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Creating a Schedule
There are many different ways to approach creating a preschool daily schedule. You should definitely take into consideration the ages and attention spans of the children in your care. It is also important to consider the length of your day. Half-day preschool program schedules may have a very different look and feel than a full day preschool.
If you share a playground with other preschool classrooms, it will be necessary to meet with other teachers and decide which classrooms will use the outdoor space at which times. If your school takes advantage of special visiting programs such as gymnastics, dance or music lessons, be sure to add these to your daily schedule as well.
Use the attached free printable preschool daily schedule as a guide to creating your own schedule that works well for your class. Remember that you may not always get it right on the first try. It's okay to play with the times and activities in order to get a schedule that runs smoothly.
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As mentioned before, the first consideration to be aware of is the length of your preschool day. Many preschools offer half-day programs, while others, usually those located within child care or day care centers, are full day programs. Full day programs often offer nap or rest time for preschoolers while half-day programs rarely do. Many half-day programs end before lunchtime, so lunch will not be included in the daily schedule.
When planning for either half-day or full-day preschool schedules, there are several developmental things you will need to consider. There should be a balance of indoor and outdoor activities every day. Unless there are severe weather conditions keeping you indoors, children should be encouraged to play outside each day. If it is raining lightly, don raincoats and bring umbrellas and go for a walk with your class. Going outdoors doesn't always have to mean time on the playground. Nature discovery walks, walking field trips or even stretching or calisthenics outdoors with your class counts, too! There should also be a good mix of small group and large group activities daily. Do not force your class to function as a large group all day long; doing so will become frustrating for them and for you. Small group activities, as well as time for children to be alone, are very important to your day, and should make up the bulk of your daily schedule. One other thing to take into consideration is the balance between quiet and loud activities. Planning two quiet activities in a row can often be a recipe for disaster in a preschool classroom. Children may become wiggly and unable to focus through two quiet activities. Take a good long look at your daily schedule to be sure you have considered all the potential difficulties that may arise when putting it into action.
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Conclusion and References
The most important part of planning a daily schedule for preschoolers is to be flexible. If children are happily involved in an activity and would like to continue playing, be sure you are flexible enough to allow this. Do not cut short a learning opportunity just because the clock says it's time to move to the next thing. Also, don't be afraid to change things up if they are not working. If you have been using the same schedule for years and suddenly it isn't working anymore, don't be worried about changing it. Different groups of children will benefit from different kinds of schedules.
Be sure to use the printable preschool daily schedule to create your own flexible schedule for your class.
References: "Creative Activities for Young Children"; Mary Mayesky; 1995
"Understanding Children"; Judith A. Schickedanz; 1993
Free Printable Daily Schedules: http://images.brighthub.com/media/6E66EA_full-and-half-day-flexible-schedule.docx