This week is Teacher Appreciation Week! U-GRO has over 250 teachers who provide care, support, and education for our students through their hard work and dedication every day. Here is a little insight into what a regular day is like for a U-GRO teacher at one of our centers.
Starting the Day
Each morning starts off with our teachers greeting students as they are dropped off by their parents. Then, classroom activities get underway! Toddlers and preschoolers dive right into learning through what we call free choice learning play (or free play). Free play allows children to pick their own toys and engage in social play with their peers. Learning through play is essential in early childhood education, which is why our Blended Model ® Curriculum allows for a balance of child-led activities as well as group instruction.
After free play, teachers will offer an art activity based off U-GRO’s unique theme for the week, such as creating a nature collage during Earth and Environment week or painting with vegetables during Harvest week. Our teachers enjoy art activities with the children because they can channel the child’s creative side and help him or her learn by focusing on the process of creating, rather than the final product.
Then we move to together time, where we bring children together to build a sense of community. Our teacher-led activities are implemented to build concepts related to language, literacy, math, and/or science and are related to the weekly theme or project study. Music and movement are also fun ways for our teachers to create excitement and reinforce the learning that is taking place in the classroom.
Our teachers also incorporate learning centers, which are created to allow for exploration and learning based on a child’s interests and program goals. The daily learning experiences address all key areas of infant, toddler, and preschool development. Some examples include counting and sorting for math, puzzles and lacing for fine motor, predicting and observing during a science activity, and pouring water with cups and funnels in the water table for sensory fun.
Teachers and children alike always look forward to getting outside for some fresh air. Children can play on one of U-GRO’s state-of-the-art playground sets or take part in teacher-facilitated games designed to help develop both gross and fine motor skills.
Lunch is served at 11:30am every day. Teachers use this opportunity to help toddlers and preschoolers learn table manners and other life skills, such as pouring water and using utensils when eating.
Once lunch time is over, nap time begins. Nap time is built into each day to allow the children to rest and rejuvenate before starting their afternoon activities. Nap time is also an important time for our teachers! It gives them a chance to prepare their lessons and complete daily communication sheets and board to provide information to families about their child’s experiences during their day at U-GRO.
Before parent pick up, the children engage in more center and together time as well as one last bit of outside play. During this time, the children and teachers enjoy the fresh air and activities before their day together comes to a close.
Parent Pick Up
In the late afternoon, parents return to U-GRO to pick up their children while they’re enjoying free choice play time. At this time, teachers talk to parents and answer any questions they may have about their child’s day. We believe it is important to create open lines of communication with our families, keeping them informed about their child’s day-to-day development.
Once all students have been picked up, U-GRO teachers return to their classrooms and tidy up their spaces. Our teachers also use this time to prepare for the activities they have planned for the following day.
Every day holds new possibilities for children at U-GRO. Our teachers aim to cultivate those possibilities and help students grow mentally, emotionally, and socially. So, this week we want to say, “thank you” to all our wonderful U-GRO educators and show our appreciation for everything they do to make U-GRO a positive, secure environment for children.