written by: Kendra Dahlstrom
• edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• updated: 9/11/2012
Instructional step by step guide on how to make visual pre k schedules to help children anticipate daily activities. These schedules work well for parents and preschool teachers alike.
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A visual pre k schedule gives children expectations and goals throughout the day. They become comfortable in their environment because they know what comes next and know what to expect. Their lack of classroom activity surprise doesn't make the day boring, it makes the preschoolers feel secure and in control of their environment. Creating and displaying a visual pre k schedule also minimizes negativity about undesirable activities. The students know that if they successfully complete a task, they will move to the next scheduled activity. To make a visual pre k schedule, teachers need poster board, construction paper, glue, and colored pencils or markers.
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Pre K Activities to Include
Visual pre k schedules work best when the activities provide interest for the children. Good elements to include on the schedule include story time, crafts, songs, snack, playtime and calendar time. During preschool years, incorporating play with learning activities helps students thrive and look forward to school time. Of course undesirable activities like clean-up time aren't always fun, but incorporating a fun activity like singing with picking-up helps children participate.
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Creating the Pictures
Once you decide which elements to include in the visual pre k schedule, you have to choose how you want to make your pictures. Cut out squares from the construction paper. Make them no smaller than three inch by three inch squares. If you have an artistic flare, go ahead and draw pictures coordinating to each activity. For example, story time is best represented by an open book, a picture of an apple represents snack time, a picture of a toy truck and teddy bear represents playtime. Craft time and Singing time represent two trickier elements to portray with a picture. Draw a pair of scissors and a paintbrush for crafts and music notes for singing.
For people without the skill or desire to draw pictures on the visual pre k schedule squares, find simple pictures in magazines or on the Internet. Try to find pictures of similar size and cut them to fit on the construction paper squares. You can resize Internet pictures easily with photo editing software and glue them onto the construction paper squares. Then, simply write times vertically on the large poster board. Space them enough apart to fit one square activity picture.
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Once the schedule squares are completed, place a piece of double stick tape on the back of each. Then, have the preschool students help you decide the order. Of course, help lead them in the right directions. Sometimes children want all the snacks and free play right away at the beginning of the day. Try to space out structured learning time and free time to balance out the schedule. Letting the students help with the schedule gives them ownership of their day, leading to less complaints. Tape the squares to the poster board in the decided order. Tape, instead of glue, gives the teacher more flexibility if the schedule must change from day to day.