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Preparing for Pre-K Calendar Time
Pre-K calendar time is a daily routine that encourages children to learn how the days of the week and months of the year are structured. Teachers often plan calendar time to take place at the beginning of the school day, when children are sitting in a group or circle.
When setting up for pre-K calendar time, use a large-size template of blank squares (seven rows across, five rows down) to make a laminated calendar for the children to see each morning. Attach Velcro fasteners inside each square, at the top of each vertical row, and at the top of the calendar. Add extra Velcro fasteners to the calendar squares for weather pictures if desired.
Make small laminated pictures of: the numbers 1 through 31, the names of the seven days in a week, and the names of the twelve months in a year. Weather pictures (sun, raindrops, snowflakes, wind, clouds) can be made as well. Attach Velcro fasteners to the backs of the pictures. The calendar can be bought prepackaged this way, but it is quite easy to do yourself. Play 2 Learn is a great site offering free calendar printables. Print them out on card stock and laminate for long term use.
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Teaching the Days of the Week/Calendar Numbers/Months
In preparation for teaching the days of the week, attach all seven word pictures to the calendar in the appropriate order (Sunday through Saturday). During pre-K calendar time on a Monday, point to the corresponding words and say, "Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday. Tomorrow is Tuesday". Repeat this process throughout the week, and ask the children to say the names of the days in unison once they begin to memorize the correct order.
Starting with the first day of each month, allow the children to take turns attaching numbers to the proper place on the calendar. For example, say "Today is Tuesday, September 1st. Who would like to put the number 1 on this square?" At the end of each month, clear all numbers from the calendar and begin again.
When each month begins, ask one of the pre-K students to attach the corresponding word picture to the top of the calendar. Talk briefly about any important holidays or classroom birthdays that take place during the month. Each day, allow a student to attach the weather picture that matches the outdoor conditions.
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Prekindergarten Calendar Time Songs and Activities
These activities and songs can be included in pre-K calendar time to strengthen memorization skills and encourage awareness of the month names, days of the week, and weather conditions:
1) Months of the Year Cheer
This chant will help pre-K students to remember the order of the twelve months. Encourage the children to clap every time they say the name of a month:
January! February! March, April, May!
June and July! August and September!
October and November and December!
2) Seven Days in a Week Song
This popular song is very effective in teaching children the correct order of the days in a week. It is sung to the tune of "Clementine":
There are seven days, there are seven days, there are seven days in a week (2x)
Sunday Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Saturday! (2x)
3) Weekday Weather Song
This song has two different versions, depending on whether the sun is shining outside. Pre-K students will also name the current day of the week while singing:
Good morning, good morning, good morning to you,
Good morning, good morning, oh how do you do?
Good morning, bright sunshine, (we're glad you are here) OR (we wish you were here)
You make us so happy, and fill us with cheer.
Today is _____, Today is _____, what shall we do today? (2x)
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Pre-K calendar time will give students a sound basis in learning how to track the days and months in written form, and will provide children with memorization skills that are beneficial in preparing for kindergarten.
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Preschool Calendar Lesson Plans: Teaching Days, Weeks, Months
Ideas for the new preschool teacher on circle time, calendars and scheduling the preschool day.