Providing children with a full day of learning in Kindergarten gives educators time to support and enhance the children’s learning, and allows children time to become absorbed more deeply in what they are exploring and investigating.
The “flow of the day” refers to a flexible and fluid plan that includes a variety of contexts for learning and a minimum of transitions, resulting in a more integrated and connected day for the children. The flow of the day can also be adapted to meet the changing needs of the children in the class.
The flow of the day is based on a schedule for the days of the week, which the educators develop together, with a focus on meeting the needs of the children in the best way possible. While the schedule has to accommodate various administrative and practical needs and functions, it must also be designed to allow for the large blocks of time for play that are necessary for deep learning, and to minimize transitions for the children. Educators reflect on the flow of the day at all times, and make adjustments to the schedule as necessary to ensure that it effectively responds to children’s needs and makes the best use of the knowledge, skills, and experience of the Kindergarten educators, as well as of planning-time teachers and the volunteers in the classroom. The flow of the day may change to suit the season – for instance, the task of putting on coats and boots in winter becomes a feature of the day for which time has to be allowed.
Educators often co-create visual schedules with the children, which the children can consult throughout the day. The visual schedule may consist of detachable segments, which can be moved around if the group co-constructs an alternative flow of the day. [The Kindergarten Document, (2016), pg. 95]
Outdoor learning is an important and integral part of our Kindergarten Program. Our learning environment extends to the outdoors, and our students participate in outdoor learning daily. A growing body of research suggests that connecting to the natural world contributes to children’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being (Louv, 2005).
Children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder can be fostered by providing them with many opportunities to learn outdoors. Students will participate in " I wonder walks" where they make notes, pictures and observations to inform their classroom inquiries. The learning that takes place in classroom experiences can be explored in the “extended classroom” that nature provides. Similarly, the natural environment can be reflected in the indoor learning environment.
Outdoor spaces offer valuable learning opportunities, and natural settings can inspire the kind of thinking, learning, leadership, and innovation that may be inhibited in children in the classroom but that, once revealed, can be incorporated back into the classroom environment.
In the Kindergarten program, learning in the outdoors is included as part of the instructional day, and the educators play an active role, engaging with children in an inquiry stance as they play, explore, and learn together outside the classroom. [The Kindergarten Document, (2016), pg. 34]