Creating a Preschool Schedule in Just 5 Steps

Creating a class schedule can be one of the most important plans you create for you preschool classroom.  Setting up your day to run smoothly takes some thought and consideration.  Because the truth is... your schedule can make or break the classroom behaviors you see.

Just think about it, if you schedule and execute a 30 minute circle time at the beginning of the year... then you will, most likely, have little rolly polly children on your carpet. Or, if you don't schedule snack time in between arrival time and lunch you are going to be having some 'hangry' students because snack or lunch is too far away! How about movement activities... If your outdoor time isn't until the end of the day and you have no movement activities built in, then you may find wiggles to be bursting at the seams!

So, to create a schedule that helps with positive behaviors and works against negative ones is the goal.  But, it takes being intentional.

Through the years I have found a...

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Tips for Teaching Classroom Procedures

 

Teaching young children the procedures and routines of the classroom is important for a safe and (less) chaotic environment.  The benefits of implementing visual procedure cards are huge.

To get the most out of visual procedure cards, first...

 * Learn why they are important, then...

 * How to implement them.

Now, get some A+ tips for implementing visual classroom procedure cards.

You can use pre-made procedure cards or create your own by taking pictures of the steps in each routine. Either way, these tips will help you make the most of the cards you created.

TIP 1: Print your procedure cards at 25% or 4 pages to a sheet.  This will make small cards that you can make into procedure strips for individual students.  These work great to carry around too.  Attach them to a retractable lanyard or put them in a teacher apron pouch.  That way you can pull out the procedure you need no matter where you are.

TIP 2: Use velcro pieces. Add velcro...

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How to Teach Classroom Procedures

Our young learners aren't yet readers. Therefore, posters of written rules, schedules and procedures are null and void.  To young children, these posters are just visual noise.

But, pictures are a different story.  Young children can 'read' pictures.

So when it comes to helping young children learn about routines in the classroom- visuals are the way to go.

I found a need for visual procedure cards in my classroom several years ago, so I created them, implemented them and I am so happy I did.

The benefits to visual procedure cards are huge. And I saw all of those benefits when I implemented them myself. Plus, the visuals have kept me from having to say a routine procedure over and over and over and over and... you get it!

So, how are these magical procedure cards used? Let's walk through it.

1. Decide the places/times in your classroom that need procedures cards. Some ideas might include: arrival, bathroom, line-up, walking in the hall, art easel, sitting at...

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Why You Should Be Using Visual Procedure Cards

Procedure cards are a visual, for the routines and procedures that you teach in a preschool, pre-k or kindergarten classroom.

Let's take a moment to stop and think about all the routines you have to teach little ones when they are coming to school for the first time...


Coming to the carpet, sitting at the carpet, lining up, walking in the hall, using the restroom, washing hands, how to clean up, how to treat toys, how to pack up to go home.... and the list goes on!  <<does this list make you as tired as it does me?

Many times, as adults, we think that some things (like flushing the toilet or hanging up our coats) are common sense. But, the reality is… young children haven’t been around long enough to learn what is common in our society. We have to TEACH them.

Our expectations may be very clear in our own heads.  But, children aren't mind readers.  Children have to be told and taught.

Don't want students running in the hall? ...

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How to Set Up a Preschool Classroom

Setting up your preschool classroom doesn’t sound that daunting… at first.

But, year after year I find myself determined to find the perfect (as if it exists) flow. After changing my mind about a billion times, I usually land on a setup that seems to work for me, but (more importantly) is conducive to little learners that learn through play.

Maybe I’m just weird… but, the thought of drawing out a diagram with all my centers and such is super exciting. Sometimes I want to just jump right in!

But, I’ve found that creating a successful layout isn’t just me drawing squares and labeling them on my ‘map’. Making the environment conducive to my little preschoolers takes some planning.

Here are the steps I now take to map out the physical space in my classroom:

  1. Inventory the furniture: Yep, I really do. What pieces of furniture do I have to use for centers? Tables? Shelves? Pull Out Drawers? Tubs?

  2. Decide on the areas needed: Which...

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Preschool Classroom Jobs  

You can give every student in your classroom a job easily and fit them into your preschool classroom!
 

