tendency of making things out of materials found in nature and anything they could lay their hands on. Our children often collect twigs, leaves, stones, flowers during their nature walk and create beautiful designs and place them on our classroom nature table.
The oral tradition of storytelling, reciting verses and rhymes, and singing songs is integral. Every day the children gather around the teacher for an oral story. Stories are told over a period of time; most often over two weeks and can be longer for nursery age children. The teacher learns the story so that she can tell it in the same way every day. The story is learned by heart, not by memorizing it in a mechanical manner. In this way, the images and characters can live in the teacher, allowing for a human connection to language and story that are shared with the children.
Singing and music play an important role in our culture. Be it celebrations, worship or festivals; music is everywhere. Children are naturally inclined to music and have an appreciation for the same. We can build on this natural instinct by using music to enrich lives of our children. We sing and play our way into our classrooms to move from one activity to another effortlessly. Our day ends by playing some soothing music to our children. They go back home with the sweet rhythmic sounds of xylophone, pentatonic tones of recorder which has a calming effect on them.
Early childhood settings provides rich opportunities for the development of math. Math concepts are dealt from concrete hands on experiences leading onto abstract. Stories are used to explain some concepts which help the child to remember and understand better (tens ones, basic operations). Children are encouraged to observe nature and find patterns shapes in the environment. Measurement and estimation opportunities are made available to the children.
Creating love for learning is an essential part of ‘The Reading Tree’ program. While keeping the age of the child in mind and also that children come from different regions, the use of rhymes, songs and Movement form an integral part. Facial expressions, gestures, sounds, visual aids, concrete objects and ideas are used. Repetition of vocabulary through listening and speaking helps in laying a strong foundation for children from the age group of 0 to 7 years.