The importance of a predictable routine in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on January 6, 2012

in Classroom Management, Daily Routine/Schedule

I often get asked to share the daily schedule we use in my preschool but I find it is difficult to share our daily schedule for several reasons…

  1. Our PreK students come 3 days a week and our Threes come only 2 days a week for 3 hours each day. The changes in numbers of children on each day affects our daily schedule.
  2. My outdoor classroom is closed during cold weather months or stormy days  (we have no closed windows in the outdoor classroom) which also affects our daily schedule.
  3. And my daily schedule may not work for your situation due to varying factors such as length of time in class; number of children in class; size of classroom space; age of children and so on…

Starting our day with morning circle...

Our daily routine

I think it is best to describe our daily schedule as a daily routine. We follow a daily routine that is adapted to the children’s interests or needs. The length of time we spend during one part of our day may change from one day to the next but the pattern or order of events throughout each day are consistent and predictable…

Reading a story during morning circle time

A daily routine is very important in the preschool classroom.  Whether you are at home or in the classroom, predictability is something preschoolers need in their lives.  Can you imagine if your spouse walked in and said, “Come on honey – load up the kids and get in the car, we have somewhere to go!”  And then expected you to drop everything, no questions asked, just to stop by the gas station and come right back home?…

Time to play in the indoor centers

Without a predictable routine, we are essentially expecting kids to drop everything and do whatever might come next without having a clear understanding or expectation of what that is. This causes stress and anxiety for young children just as it does for adults and can lead to some unhappy or chaotic transitions throughout the classroom day…

Indoor Center Time

A predictable routine helps children understand what is coming next in their day…

Snack Time

A predictable routine helps children understand what they will be expected to do during each part of their day…

Headed outside for outdoor play and the outdoor classroom (weather permitting)...

A predictable routine helps children be more responsible, independent and confident…

Outdoor play time

A predictable routine helps children be more relaxed and cooperative…

Outdoor Center Time

Our daily routine is essentially as follows…

  • Morning Circletime
  • Indoor Classroom Centers (Children generally choose from math, language, writing, reading center and additional planned activities in art and fine motor skills are at the tables.)
  • Clean up and Wash Hands
  • Snack time
  • Outdoor Play
  • Outdoor Classroom Centers (Children generally choose from sand table, water table, blocks, sensory window, play dough and additional planned activities in science and nature are at the tables.)  
  • Back to Indoor classroom
  • Afternoon Circletime
  • Large Group Activity (or small group activity – splitting the threes and Pre-K into two separate groups depending on the type of activity)
  • Free play in some of our easy to clean-up centers until time to go home.

Afternoon Circle Time

Afternoon Large Group or Small Group Activity (Math Day)

Afternoon freeplay till time to go home

That pretty much sums up the daily routine in our classroom. If you have specific questions or would like more details, you can leave a comment below and I will do my best to provide additional information for you…

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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