A Day in the Life of an MDS Child
Welcome! Montessori Day School of Brooklyn is extraordinary because of the excellence we promote in thousands of small daily moments. Through a range of stimulating activities in a home-like environment, our two- to five-year-old children connect with teachers and each other, express their creativity, develop awareness and understanding, and gain skills and independence.
Between 8:00 and 9:00, parents and caregivers drop off children at classrooms (all named for winged creatures: Sparrows, Dragonflies, Doves, Bumblebees, Seagulls, Hummingbirds, Penguins). Following a phasing-in period for new children and some adjustment to school routines for everyone at the beginning of the school year, arriving children say goodbye at their classroom door, put away their own belongings (jacket, backpack, lunch/snacks, and bedding if it’s the start of the week), and then eat a morning snack brought from home or begin some work in the classroom.
The Classroom Community: Circle Time
When all children have arrived and settled in, typically by about 9:00 am, teachers will call them to a classroom circle time area to sit together. The class shares greetings, songs, stories, and an overview of the day. Sometimes a teacher will introduce a new learning material and demonstrate how to use it. Circle time may last as little as ten minutes in a twos class and possibly up to twenty-five minutes in a three-to-five-year-old class, including time for children to share with the group.
Self-Selected Classroom Work: at the Core of the Montessori Program
At all ages, we learn best when we have choice and voice about our activities. MDS children enjoy their classroom work cycle from arrival up to lunch time at 11:30 or so. For up to three hours with limited interruptions, children may choose classroom materials and work with them on floor mats or at tables, on their own or with a friend or teacher. They may also enjoy the dramatic play corner, build with blocks, and care for classroom plants and fish. Teachers are available to give lessons and encourage children to make new choices and expand their skills, and to carefully observe children’s interests and skills in action. How are these choices different in a twos room versus a threes/fours/fives classroom? In threes/fours/fives rooms we tend to have more of the complex learning materials that foster emerging reading, writing, and math skills, and in the toddlers’ classrooms we have more of the sturdy manipulatives suitable for young two-year-old hands. Teachers constantly adapt and curate the classroom environment in response to children’s changing interests and abilities.
“Specials” or Enrichment Activities
Children enrolled Monday through Friday have weekly music class with our singer/guitarist and movement class (dance/physical education). On other weekdays they’ll enjoy soccer (fall), yoga (winter), and gardening (spring). Children on three-day or two-day schedules will experience some but not all of the specials.
Daily Outdoor Time
Because we believe in getting outside for fresh air, exercise, free play, and fun with friends, all classes are scheduled for thirty minutes of backyard time daily. Like specials, outdoor time is during the work cycle block between arrival and lunch. Even in slightly inclement weather (e.g. freezing but not very windy, or just raining slightly), classes may use the play yard or take a walk. Parks and public playgrounds are convenient to MDS, and classes often plan walks and picnic lunches for nice spring days.
Lunch & Quiet Time
All children bring lunch and snacks from home (no nuts, please) to eat in the classroom. Lunch tends to take about an hour. Following clean up, typically from about 12:30 to 2:00, children rest on their mats or cots with fitted sheet and blanket. In multi-age classes, some children sleep for the entire rest time and some may enjoy books or puzzles part of the time and then doze off. Children who need physical activity during quiet time may play in our multi-purpose room.
Afternoon Activities & Dismissal
Quiet time ends at approximately 2:00 in most classrooms. After putting away their own bedding, children may have a brief circle time with their teachers, choose individual work to do in the classroom, or join a whole group game. Parents and caregivers begin to arrive at 2:45, and departing children should take charge of their own outerwear and backpacks on their way out, if possible.
Extended Day Program -- the “Owls”
At 3:00 or so, children enrolled in the extended day program gather and meet their after school teachers. Up to half the children in school remain in program from 3:00 to 4:00, fewer from 4:00 to 6:00. Extended day activities include outdoor free play in our yard, song and story times, free-choice use of manipulatives, crafts projects, and teacher-led games. Owls participants get to interact with a set of friends who are in different classrooms during the school day.