Early Childhood Workshop Overview
The daily routine is based on the Early Childhood Workshop (ECW)model. It is based on best practices from early childhoodeducation and Saint Paul's Project for Academic Excellence. TheECW model anticipates structures children will later encounter inReaders and Writers Workshops but addresses, in particular, thedispositions and strengths of the young learner.
The ECW is organized in a daily 120 minute block with four basic elements:
The first section of ECW exists to build community and deliver instruction and demonstration of core content. Community is fostered by sitting in a circle and structuring for communication among students. The second element of the meeting is instruct and demonstrate. The teacher presents a brief, focused lesson related to standards using an area of study to convey the content. The lesson may be delivered through a Read-Aloud, Shared Reading, Interactive Writing, or some other conveyance. The final step of instruct/demonstrate is "link to action." This is the time to send the children off with a purpose, into an environment which has been intentionally prepared for their investigation and their practice of skills introduced in large group.
Active Learning is the heart of the ECW. Children learn best through "active learning," direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events and ideas. During Active Learning, children are encouraged to construct deeper knowledge through independent and small group experiences. Practical application of the daily lesson and intentional learning centers in Active Learning reflect an area of study.
Small group time occurs during Active Learning. Small group activities are planned and may extend the daily lesson, teach a new concept, or allow children to practice skills. The best small group activities are interactive with children cooperating, problem solving, and learning together while the teacher acts as a facilitator.
Regroup to Revisit
ECW ends with a closing meeting as children come together in a group. During this meeting, the children may be asked to revisit the day's lesson, explore some other aspect of the children's work, or plan an extension of learning for the following day.