Our days are never the same, but they do follow the same basic flow. The one thing that is important to us, is the freedom to just go with the children's passions or interest if the urge so takes us :)
9.00 - 9.15am - We do the usual roll and have our phonics session. We base our phonics on Yolanda Soryl, but use a mixture of our own knowledge and techniques as appropriate. We usually combine this with a phonics based song. If it is a visit day, we will play first and then go back to phonics.
9.15am - 10.00am - Self-directed play, at this time we pull out our individual readers.
10.00 - 11.00am - Number Agents (Maths through drama and play)
11.20- 12.30pm - Swimming/self-directed play/Growth mindset song or video (check ins as needed)
1.25pm - Writing Session
2.05pm - Self-directed play - Fit in individual check in and reading if needed
2.35 - Shared Reading
clean up and home at 2.55pm
What does the play look like?
Well it varies and we are incredibly lucky to have two classrooms joined together, a courtyard, a mud kitchen, and a huge outside space. We have a range of loose parts in the classrooms and the costumes are a big hit. We also keep what we call 'invitations' out in our back room that we pull out occasionally. These include boxes made up in themes. We find the children are drawn to the type of play and mix with a range of children that have the same interests and urges as them.
It is amazing how many different types a play one child may engage in during a day and on the other hand how long certain play can be sustained.
The other thing that I have really noticed is the other benefits a play-based classroom has had for us and our children. We have less tale telling, children are far more likely to solve their own problems and are noticeably more resilient.
Children get on better, they have better social skills and are more likely to work with a variety of children in a day so friendships are wider and much happier.
We deal with behaviour infrequently. Because we are aiming our programme at specific developmental needs and operating on a very individualised level, children are engaged and motivated because we are not expecting tasks that are cognitively inappropriate for them.
Learning happens without pushing and children can make huge gains almost overnight. As you focus in on their development you are more likely to see the actual gains they are making rather than the academic ones. We know them so well, the relationships we have with each of them are far more powerful than ever before.
Can't wait to see where our play-based journey takes us next!