I thought, since we have so many readers from around the globe, to write a post on a typical day in a South African preschooler’s life. It might be interesting to see how we differ or relate to other countries’ preschool routines. I might just want to add that it does differ a bit from school to school and of course from different income groups too! And I’m writing this for the preschoolers in my class’ parents too, so they will know how their childs day look.
Preschools here open up any time from 6 am to accomodate parents that need to go to work early. Our school opens at 6:30 am, although I arrive at school by 7:15 am(my contracting hours). At our school we serve breakfast, a cooked porridge each morning at 8:00 am, for the early arrivals. When arriving at school, the kids have free play time until 8:30, when all kids have arrived and we officially start our day.
8:30- 8:45 am- Bible reading/story, greetings, register, news, weather etc.
8:45- 9:00 am- Theme discussion, here all learning aspects are covered too, language, maths, life skills etc.
9:00- 10:00 am- Stations! I have grouped my kids into 4 groups(I will have a post on how and why I group my kids soon), and then we have four stations in class during this time:
1) A sensory station just outside the back door(so I can still keep an eye on them while I’m busy at the arts & crafts table), this varies in material(sand, water, rice, saw dust, dry oats, mud etc) and manipulatives(toys, utensils, recyclables etc) that varies every day.
2) Arts and Crafts Table- in line with the theme discussion of the day.
3) A playdough table(my kids loooves playdough), each day the manipulatives varies, and each other week the colour too.
4) Educational toys like pegboards, puzzles, building pictures with shapes etc. We have a “learn-to-write-your-name” area too where the kids have to find their own name, copy it onto their paper, and return it to their peg.
Then there are construction toys(wooden blocks, marble runs etc) available, and a pretend play area(which we change according to the theme every other week) available where they can play when done with all the stations.
10 am: Tidy up time and toilet routine.
10:15am- Snack time. The children are allowed to bring their own healthy snack or make a sandwich(bread and spread provided) for themselves, supervised of course, and tea.
10:30 am- Outside free play(gross motor development)
11:30 am- Whole class teaching, here we do a variety of things, somedays we focus on a mathematical skill, sometimes on a specific perseptual skill, sometimes we do a science activity.
12:00- Lunch time. Each group has a leader that must count the friends at the table and set the table for them. Each child dish up for themselves, giving them a choice of what they want to eat (all supervised).
12:20 pm- Quiet reading time while friends finish their food.
12:30 pm- Story time(teacher reads a book, or do a puppet show, dramatization etc.)
12:45- 1:30- Quiet activities (younger children have nap time here).
Some children go home by this time, the others play outside(sand pit, jungle gyms, other gross motor activities), optional craft activities are set up or, on a Friday they are allowed to watch movies.
On Friday mornings the whole school gathers together for music time. Some weeks we have dress up competitions, or visitors(like the fire department this week). We go on the occasional outing too!
We aim to develop a holistic child, while playing and having fun too!
Please do leave me a comment on how our routine differs, or are similar to yours, I’d love to hear from you!