Daily Rhythm

The day at Country Day Little School is woven together through a rhythm that allows the children to expand out into the world through play and then to come together for a shorter period in a focused activity such as ring time, an artistic activity, or story time. The children’s development is thus fostered not only through play but through language, music and movement. This rhythm, like breathing out and breathing in, when repeated each day, provides security and nourishes the child’s well being. Each day and each season brings its own particular tasks; the seasonal festivals weave the nursery experience into a full circle. Each day we have:

A morning ring, which includes a welcoming song, nursery rhymes, gross-motor and fine-motor movements, finger-play games and/or seasonal songs and poems.
Outdoor play in which the children adventure, explore, play, and work. Children spend time in sand areas, exploring nature, climbing, caring for our chickens & gathering eggs, playing in a playhouse, and working in the garden. Throughout the year, we plant and tend a vegetable garden and harvest and eat our crops! Past crops have included corn, tomatoes, strawberries, beans, pumpkins, radishes, onions, carrots, peas, and sunflowers.
Indoor play in which the children may use the play materials in any reasonable way they wish. During this time, the teachers are contentedly engaged in a useful, practical task in the room, supervising the children but interacting with them only minimally -- to answer a question, head off a disagreement, redirect the energy of a child needing a bit of support, etc. The teachers’ tasks may include repairing or mending toys and play materials, tending plants, preparing lunch or snack, making new toys, housekeeping tasks, or creating seasonal displays.
Lunchtime, a time of lively conversation and visiting with one another, enjoying the organic lunch we prepared during our morning indoor play.
Story time, preceded by the calming music of a glockenspiel or melody. Stories are told rather than read, employing the age-old art form of oral storytelling. The child can be free to visualize the story rather than looking at an artist’s conception. The story might be of a seasonal nature, a fairy tale, a childhood story, or a puppet show performed by the teacher.
Nap time, during which the teacher softly sings to the children while they lie down quietly and fall asleep or, in some cases simply rest. Naps are needed in order to grow healthy and strong. We find that many children don’t nap prior to coming to Country Day. Once children experience a nap as part of their daily rhythm, parents have reported that their children are happier, less stressed, and healthier on the whole... and they still go to bed early.
Afternoon program, in which children engage in the following, with emphasis always on the process rather than the product: handwork, baking, and watercolor painting, using the Waldorf wet-on-wet technique.
Snack time, a special time for a snack together to end the day.

Example of a daily schedule:

  • 8:00 – "Early birds" begin to arrive through back garden
  • 8:30 – School begins in the back garden (rain or shine); morning spent in work & play in outside gardens
  • 9:30 – Morning snack (for those who need it)
  • 9:45 – Ring
  • 10:00 – Move inside, toileting, and hand washing
  • 10:15 – Bread baking and inside work & play
  • 11:00 – Tidy-away time
  • 11:15 – Story
  • 11:30 – Lunch. Daily grain:
    • Monday – Rice
    • Tuesday – Barley
    • Wednesday – Millet
    • Thursday – Rye
    • Friday – Oats
  • 12:30 – Tidy up from lunch, toileting, teeth brushing & face washing
  • 12:45 – Morning children go home; remaining children nap
  • 2:00 – Biggies (older children) get up for afternoon program:
    • Monday – Gardening
    • Tuesday – Baking
    • Wednesday – Painting
    • Thursday – Handwork
    • Friday – Storytelling
  • 3:00 – Littlies (younger children) get up: hair brushing & toileting
  • 3:15 – Snack
  • 3:30 – School day ends
Country Day Little School - 3990 Ventura Court, Palo Alto, California - 650-494-8044