 Kids love feeling special and I love helping them feel special!  That is why in our preschool classroom each and every child has a special job every day.  For us, having preschool classroom jobs is not just about children helping out in class.  Jobs help cultivate a feeling of community.  Plus, when each student gets a job everyday he or she fills a special spot within that community.  For preschoolers, jobs are super fun! Some of our jobs even work on skill building (win-win)!

I like to create jobs that fit easily into our day.   Some of the jobs I assign are carried out through the day.  Some examples of these jobs include: 

-Door Holder

-Light Helper

-Snack Helper

-Lunch Helper

-Materials Helper

-Line Leader

I also like to incorporate some jobs that promote learning and community that we carry out during our circle time....

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Organizing Your Preschool Small Group

Whether you love or loathe organization, the act of being organized in our classrooms make us more effective teachers.  When we don't have to spend time and frustration looking for materials or lesson plans- we feel better. And when we feel better- we teach better.

This is no different when doing small groups in your preschool classroom.  The organization piece is what keeps all the ducks in a row. << Cause we all hate the feeling of squirrels at a rave!

Organizing small group can be broken down into three buckets: 1. Organizing Activities 2. Organizing Data 3. Organizing Materials

I love to plan (what I can) ahead time... before the year even starts.

So, I put together notebooks for myself of skills that I would most likely teach in small group and store my activities within them.

I have 10 activities per notebook/skill and I can just pull a notebook out and have an activity ready in no time flat.

By front-loading these small group activities I have saved myself so...

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My Top Tips for Preschool Small Group

Here are THE 3 THINGS that have helped me have successful small group time again and again.  These top tips may seem small- but they are mighty!

 

TOP TIP #1: Have a Plan

 Plan for what you can control.  Many things may be out of your hands until your students are in your class and assessments/observations have been made.  But, that doesn't mean you can't plan anything small group related.

Start by planning...

  • what skills might need to be practiced during small group (use prior experiences to help you decide) and come up with activities you could do in relation to those skills.
  • how you want to monitor student progress. What is does your data collection look like?
  • how students move in and out of groups. Which missing skills receive the highest priority when grouping students?
  • how you will handle students that don't want to come to small group.
  • how you will handle students who aren't in the skill group, but want to play too.

 

TOP TIP #2 : Be Flexible...

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Preschool Small Group Activity Ideas

Welcome to the Preschool Small Group 5-Day Series! It's Day 3!

If you haven't already, check out Days 1 and 2:

Day 1: Five Reasons to Have Preschool Small Group

Day 2: How to Effectively Group Preschoolers for Small Group

Now, let's get started!

You know the benefits of having small group time {check}

You've got your groups all grouped up {check}

Now it's time to figure out what to do when you call those groups to meet together!

First and foremost- decide on what skills you will focus on. These should be skills that you have assessed and want mastery.

For an example, I have used the following focus skills in the past:

  • 2D Shapes
  • Colors
  • Name Recognition
  • Name Writing
  • Counting
  • Sorting
  • Patterning
  • Numeral Identification
  • Letter Identification
  • Number Sense

But, you could have any skill that you see a need for with your current group of students.

During Small Group

It is extremely important to keep your small group time engaging and fun.  No one is going to want to come join you...

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Preschool Small Group Schedule - Timing is Key

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Welcome to the Preschool Small Group 5-Day Series! It's Day 4!

If you haven't already, check out Days 1, 2 and 3:

Day 1: Five Reasons to Have Preschool Small Group

Day 2: How to Effectively Group Preschoolers for Small Group

Day 3: Preschool Small Group Activity Ideas


Let's chat scheduling.  No, I don't just mean when on your schedule you do small group (we will get into that too).... having an effective small group schedule is more than that!

Let's dive in!

>>> When in the school year should I start small group?

This totally depends on you and the class you have... but- you should NOT start at the beginning of the school year.

Here's why... children who are not coming to your small group are playing in play centers.  Before you can release them into the wild of play centers, you have to teach them how to properly use each center.  This takes time and a lot of your attention.  You can't just be trying to have small group and expect four year olds...

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