Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups

Groups of children naturally form around special interests and can be briefly active or sustain an interest and be facilitated by one or more teachers on an ongoing basis. Groups can form at any time and be active at any time that the children are working. Members of the group can come from various learning groups and different ages within a classroom. Some interest groups develop complex projects and continue to work together for weeks or months. They can meet each day at project time, later in the afternoon, or as often as they and the teachers can arrange it.

Providing for and facilitating Interest Groups enables children to benefit from work on similar interests with other children who may or may not be in their structured Learning Groups and who may be of different ages. The mixing of interest groups, learning groups, free play times, and one-on-one times with teachers is a vital combination and variety of learning and development strategies that enhances individual and group growth every day.

The Afternoon Program is a natural organizing structure for interest groups. Children can develop a common fascination there and/or use the time for meeting around their own individual interests. Most classrooms have planned an Afternoon Program that features special activities that repeat on the same day each week. The activities are usually planned in collaboration by the children and the teachers. The activity is offered somewhere in the classroom, and children can elect to participate or not, as they wish.

An example of a typical Afternoon Program for a classroom is:
Mondays – “Working with Clay”
Tuesdays – Painting on Unusual Surfaces”
Wednesday – “Water Play and Explorations”
Thursday – “Assemblies: Constructions, Collages, and Crumpled Objects”
Fridays – “Disco Dancing”