Back to School,  Schedule

Tips for Making a Great Schedule

Making a great schedule for your classroom ensures the teacher will be organized and the students will be learning.  Schedules allow children to know what’s next and what to expect. As a result, they feel safe and secure.

Here are some tips for making a great Daily Schedule for the preschool classroom.  

The ideal schedule should have balance, structure, and consistency. Whether a child is at home or school, they will thrive when the expectations are clear and they have routines to follow. 

How to Have a Balanced Schedule

To achieve a balanced Daily Schedule be sure you have blocks of  time allotted for the class to be very active. This would include your outdoor play time or when you go to specials such as a PE class or a movement class. Balance those active periods with quiet and calm by scheduling a block for Story time, snack, or rest. 

Have a mixture of Small Group, Large Group, and Independent activities planned in your Daily Schedule. Many teachers choose to work with small groups during the Learning Centers time block. This is an ideal opportunity where you can do an art activity or mini alphabet lesson with 2-4 children at the teacher table. Depending on your class size and what your students are learning, your small groups might be smaller or larger. 

Large group activities in your Daily Schedule would include your Circle Time or Morning Meeting. These are the times during your day where the children are all together doing the same thing. 

Independent activities should be another component of your Daily ScheduleTable Time and Learning Centers contain many tasks the students can do on their own. These are activities a child can do alone or with a partner which require no teacher assistance.  

A great Daily Schedule will also have plenty of opportunities for children to make their own choices. One prime example when students have Free Choice is during the Learning Center block.  This is where students can choose the center where they’d like to play. Once they’ve selected a specific center to be in, there should be lots and lots of choices of what they can play and do! Providing structure among all the free choices is key. Students will still need the structure of classroom rules and expectations while having free choice. 

Finally, a balanced Daily Schedule should contain both Indoor and Outdoor play times.

Examples of Daily Schedules

Every classroom is different and every teacher has their own unique situations to consider but here are a few examples to help as you plan your Daily Schedule.  

You will notice there aren’t specific times in these schedules but rather Time Blocks. Using a Time Block in your Daily Schedule will give you the flexibility to extend or shorten an activity as needed. It’s very important to always follow the structure and sequence of the Time Blocks but how long each Time Block lasts can be adjusted to ensure a successful preschool day.

Balance is evident in these schedules whether it’s a half-day or full-day preschool. There are Active & Quiet periods and time blocks for Small Groups, Large Groups, and Independent Play. Students have Free Choices and Structured times as well as a balance of Indoor and Outdoor Play. 

Of course, your Daily Schedule will include specific times you must work around for Specials classes, the Playground, and such. You will need to consider the number of students you have and their particular needs when deciding on how to schedule your day. The schedule from last year might not work as well this school year so be flexible to adjust and tweak it. And remember, there’s not one schedule that fits every teacher. 

Are you ready to create a great Daily Schedule for your classroom?