CLASS ROUTINES IN PRESCHOOL
what are class routines?
A class routine is something that you do daily (or almost daily) with your students. Routines build structure in your day and help children know what to expect. Some routines also help build your class community.
which routines do i need?
There are some routines in which every preschool classroom needs to be successful learning environment. Routines are powerful - they are the cornerstone to behavior management. These routines include:
Schedule: schedules are important. Children need consistency. Consistency helps children know what is coming next. Since children in preschool are unable to understand a length of time, a schedule helps them manage what is coming next in their world. You can read more about schedules here: Create the Perfect Preschool Class Schedule
Transitions: A transition is a time in your day when children move from one activity to another. For example, shifting from playing to cleaning up or standing and dancing to a silly song and sitting down quietly. Transitions can be rough. Some children struggle with moving from one thing to another so it is best to have a plan for transitions. My transitions are all about singing. It seems as if when I sing it - they listen! Don't scream- just sing :) You can get my transition cards with a song for each transition I do for free here: Transition Songs
Expectations: Expectations need to be visible and spoken. There are a lot of things that we expect from our preschoolers during the day. But, just expecting these things and not expressing them can leave you feeling frustrated. You expect your students to not interrupt you during story time, but inevitably there goes Sally interrupting on each page. You may have gone over this expectation at the beginning of the year, but to be successful you need to express those expectations every day....it becomes a routine. So, before story time talk about when it is okay to talk about the story. Even create a visual to help Sally and the other children remember that not interrupting is your expectation. The simple act of letting children know what you expect of them and what will happen if expectations are not met can curb a lot of classroom management problems.
Be a predictable Teacher: Behavior problems do happen in the classroom. Children push your buttons to see how far they can go. Children choose to do things you wish they wouldn't. How you re-act can change the dynamic of these behavior problems. Be a predictable teacher - once you have decided on an age-appropriate consequence for a behavior problem, be consistent. Make your reaction routine. For example, Sam uses his hands instead of his words. Every time that Sam hits to get a block from his friend he gets the same reaction from me. I do what I planned: I stop play, I help Sam use his words, I help Sam apologize and we practice how to ask for a block. I do this every time. Every. single. time.... it's exhausting - I'm not going to lie! But, eventually Sam has learned how to ask for a block. I taught him, rather than reacted to him and he now has the words needed to do it himself, which is a really big deal!
I also have some other class routines in my room that I find valuable. They may not be right for every teacher or every group of students, but I thought I would share them too:
Class Jobs: Everyone in my classroom gets a job. Giving students responsibility can not only make them feel special but it can drive them to make better decisions. I also love that my class jobs help build a classroom community. The well-wisher wishes everyone a good day by name, the greeter greets students- each and every one! You can read more here: Preschool Classroom Jobs
Name Writing Notebook: At the beginning of the day, while students are in centers, I pull each student one by one. We work together in their Name Writing Notebook. Learning to write names is sometimes a long process, so we take this time daily (or almost daily) to review. You can read more here: Writing Our Names in Preschool