Activities and schedules vary from program to program, but many aspects of the day are similar from classroom to classroom. Here are some of the activities that occur throughout KOCO during the day.
LEARNING EXPERIENCES: "Investigations"
The teachers and students at KOCO investigate topics of interest throughout the school year. In lieu of a traditional lesson plan, each class decides what they already Know about a particular topic, discuss what they Want to know about the topic, and then they devise learning experiences to help them Learn (K-W-L model). Topics for early childhood investigations are ideally quite simple; recent investigations topics have included Hands, Apples, Balls, and Shoes.
Ideas generated by each "investigation" are webbed collaboratively; the web becomes a "living document", to be added to, changed, and otherwise revised as the investigation progresses. Students control the depth and length of each investigation (topics of great interest may generate investigations of a month or more!).
Visit Eastern Connecticut State University's Center for Early Childhood Education to learn more about Investigations-style learning experiences.
KOCO staff regularly gather students for Circle Time, which can differ dramatically from program to program. In general, younger children participate in shorter, simpler, more predictable Circle Time activities: a welcome song, a story, a fingerplay. As children develop, more sophisticated activities (weather, calendar, Show & Tell) can be added. Schoolage children are periodically gathered for more informal group activities as needed.
CENTERS & GUIDED ACTIVITIES
Each classroom is set up with age-appropriate play centers, including quiet rest area, blocks, dramatic play, math & science, music, games & puzzles, reading, arts & crafts. During Center Time, students rotate through centers in small groups while teachers monitor and facilitate play. Centers are reoutfitted regularly to support changing lesson themes and developmental progress. A dedicated teacher guides at least one center activity per day -- an art project, a science experiment, a new game.
In the Infant program, the babies set the schedule for feeding. We can accomodate both formula and breast milk. Once infants graduate to the Waddler Room, mealtimes become more communal.
Some children eat breakfast upon arrival. Most students who attend a full day program eat a morning and afternoon snack, as well as lunch. Except on special occasions, families provide all food and beverages. Extra meal supplies can be stored in your child's classroom.
Due to life-threatening allergies, some of our classrooms are designated peanut-free.
As a quarterly fundraiser, KOCO sponsors a special lunch (pizza, hot dogs, McDonald's, mac & cheese).
In the Infant program, the babies set the schedule for napping. Every child has his/her own crib. Families provide clean bedding each week.
Once infants graduate to the Waddler Rooms (109-110), rest time becomes communal; children sleep on cots during a common midday rest period. Rest time continues as part of the daily schedule until children move on to Kindergarten. Families provide clean bedding each week.
Although older children do not have a designated rest period, each classroom provides an area of soft furnishings for any-time relaxation.
In the Under 3 area (107-111), children are diapered every two hours or as needed. Families provide diapering supplies. Toilet learning begins around the age of two. Toddlers (and interested Waddlers) are prompted to use the potty frequently. Teachers implement reward systems at the request of families (stickers, M&M's, etc.). Families are encouraged to provide extra clothing during toilet learning.
Good hygiene is encouraged at all ages (careful wiping, handwashing, etc.). Older children are prompted to use the rest rooms at regular intervals and before transitioning to new activities. Toileting accidents can occur even with schoolage children, and we encourage families to keep extra clothing on hand just in case.
"The staff gets to know each family so that you know they are reinforcing what is taught at home. They are also realistic and accomodating. Every family is different and things come up that cause normal schedules to be disrupted. The KOCO staff understands and does everything they can to accomodate." KOCO Parent