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Daily Schedule

First United Church Nursery School is in session Tuesday through Friday, September through May. The nursery school calendar follows the Oak Park District 97 school calendar for holiday times.

There are four segments to the daily school schedule. The four segments of the preschool day are:

The day consists of a balance between child-guided and teacher-guided activities; between whole group, small group and learning center times; and between active and quiet times. All contribute to the children’s development and learning.

The order of the segments varies and is determined by each class’s assigned time for the playground or gym. For example, one class begins on the playground and two others end their day there. One class begins the day with group time, while others begin with choice time. The school day has a rhythm which is predictable and consistent, yet filled with interesting and fresh activities. Each class has the daily schedule posted and shares it with parents.

Guided Choice Time (Free Play)

A major portion of each day children are invited to choose among a rich variety of learning and play activities in centers throughout the classroom. Each classroom has the following centers:

During the Guided Choice Time period children are encouraged to take initiative in choosing their activities and in the course of the hour will rotate through several experiences. The teaching staff actively interacts with the children, asking them to reflect on discoveries, suggesting ways to extend their activities, coaching appropriate social interactions, building vocabulary and providing a fun and supportive environment.

Group Time

A time is set aside each day for music and literacy activities as a group. This is a chance to share ideas, to listen, to gain information and to experience community. Some classrooms have two group times and others may have a large group time as well as small group times. Group times may include movement activities, singing, rhythm instruments, discussions about topics of interest, science observations, math activities, games, poetry, fingerplays and books.

Snack Time

This is a brief period of the day, but an important time of community as children share in conversation around the snack table. Snack may be milk, water, fresh fruit, dry cereal, crackers or pretzels. Children assist with table setting, serving and clean up.

Playground or Gym Time

There are thirty minutes a day for active play on the playground or in the gym, depending on the weather. This is the time to run, jump, climb, ride, throw and catch. First United Church Nursery School is located within a block of two parks and has a large front yard as well. At times classes take walks to one of these grassy, tree-filled areas to experience the changes of the seasons and to play in a different environment. Daily exercise and time outdoors are essential for health, well-being and gross motor development.


Morning classes: 8:15 – 11:15 AM or 8:45 – 11:15 AM
Children arriving at 8:15 will have longer time periods for playground/gym, free choice activities and/or small and large group activities.

Afternoon classes: 12:10 to 2:40 PM and 12:30-3:30 for Alpha Club

Lunch Bunch: 11:15 - 1:15PM or 11:15 - 1:45
Lunch Bunch is a two or two-and-a-half hour extension of the morning program, which includes playground/gym time, catered lunch and classroom activities. Gourmet Gorilla is the caterer used for lunch (

The school day begins and ends with arrival and departure routines. At arrival children are greeted warmly by the teacher and then hang up their coats, put away their backpacks, wash their hands and in some classes sign in. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their belongings at both arrival and departure and are coached to be self-sufficient in dressing. Confidence is built as children grow in competence with the routines of school.