Greeting Time

The morning separation is very different for each family, as they have developed their own rituals for saying goodbye. Since few children arrive before 9:00 a.m., those who signed up for before care are greeted in a common area in a mixed age group. Those who arrive after 9:00 a.m. are greeted in their own classroom.

Arrivals take place between 8:00 – 9:00 for before care and 9:00-9:30 a.m. in regular classrooms.


As children arrive, they can make activity choices in the classroom. They are encouraged to explore and collaborate with one another and the educators. When weather permits time is spent in our outdoor play space. Children are also invited to complete work started previously.

Snack Time

Snacks are served in our classrooms and children eat together at tables with the teachers. Morning Snack is served between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. and Afternoon Snack is served between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Teachers often take this time to read stories or share information with the children.

Meeting Time/Small Group Work

The entire class gathers together to sit in a circle, a ritual that signals the transition from early morning

explorations to small group work time. The children and educators sing together, share news, discuss classroom happenings, and count the number of people present. Children work in small groups within the classroom. On a typical day there are several small groups, each one working closely with an educator and usually focusing on an exploration of materials and /or spaces in the school or project work around a particular topic or goal.

Outdoor Exploration

Children are encouraged to engage with their peers and engage in gross motor activities. The teachers plan soccer games, follow the leader activities, and encourage the children to go on "expeditions." The children explore the outdoors and engage with water, sand and paint. The children tend to our gardens and get in touch with nature.

Lunch Time

Each teacher sits at a lunch table in the classroom with a small group of six or seven children. Children bring their lunches from home, and the option of pizza lunch is offered once a week.  As the year progresses, children take increasing responsibly for helping to set the tables and serve themselves food. (12:00—12:45 p.m.)

Transition to Quiet Time/ Story Time

While each child has a turn to use the toilet and wash hands, the others gather with an educator for story time or relaxing music and movement activities. (12:45—1:30 p.m.)

Quiet Time

Younger children take a nap while soft music is played and children lay quietly on their mats, typically with a special soft toy and / or blanket from home. Teachers circulate to pat backs and help children to relax. (1:15—3:15 p.m.)

For older children, rest mats are provided and quite rest time is observed for 40 minutes. 


Children are picked up at different times during the afternoon, depending on the child’s contracted schedule. 1:00, 2:00, 4:00 and 5:00 are the most common times for pickups. Parents are encouraged to arrive at least 10 minutes before their child’s scheduled pick up time so that they can have time to speak with educators and read any parent board information, as well as help the children to have a smooth transition from Chai preschool to home.

The Center closes promptly at 5:00 p.m.