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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 16 Chapter One the week and can communicate with families about what will be happen- ing at school. Implementation Mary B.: “I feel better prepared because I plan— and I can still be flexible.” Next, teachers implement the planned-for activities and play experiences. They set out and prepare materials for both. Teachers know it’s impor- tant to introduce the possibilities of play areas and materials from which children can select to develop high-level play. They may explain what children can do with the materials or present a challenge for a new way to use them. In this way, they guide curriculum—encouraging children to try new things or to think in different ways. Each child chooses an activity and goes to that area. Then the adults in the classroom move about the room, interacting with the children at different areas. They are ever watchful, seeing where they are needed and what actions will most effectively facili- tate and enhance children’s play. Teachers implement large-group times that are engaging and last only as long as children are interested. By starting with physical activity and moving to songs and fingerplays that settle children down, teachers find that children’s attention gets more focused; then they are ready to listen to a story or watch a demonstration. For small-group work, teachers imple- ment activities that are hands-on and have many possibilities. With a clear goal in mind, teachers choose materials that offer children different ways to practice that goal. For example, if sorting and categorizing objects is the goal, then small bins of buttons, beads, stones, shells, keys, screws, and bottle caps will engage the children more fully than only one bin of similar objects. Again, teachers are ever watchful, reading the signals of children’s interest and ending the small-group time when it’s best for the children. Observation Rosemary: “I like the emphasis on the dynamic process of planning and observation. There is an interplay between the two because it may not always be obvious to teachers that this is what they do, almost unconsciously.” Teachers watch the children in their care throughout the day. They ob- serve the children in action as they play and as they participate in group times. They listen carefully to the children’s words. They read the chil- dren’s body language. They note the children’s emotional tone. They see the lightbulb going on when a child understands a new concept or masters a new skill. They recognize the frustration when a child has difficulty with something or someone. As teachers watch, they may write down a few of their observations, keeping a record of what they see children doing for assessment purposes. They may take photographs of a child at work and at COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL