22 Chapter One
are available (paper and instruments for writing or drawing; small manipu-
latives for constructing, such as Lego blocks; and playdough). He can talk
with friends as he works at his chosen activity until all of his classmates have
arrived and the group gathers for a morning meeting to plan for the day.
Now, let’s look at the learning that occurs at arrival time.
• The child speaks with the teacher and listens to her warm words
and directions for the arrival routines. Speaking and listening are
important language arts skills that build vocabulary and grammati-
cal understanding as well as relationships with others.
• He shows developing independence and responsibility (both im-
portant approaches to learning) when he puts away his backpack
• He uses his writing skills (letter recognition, fine-motor control) when
he signs in by writing down his name, and his sorting and catego-
rizing skills when he moves his photo on the magnetic board.
• He reads the question of the day (or a teacher reads it out loud
to him as he tracks along with his eyes), recognizes his name
card and the words “Yes” and “No,” and categorizes his answer
accordingly. • He joins his friends at the tables and interacts socially, sharing
materials, taking turns, and talking with others, showing concern
and care to members of his school community (all important social/
emotional skills that lead to the development of citizens in a
The learning goals identified above cover a range of domains including
language arts, mathematics, approaches to learning, and social/emotional
development. And all of them were addressed in a ten- to twenty-minute
time period that occurs every day in a preschool or kindergarten classroom!
With some thoughtful planning, teachers can embed academic learning
goals in routine activities that happen every day in their classrooms.
Learning during Play
How can teachers make sure that learning occurs during play experiences
as well? First they must organize a rich classroom environment. The class-
room environment is the most important source for learning activities and