I’m Lila Sandoval, a teacher at First Presbyterian Preschool. In our last email, my colleague Ms. Charlene shared what a typical day in her classroom is like. Today, I’d like to tell you about a typical day in the life of one of the teachers here at First Presbyterian.
Each day at our school is a new opportunity for learning, exploration, and growth. The teachers work together thoughtfully to select weekly themes relevant to the season and world events.
As teachers, we like to work together because it models teamwork for our students. We prepare for the theme with projects and activities to promote thought and exploration each day of the week.
My students begin to arrive at 9 AM. They will put away their personal belongings, and we all start the day with a friendly “Hi!” or “Good morning, how are you?” When the children arrive in the classroom, all the materials they see will be part of the lessons for that day, or that week. As we begin our activity time, I encourage them in whatever they want to try, and provide lots of opportunities for hands-on learning.
As an example of a theme we have chosen, we recently decided we would explore geography and the continents with the children. This was in advance of Thanksgiving, so we could work toward learning about the pilgrims and their voyage to North America from Europe. Related to this, one activity involved the children creating their own world maps.
After activity time, the students visit our diverse centers and practice engaging in conversation and cooperation. Each morning, I set up my classroom with a variety of learning centers for the children to choose from. The centers may include a Language Center, Building Center, Dramatic Play Center, Math and Science Center, Music Center, Christian Education Center, or Sand/Water/Sensory Center. These centers offer evolving planned activities for the children, with materials I’ve selected based on the concepts the children are exploring that week. For example, our study of the continents led the children into learning more about the history of our continent, North America. The children explored an animal fur and a snakeskin with a magnifying glass in our Sensory Center, so they could investigate and feel what a Native American might have encountered while hunting.
After center time, we move to our meeting place: the classroom rug. Everyone sits together and we discuss our topic for the day. During this time, we comment, discuss, observe, question, and exchange thoughts. The conversation is often provoked by the children and results in the children gaining confidence to think through concepts and express themselves. It’s not uncommon for these conversations to get a little silly, and we laugh or giggle together.
Before heading to the playground, we nourish our bodies and minds with healthy foods and the good company of our friends. Coming back from the playground, we make sure to wash our hands of any extra “friends” we brought in from the outdoors. We end our day with a recap of the day, and of course, a good book.
As I say goodbye to the children, I am already thinking about what they’ve learned and how we can build on that in future lessons. If you’d like to learn more about teaching at First Presbyterian, I’d invite you to contact the school today at 915-532-6157. My colleagues and I would be more than happy to have you visit one of our classes to observe our lessons in action!