Your Child’s Day

Your Child’s Day

All young children do best with predictable routines, and so we work hard to follow this schedule consistently every day. At times, due to special events (rain, etc.), we make modifications. In the Early Preschool, the times may vary, as the little ones need more time and flexibility between transitions.

Caterpillars MWF Cocoons T/TH
8:45-9:00 Morning Circle (Fall: Begin on Playground) 8:45-9:00 Morning Circle (Fall: Begin on Playground)
9:00-10:15 Work Time (w/ Toileting) 9:00-10:15 Work Time (w/ Toileting)
10:15-10:45 Playground Time 10:15-10:45 Playground Time
10:45-11:00 Handwashing/Snack 10:45-11:00 Handwashing/Snack
11:00-11:25 Work Time 11:00-11:30 Work Time
11:25-11:35 Small Group Circle (Small Group Circle is added in Jan.)
11:35-11:45 Music & Movement 11:30-11:45 Music & Movement
11:45 Dismissal 11:45 Dismissal


Morning Circle & Story
The children begin their day by joining the large circle and sitting with the teachers for a quiet story or two. This calming activity helps them with separation. The story engages them, and their focus shifts away from Mommy (or Daddy, or Caregiver) towards an interest in school and the other children. Parents are free to stay until their child is comfortable and settled or until Story Time ends. We know that adjustment is an individualized process. The teachers customize arrangements for parents whose children need more time to settle in comfortably.

NOTE: In the fall the Cocoon and Caterpillar classes begins their day on the Playground. Having this enjoyable physical activity eases separation. When ready, they move to the classroom and Work Time.

Work Time • A Time of “Individual Choice”
After Story Time is over, the children are free to work in the classroom or in the outdoor covered patio area, moving from one area to another. The teachers use this time as an opportunity to engage in floor time play and make connections with children. Children may choose any job or activity they wish, and they may work alone, with a teacher, or with other children.

Inside Activities for the Early Preschoolers include a variety of Montessori jobs and other sensory learning materials, including peg boards, blocks, shape sorting, texture matching, color sorting and matching, sorting by size, etc. Children also have an opportunity to play in the dramatic play area, look at books in the cozy corner, or participate in art activities (gluing, coloring, etc.). A multi-sensory art activity is always on the art room table for children to freely experience. The children also have the opportunity to participate in a weekly cooking project that is simple and age-appropriate.

Outside Activities in the Patio Area include painting at the easel, playing in the sand box, building with blocks, sliding down the slide, climbing on the play structure, and playing in the playhouse. There is also a separate, fenced-in area with riding toys for large motor activity.

Throughout Work Time, the teachers intentionally focus on encouraging the children’s language development and assisting them in their social and emotional development. Some of the focus is on building skills that lead to greater independence. They teach all children to wash their hands, to put away their jobs, to clean up spills, and to put on their jackets. The teachers help those children who are ready to practice using the toilet.

The children go out to the big playground for a period of large motor activity. We close off the top part of the play structure to the Cocoons and Caterpillars. They use the lower part of the structure with the small slides. The rest of the playground, with the sandbox, cars, fire engine, climbing tubes, and swings, are open to their use, as well.

Handwashing & Snack Time
Children wash their own hands and come to the snack table. The Early Preschoolers eat outside on their patio at the covered picnic tables. We honor the importance of meal-time rituals. Much learning happens here, especially learning to share and socialize with each other.

“Nurturing the Spirit” Circle
After Work Time and clean-up, the children transition to Small Group. This is a quiet time focused on teaching social-emotional skills. The Early Preschoolers are just learning how to be together in a group. They are working on the social skills of sitting, listening, and sharing. Their Small Group activities are very simple and experiential. The teachers use books and puppets to focus on issues that are important to all children at this age, such as separation, missing their parent, building trust with other caregivers, and learning about their world. As the year unfolds, the children are able sit for a longer period of time and they develop more oral language and interactive skills.

NOTE: We have found that the Cocoons do best with fewer changes at first, so they do not start out the year with Small Group. If and when they are ready, this new transition is added, usually by January.

Music and Movement
This period is a favorite time of the day for most Cocoons and Caterpillars. The teachers teach a variety of songs, finger plays, and movement activities during Music Time. They love doing the finger plays and dancing to music and they quickly learn all the words to the songs.

The Early Preschoolers end their day from the classroom circle. Parents pick up from the back patio gate.

