The daily routine of calendar time is something early childhood and elementary teachers are all too familiar with. The skills students acquire during this time are crucial to their development in math, problem solving, vocabulary, and literacy. The repetitive routines of calendar time are so beneficial for students, but when implemented each day, these routines sometimes need a little “sprucing up” to maintain enthusiasm and interest. If you’re looking for opportunities to make this time meaningful and engaging for students, here’s a peek into what PK3 teachers, Lea Crongeyer and Taylor Davis, are doing to actively involve our youngest saints in the creation of their classroom calendars each month.
Adapted from the Reggio Documentation Panel-Making, the innovative calendars in PK3 are created through teacher support in collaboration with students. The calendars reflect the highlights and precious memories from the students’ days, and they symbolize the thinking and learning that are taking place in the classroom throughout the month. The conversations around these calendars also provide students the opportunities to reflect and record learning through a variety of media including paintings, construction-paper creations, pictures, and other student and teacher work samples. Calendar time has come to life in PK3 as students see their favorite memories as they practice days of the week, counting, passage of time, ordinal numbers, and many other rich skills. Students are active participants as teachers guide them in reflecting on their day and creating the calendar entry, sounding out words and weighing in on the information to include in their collaborative masterpiece that will be on display in the classroom year-long.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the calendar teachers are seeing is the conversations students have with one another as they reflect on their month together. “Students love to go back and look at the calendars,” says Taylor Davis. “They are reading the room at an early age because they had a say in creating it.” Lea Crongeyer recently overheard rich conversations between PK3 students that reflect pride and ownership in their creation: “Remember when we had the water party? . . . It was fun tasting apples that day!” Re-thinking this daily routine in PK3 has not only brought calendar time to life with excitement, ownership, and enthusiasm, but teachers are also seeing a love of learning fostered in our youngest saints as they reflect on and document all the amazing memories they have with teachers and friends each day.
“We’ve taken something and made it our own, and this adaptation has been a breath of fresh air! I’m getting so many skills in but in a developmentally appropriate way.”-Taylor Davis as she reflects on innovating the typical store-bought, ready made calendar so that it benefits her three- to four-year-old students.