A gentle introduction to the school experience
The twos class begins with a gradual and individualized separation process. Children form relationships with teachers while parents or caregivers stay in the classroom. Part of
the separation process is building parents’ trust in the school so that when you do go, you feel confident that your children will be well cared for.
Two year olds are industrious. In the classroom they work
with paint, clay, water, sand, and blocks, relishing their impact on these simple but rich materials. They come together as a whole group to eat, sing, and listen to stories, gradually learning to see themselves as important members of a close-knit group.
Building a community
Three year-olds are invested in the social world of school. Their work with materials grows more collaborative, and we begin to see the many ways in which children learn from one another. Morning Meeting is introduced in the 3s class; as children take attendance or engage in group discussions, they are establishing a strong sense of community.
Worktime in the 3s group is more structured than in the 2s. Children choose an activity and stick to it. Art activities
like tray painting and collage are especially rewarding as children begin to think not only about process but also
about a final product. At cooking, children work together
to make a snack for the whole class, chopping apples
for homemade applesauce or mixing dough for pretzels. Dramatic play is a theme throughout the room. As the
children take on roles within a game of doctor, family or rocketship, they experience the pleasure of collaborative play.
The 4s feel a strong sense of ownership of their classroom. They use the calendar and schedule to predict the day’s activities. They are excited to check the job chart to
see who is in charge of putting up the day's schedule, or choosing the songs for the class to sing. They check the choice chart to see what activities are available during Worktime and use their own picture cards to sign up for what they would like to do.
Children in the oldest group handle the materials with confidence. They plan ahead and work to achieve specific goals whether they are working with paint, clay or blocks. Sewing is introduced and children soon make their own pillows, bags and stuffed animals. Children follow recipes without adult help. Through mastery of the materials and activities in their classrooms, the 4s graduate from DLS feeling like successful school children.