If your child comes to Mandala, his or her day will look something like this. We work hard to follow this schedule consistently every day. Although the routine is predictable, we will make modifications to accommodate special activities or events, rain, etc., but the order of the day does not change.

Ladybugs Ladybugs n Lunch Dragonflies Expanded Day Dragonflies Half Day
8:45-9:05 Story /Welcome 8:45-9:05 Story /Welcome 8:345-9:05 Story/Welcome 8:345-9:05 Story/Welcome
9:05-9:30 Small Group 9:05-9:30 Small Group 9:05-9:30 Small Group 9:05-9:30 Small Group
9:30-10:25 Work Time 9:30-10:25 Work Time 9:30-10:25 Work Time 9:30-10:25 Work Time
10:25-10:50 Handwashing & Snack 10:25-10:50 Handwashing &
10:25-10:55 Handwashing/
Circle Song/Snack
10:25-10:55 Handwashing/
Circle Song/Snack
10:50-11:05 Music/Movement 10:50-11:05 Music/Movement 10:55-11:15 Playground 10:55-11:15 Playground
11:05-11:20 Table Time 11:05-11:20 Table Time 11:20-11:45 Table Time 11:20-11:45 Table Time
11:20-11:45 Playground 11:20-11:45 Playground 11:45-12:30 Lunch/Patio 11:45-12:30 Lunch/Patio
11:45 Dismissal 11:45-12:45 Lunch/Patio 12:30-1:00 Quiet Time 12:30-12:45 Music/Story
12:45 Dismissal 1:00-1:20 Music & Movement 12:45 Dismissal (from Art Room)
1:20-2:00 Intentional Teaching
2:00-2:15 Handwashing/
2:15-2:30 Story
2:30 Dismissal


Story Time
When the children first arrive in the Preschool classroom, a teacher greets them and they say goodbye to their parent at the Story Room door. They go into the Story Room where another teacher welcomes them and reads a short story to the group. This quiet time helps children transition from their parents to school. By the time the story is finished, the children move to their small groups for Small Group Time.

Small Group Nurturing the Spirit • “Respect and Reflect” Time
Small Group is a focused time for teaching social-emotional skills and mindfulness. This is a quiet time of day where each teacher meets with her eight children (divided into groups by age). The children form trusted relationships with the teacher and with each other. The teacher leads her group in one of many structured activities for the theme of the month from our Nurturing the Spirit Curriculum. These activities are designed to teach young children communication skills, problem-solving, and stress relief. Using a combination of relaxation exercises, puppets, symbolic play, role-play, and creative art, the children are given an opportunity to express their feelings, learn empathy, and develop respect for others and their world. They also learn coping skills and work together to solve problems. Monthly themes include topics such as: Trust and Belonging, Self-Acceptance, Feelings, Making Friends, Kindness and Care for Others, Cooperation, Respect for Differences, Conflict Resolution, and Growth & Change.

Work Time • A Time of “Individual Choice”
During this time, the children are self-directed and are able to choose freely from activities in the prepared environment. They may move back and forth between the classrooms and the outside patio area. Although they have free choice about what they want to do, no child may choose not to work. Children pick from activities in the areas below.

  • Practical Life Area – Children choose activities from everyday living: polishing shoes, using tools (hammer, screw driver, socket wrench, etc.) sanding wood, wet and dry pouring, flower arranging, silver polishing, tying laces, zippering, etc. These activities teach children to be more independent, develop small muscle coordination, and care for the environment.
  • Sensorial Area – Children choose from activities that use their five senses, such as color sorting, matching sounds/smells/textures/weight, grading objects by size, using peg boards, etc. These sensorial exercises also provide a foundation for speech, writing, and arithmetic.
  • Language Area – Children work in areas that enhance oral language and set the foundation for reading. All of the activities are important building blocks that prepare the child to become a successful reader. Some of the activities included in this area are puzzles, metal insets, object-picture-matching, lotto games, story dictation, classification of objects, 3-5 part story sequencing, rhyming words, opposites, letter recognition, and letter sound recognition.
  • Math Area – The Montessori materials allow children to explore the concepts of quantity and symbol. We use the child’s senses to first introduce these concepts. We introduce quantity using the number rods. There are 10 rods in graduated segments. Each segment represents a unit. We introduce number symbols (i.e. “7”) with sandpaper numbers. The child traces the rough numbers with his finger. We then put quantity and symbol together in a variety of exercises. We begin introducing the first three numbers and then add a number at a time, up to 10. We then introduce such concepts as: teens, tens, hundreds, thousands, counting by two’s, and the Hundred Board.
  • Art Area – Children have an opportunity to work creatively using a variety of materials and mediums to create an expressive piece of art, including gluing, painting, water colors, markers, scissors, tape, stamps, stencils, and color crayons.
  • Patio Area – Children paint on the easel, play with the doll house, use a sand/bird seed/or water tray, and engage in other special seasonal outdoor activities.
  • Block Area – We have a variety of blocks and building materials, including unit blocks, trains, and Legos that children may use for construction.
  • Cooking Area – Children are able to participate in food preparation, and they practice spreading, cutting, stirring, pouring, and learning how to follow a recipe.
  • Dramatic Play – Children have an opportunity to work cooperatively, to try on and practice adult roles and gain skills in socialization, as well as learning skills in independent living.

