It's winter, and you and your children are going along smoothly. Now is the perfect time to stop, look, and listen - and examine exactly what's working well in your classroom and what you might improve.
1. Review the daily routine. Do some transition times run well while others sometimes become chaotic? Compare those that work and those that don't. A new approach to try: Play quiet music while children clean up and move to the next activity.

2. Smooth out your day. Are there times when you feel a bit rushed? Try: setting up certain activities the night before, giving yourself more time for difficult transitions, singing your favorite song with children as you do certain tasks, or tapping an older child or a parent for help.

3. Evaluate children's growth - and make room for it. Is it time to alter routines and curriculum to better fit children's expanded attention spans and more sophisticated play? Try extending free-play time, adding new props to the dramatic-play area, and involving children in more class chores, such as cleaning up the paint containers and brushes after they use them.

4. Think about what's worked. Talk with children about the projects and themes you've explored together. What did they like best? What did they like least? If hands-on exploration of new materials seems to be the key ingredient, for example, make sure new projects include open-ended involvement with something children haven't experienced.

5. Consider the field trips you've taken. Which ones were successful? Are there any you'd like to repeat? Try revisiting the local carpenter, for example - but this time go twice, a few days apart, to observe the progress he makes.