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Establishing a schedule is key for pre-K and kindergarten students

Unlike a business executive or transportation professional, kindergarten and pre-K students aren't focused on the clock during their day. The events in their lives are marked by what happens and not necessarily when it happens. The concept of a schedule may be something they don't fully understand yet. Some pre-K children may not be ready to juggle several concepts in their head at the same time. That's why educators should begin with a simple approach when introducing their class to the idea of a scheduled, organized school day.

The importance of a schedule
In the class setting, developing a schedule for pre-K and kindergarten students is important. A regular schedule gives them a sense of order and teaches the value of organizing their time, priorities, and expectations. When they are introduced to a regular routine, they can become more comfortable in their abilities as they begin to know what to expect.

Head Start Early Learning & Knowledge Center states that introducing children to a schedule can help them feel in control of their environment as they start to understand that certain event occur at certain times of the day. They learn the importance and benefit of planning as they know what is happening now and what will happen next.

kindergarten scheduleDeveloping a schedule for your pre-K or kindergarten class can be an important part of the learning process

Why schedules are important for children
Creating a schedule for pre-K and kindergarten students is important because:

  • It can help a child feel safe and secure when they can anticipate changes in routine.
  • It may assist children in understanding what is expected of them and when.
  • They can become more engaged and attentive when they have schedules and routines they are familiar with, possibly increasing their capacity to learn new lessons.
  • It could reassure children with behavioral challenges and help develop self-control if they know they must wait for certain activities.

Before creating a schedule for pre-K and kindergarten students, teachers should consider a list of important factors including: the number of activities planned for the day (a variety can ensure that all children find something that interests them and reduces the likelihood they'll perform in isolation for long periods of time), the balance of activities (between work and play), the children's general attention span/level of alertness (children may be alert and engaged at different times), and any cultural or language issues that might be a factor.

Creating a schedule for pre-K/kindergarten children
When establishing a daily schedule for pre-k and kindergarten students, there are a few things you should take into account:

  • The schedule should be easily explained to the children and fairly simple for them to comprehend.
  • An effective, well-coordinated schedule will be arranged in a manner that balances the activities directed by the teacher with those that permit free, open-ended activities that allow for creative thought.
  • The schedule should provide adequate time for each structured activity and include transition time as well.
  • It should accommodate children with special needs to allow them time to transition and adjust.
  • The schedule should be shared with parents so they can have a picture of their child's school day and provide useful input if necessary.
  • The schedule should be flexible, allowing time for special events or for activities to continue if children are interested and not ready to move on to the next activity.

It may take some time for the children to get used to the schedule and, indeed, there may be students who aren't able to fully embrace the concept, preferring to continue activities rather than move on to something else. There could also be children who actively try to break the routine, but maintaining consistency is important. Knowing that some students will require time to understand and adjust is key for the teacher. It's also important for teachers to follow the children's lead and allow activities to continue when children are very interested or want to extend learning in a different direction.

Establishing a schedule for pre-K and kindergarten students can help you become a more effective teacher as well. You will be able to increase classroom engagement through a structured school day, making you a more successful instructor.

To find out more about how to create an effective classroom schedule, consider enrolling in our online course called "The Daily Schedule" through ProSolutions Training.