Music and Movement
Children gather in a large circle time for music and movement. Music is a wonderful way for children to be exposed to and practice using language. Music teaches rhythm and cooperation. The teachers introduce songs, finger plays, and movement activities. They may bring out simple instruments (tambourines, sand blocks, triangles, and drums) to accompany the songs. They may also use scooter boards and the parachute for extra fun and whole-body activity.

Table Time
Table Time is a focused learning period with each teacher and her small group. The teacher demonstrates one of the Montessori jobs or one of the activities that is available in the classroom. Each child has an opportunity to try the job or a part of it.

Playground Time
Playground is an extremely important time in your child’s day. Children work on the development of their large muscles, building coordination and strength. This is also a time when they can practice social skills. The children are able to swing, slide, play basketball, run, climb, play in the sandbox, crawl over and under the tubes, and participate in imaginary play. We also have a special fenced-in bike area where they can take turns using a variety of riding toys around a track.

LADYBUGS n’ LUNCH ∙ Ladybugs in this class bring their lunch and stay at school for an additional 45 minutes where they benefit from important social skills practice with friends. The children enjoy some extra patio time after lunch if time permits.

DRAGONFLIES ∙ Lunch is an integral part of the curriculum for this class where children also bring their lunch and eat with their peers. It is an important time of social interaction, sharing conversation, and building friendships. Depending on the children’s energy and needs, there is patio time afterwards.

Children in the Dragonflies class work with the Ladybugs in the morning, as shown in the daily schedule above. Although they have their own small groups, they follow the same order of the day in the morning until dismissal time.

The Grasshoppers break for lunch and a play period before returning for a quiet time and their afternoon class. The rest of their day follows this schedule:

Quiet Time
The children come inside for a 30 minute period of rest and relaxation after their busy morning. It is a time to learn how to unwind their bodies and “calm their motors.” They lie on their mats and listen to music. In our quiet time, we teach self-regulation, which is an important kindergarten readiness skill.

Music & Movement
We offer a variety of music and movement activities. The children are able use the large-body equipment we have, such as the tumbling mats, climbing stairs, ball pit, scooter boards, and parachute.

Intentional Teaching Time
This enrichment period is a key feature of the Dragonflies class. The teachers look at the needs and desires of each child and plan a curriculum to offer enrichment in language, math, science, and critical thinking.

  • Language – Expanding literacy and self-expression is an important part of this class. The teachers present many of the more advanced Montessori materials to teach pre-reading, early reading skills, and phonics at this time. They use the moveable alphabet and matching games. The children explore literature and even do their own story-writing.
  • Science and Geography – Children love science. This extended period gives the teachers a chance to involve the children in exciting hands-on science projects and experiments. Montessori has many lovely science and geography materials that the children work with to learn more about their world.
  • Fine Motor – One of the best ways to prepare children for kindergarten is to give them lots of practice with fine motor activities in preparation for writing. This period includes more skill-building and practice in this area using a variety of materials that teach in a sensory way.
  • Math – The Dragonflies aare given more time and practice with the Montessori math materials. Montessori teaches math in a very sensory way using counters, number cards, the golden beads, the hundred board, and math games. As children master numbers and simple counting, they go on to learn the decimal system, teens, hundreds, and thousands. They go on to learn about the operation of numbers, such as addition and subtraction. In the math area, as in all other areas, these materials are introduced and practiced, but every child progresses at his own rate.

The children are usually hungry by mid-afternoon, so we have a small fruit and protein snack at this time.

Story & Dismissal
The children end their day listening to stories in the Story Room, and they are dismissed from there.