every day, children will have at least 40 minutes of Choice Time; a
snack center is incorporated during this period. During this precious
and productive time, children may finish activities or work from earlier
in the day, and teachers may also lead small groups to work more deeply
on academic lessons or to assess progress. But the heart and soul of
Choice Time is creativity; children explore, experiment, read, dance,
observe, build, create, and act—and they play! Play is truly the work of
young children, and teachers plan the centers carefully to connect to
social and academic curriculum themes, as well as student interests.
The Pretend Play area becomes restaurants, hospitals, pet stores, barber shops, beaches, and campsites.
The Art Studio invites children to reuse recyclable materials such as cotton balls and bottle caps to create “beautiful stuff” masterpieces.
The Sensory Table tempts children with a variety of substances throughout the year such as soft pompoms, sand, water, shaving cream, and seeds.
The Block Area hosts the cooperative construction of elaborate structures that become sites for dramatic play over the course of the week.
Many other activities—play-doh, dollhouses, computer stations, board
games, Legos, etc. keep Choice Time fresh and interesting and ensure
that every child has multiple places to visit that they find interesting
and challenging. Choice Time also honors children’s decision-making and
encourages their independence since they must budget their own time
within a day or a throughout a week.