Schedules organize the day. To meet children’s needs, the daily schedule must be consistent and balance physical, emotional, educational, and social needs. Schedules ensure that:
For children, a consistent daily schedule provides predictability. Without a schedule, children are likely to feel frustrated and tired by the end of the day. Schedules also help teachers know which materials and equipment they will need for the day.
While each day is different, knowing what will happen next offers children a sense of security, which helps develop self-confidence. A consistent schedule helps children understand the terms now and later, before and after, this morning and this afternoon, today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Schedules help teachers prevent chaos, boredom, and burnout. It is also the way children’s needs are met consistently.
Children’s schedules should:
Each classroom’s daily schedule includes the same elements for every child. These elements happen differently for each group, with make accommodations for individual needs. In the infant classrooms, each child’s schedule is individualized. Beginning with toddler classrooms, children are ready for a group schedule.
Children are best suited for learning when their physical needs are met, and they know what to expect. The daily schedule incorporates eating, bathroom, and rest times when they are most needed.
Plan a daily schedule that prevents boredom, waiting, and hurrying. Give children plenty of notice of transitions. Provide ample opportunity for children to relax and enjoy activities, including ones they can select themselves and move between at their own pace.
Activities should be designed to engage children. One key to prevent challenging behavior is to engage children with activities, peers, or adults. To promote engagement:
To keep children engaged and to prevent challenging behavior, plan for transitions as you plan for other parts of the scheduled day.