Gym and Project Work:
We have gym three times a week. We do not take the whole class, instead we usually split 1/2 and 1/2. We choose students who need to practice specific skills (e.g., gross motor developing, following rules to a game, exerting energy). We have 2 long blocks of outdoor learning so all children have opportunities to engage in organized gross motor games outdoors daily as well.
When 1/2 of the class is in the gym, the educator who stays back has a smaller group to focus on project work or smaller play groups with. Depending on what is happening in our classroom, we use this time based on that.
During Nutrition Break, we spend the full 40 minutes in the classroom instead of half indoors and half outdoors. Students bring their backpack into the classroom and put it on the back of their chair to ensure all of their belongings stay organized. We wait until all students are seated before students open their lunch, this ensures that they all begin eating together.
Lunch provides an opportunity to teach real life skills (e.g., if you were at a restaurants, you wait for everyone to have their food to start eating). We also coach students and invite older students as lunch helpers to teach conversational skills (e.g., asking and answering questions).
Students eat for approximately 20-25 minutes. After a 5 minute transitional warning, students tidy their space and pack up their lunch. We then put on quiet, calming music and spend 5-10 minutes relaxing (e.g., sometimes guided breathing exercises, sometimes just quiet time to relax).
Students are tapped 1 at a time to transition. In the morning, they put away their backpack and start in Learning Centres and in the afternoon they go to the hallway to get ready.
Transitions through the Day:
We always transition students together. We know that transitions are a challenging time for some students and in order to best support them we approach them as a team. After our small group learning, we slowly transition students to Nutrition Break. We prompt groups one at a time to wash their hands. This provides students with more time to practice hand washing and less students lining up at the sink.
It is important to be mindful that every school has different expectations and guidelines. Somethings may be out of our control as educators (e.g., when our planning time falls). Think carefully about what things can be controlled and changed. You may need to have courageous conversations with team mates and/or administration.