I have taught 1st grade for 15 years and used daily 5 and cafe for 4 years. I needed a change and am moving to a new school and will be teaching kinder next year. I am working on my vision for daily 5 and cafe in kinder - no problem. What I am wondering about is all the kinder stations I read about (home living, block, art, math, science, writing, etc.). I haven’t used centers or stations for years. The D5 literacy and the D5 math were my stations. How do you incorporate both models?
I am glad you asked, I have been wondering the same thing!
Welcome to the wonderful world of kindergarten! It’s a joy to launch all those precious little souls on the path to literacy. Daily 5 and CAFE are perfect for kindergarten, but I’m also a firm believer in the power of blocks, home center, art center, etc. What we do at my school is complete math and literacy in the morning and right after lunch Next we work on social studies/science. Then in the late afternoon, we have “choice” centers for the last 30 to 45 minutes of the day. Of course, you have to have buy-in from your administration that choice centers are valuable. You may need to do some convincing. For example, take photos of children building with blocks and point out a connection to “engineers of the future” or share that the home center gives authentic practice at getting along…“politicians and counselors of the future.” As you watch them work/play, you’ll see many connections to the real world. Choice centers are also a natural fit with differentiation as children work at their own level. In addition, these types of centers help children discover their interests and passions. If you need research that will support this position, try the NAEYC website. It really is all about balance. Kindergartners need to be exposed to everything! (But my personal favorite part of the day is reading to the children, talking about the books and watching them learn to write. Tee-hee)
I have to hide the choice center materials and pull them out at the end of the day and just call it station time. It used to be my fun Friday choices but these students need to play and have fun and not always be told what to do! I also tie it into behavior and take a minute off of this time per infraction if needed. I also let the kids who have had wonderful behavior and made great choices all day pick first. Depending on time, we do not get everything out but I try my best to get it in there daily - whether I should or not and even if it is for 15-20 minutes!
The new full day kindergarten model in the state of WA “requires” 70 minutes of uninterrupted purposeful play. This is where the blocks, drama centers, art materials, science inquiry come into the classroom. Having taught two sessions of half day for the past 10 years, I am excited and welcome the time for more self structured activities and time to focus on social emotional coaching. I believe that the Daily 5 and Math Daily 3 will fold nicely around this purposeful play - and that we will still have students who will choose to read and write during this time. I see the play block as almost a time for free form application and experimentation with what the children are learning. The routines that we use for D5 and MD3 will support that play structure as we meet to plan what we are going to play, and then meet to review and talk about what we did during that play time.