In these classrooms, the child is free to move about the room at will, to talk with other children, and to work with any equipment. He is not free to disturb other children at work or to abuse the equipment. The children are taught a respect for others and for their environment. The wide range of activities from which to choose is divided into the following areas: practical life, sensorial, math, language and cultural subjects.
A central part of practical life is the snack area. Located in this area are small tables and chairs, a hand washing sink, a serving counter, table washing trays, brooms, mops, and a dishwashing sink. The child decides when he will eat snack, and then proceeds to wash his hands, set the table, serve the snack, eat, and clean the table and dishes. Also in the practical life area are shelves containing a variety of activities such as spooning, tonging, pouring rice, pouring water, cutting vegetables, grinding herbs, juicing, washing a shell, doll or clothes, buttoning, buckling, tying bows, sorting, polishing, folding, sewing, caring for plants, drawing, painting, cutting and gluing. Practical life activities also extend beyond this area into every aspect of the school. These activities include exercises in grace and courtesy, personal care, and care of the environment.
The sensorial area contains materials designed to develop each of the child’s senses by isolating one sensorial property, such as shape, weight, texture, or pitch. With this work, the child builds his intellect through the refinement of his senses, and he also prepares for math by repeatedly working with sets of ten as most of the sensorial materials are.
The math work develops from manipulation of concrete quantities and then to the use of symbols to represent the quantity. The child has many opportunities to manipulate quantities of one to ten, and then he easily moves into manipulating quantities of two and four digit numbers.
The language area contains a library of books for relaxed reading. There are also many sets of vocabulary cards on many subjects with which the children can match pictures and match words, and then make their own little books. The area also contains a variety of exercises for writing, alphabetizing, and sorting objects by rhyming, initial, middle and ending sounds. When the child is ready, he will begin to build words with the moveable alphabet, and be rewarded with the opportunity to read sets of phonetic readers.
In the geography area, children work with puzzles of the Earth, its land forms, continents and countries. The children love to pour water into land forms, and make their own continent maps. In the science area, the child works in groups or individually with very simple amazing science experiments. Each child has their own garden and a resident botanist and the gardening moms to help.
Children have weekly Spanish lessons from a native speaker and love to work independently making Spanish vocabulary books. All children participate twice a year in a music program in which they sing and dance to American folk and religious music in November, and to music of other cultures in May.