A Day at Heartworks
We offer an Early Program (7:30-8:20 AM), and some children will begin their day with activities such as drawing, coloring, listening to stories read aloud, puzzle solving, board games, and building activities before going to their morning classroom.
All classes follow a rhythm of the day, in both the Morning and Afternoon Programs, and in all classrooms, Infant through Pre-Kindergarten. Modifications are made to meet the developmental needs of each classroom, and a classroom’s order of activities are consistently maintained so that the children always know what is next, allowing them to feel more secure, safe and comfortable and to help them gain more confidence and independence.
The following is a list of components that are typical in a morning Heartworks Preschool classroom for one year olds and older - taking into consideration physical, cognitive, language, social development:
Arrival for the morning program is from 8:20 to 8:30, and teachers greet each child and family members upon arrival. Children, who are three years old and older, begin their day at circle with manipulatives to explore while waiting for all of their classmates to arrive by 8:35 when circle begins. Children younger than three, begin the day with exploration.
Circle: The first learning block comprised of components that include songs, movement, mathematics and/or language arts lessons and games, as well as a discussion that focuses around the monthly theme. Each class incorporates social, cognitive, and physical developmental learning with the pre-kindergarten children gaining and exceeding all skills that are necessary for entering Kindergarten the following year in areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and social abilities.
Enrichment: A physical, hands-on activity based on the monthly theme that enhances the theme discussion that took place during the Circle Time; these activities might include art projects, science experiments, observing nature, movement and music, drama, physical education, baking and cooking, handiwork such as beading, sewing, etc., and writing. Concept work is also encouraged. For instance, a three-years-old circle would also include concept work (high and low, in front and behind, etc.), shape work (making shapes with popsicle sticks or folding cloths), letter and number recognition and sometimes a game, e.g., bingo or a toss game).
Snack: Students in two year old classes and older, enjoy a time to sit together and enjoy crackers, cheese and fruit and engage in conversation. Parents participate by taking turns in providing about three weeks of snack each year. Children one and younger enjoy food provided by their parents each day.
Outside: Children have the opportunity to run, play, climb, slide, use balls, dig in the sand box, create imaginative games with each other, sit on a blanket, or take a stroller ride. Each class is outside for about 45 minutes each morning, as long as the weather cooperates.
Second Learning Block: This short 10-minute block provides an additional lesson in literature, language arts, or mathematics.
Explore: Explore is an important opportunity for children to have open-play time in the classroom based on their interests which helps to enhance their social and imaginative as well as discovering and thinking skills. Choices might include playing with blocks, trains, and/or at the sand table, looking at books, building puzzles, playing board games, pretend cooking in the kitchen area, coloring, working on pre-writing and pre-reading skills, and more.
Story by Heart: The last 15 minutes of the Morning Program includes a circle where the teacher tells a story without a book or pictures. Youngest children might hear a song or sing some songs together, listen to a book being read. For twos and older, Story by Heart can be retelling a story or sharing a story based on the teacher’s own creativity. All stories have a moral based on values and virtues as part of our character development program such as courage, respect, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, etc.
Children who are enrolled in the Afternoon Program also benefit from a “rhythm of the day.” Many of the components described above are included, as well as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) curriculum. Each Heartworks location has an afternoon STEAM program, and it has enjoyed tremendous success among students and parents. Heartworks has been ahead of the curve in introducing young children to the importance of the components of STEAM that was started in the spring of 2014. We now know that meaningful educational experiences and authentic learning should be integrated across content areas. The Afternoon Program runs until 4:00 PM.
Nap: Children who nap at home as well as all children two and younger are invited to nap at school; they bring their own bedding items from home and enjoy a peaceful nap with quiet music playing. This is typically from 1:00-3:00 for two year olds and older.
STEAM Program: For those who do not nap, the Afternoon Program has been designed to enhance the children’s learning and discovery through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) focus and activities. Each day of the week features a different STEAM focus.
Circle: STEAM learning discussion. Whether discussing math problems or possible feats of engineering, pre-school-age students are full of questions about how the world works.
Enrichment: STEAM hands-on inquiry based activity, such as discovering the properties of water, taking apart a bicycle, or color mixing. Seasonal activities might include painting patterns in nature and planting a sunflower circle, or even building structures from fairy tales such as Rapunzel's Castle or the Billy Goat Gruff Bridge.
Outside: As in the Morning Program, Outside Time allows students opportunities to explore, play, and climb with each other, as long as the weather cooperates. On inclement days, the children will have indoor explore play time.
Snack: Children enjoy sitting together eating additional food from their lunch boxes.
Enrichment: Another STEAM hands-on inquiry based activity, typically related to the day’s theme and previous discussions.
Closing Circle: At the end of a busy day of discovery, experimentation, and documentation, Closing Circle provides a wonderful opportunity for reflection and drawing conclusions about the STEAM learning from the afternoon as well as time for another Story by Heart.
Extended Day Program
We also offer an Extended Day Program from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. Weather and seasonally dependent, the children go outside to play, run, climb, create games, explore in the sandbox or have a stroller ride. When it is dark out or too cold, the children are inside enjoying exploration in the classrooms such as building, coloring, reading with a teacher, playing board games, etc.