How Children Spend Time in the Classroom
We must follow a schedule. There are two kinds of schedules displayed in the classroom. One is for you and visitors, the other is a teaching tool for children.

Sample Schedules ( in process..)

Daily Timed Schedule
Each classroom is unique, and will likely have a unique schedule. This schedule is posted in the classroom near the door. Developing schedules for multiple classrooms in not easy, and trying to make them provide for all desires is impossible. There are several requirements that are not negotiable, however, in order to provide a high-quality program:
  • The preschool hours are 8:30 to 3:00.
  • The day begins at 8:30 with a Morning Meeting of 10 minutes. . Do not delay your schedule for latecomers. Welcome them in without fuss ("Hey, good morning, Natalie. Come join us after you hang up your coat.") and work with families, administration, and family workers to help children get to preschool on time. Sometimes a center may have to temporarily limit access to the classrooms after Morning Meeting has begun, while staff work with families.
  • Within our 6.5 hour day, we must provide 2 hours and 10 minutes of Free Play to all children. We generally divide this time into two 1 hour and 5 minute sessions.
  • Teachers provide Small Group Instruction EDIT
  • Outdoor Play is provided for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, and ideally for 1 hour in two sessions of 30 minutes each, although this is rare within the 6.5 hour academic day. (Indoor Gross Motor activities using portable indoor gross-motor equipment must be provided during inclement weather or any other time when the playground cannot be used.)
  • Gross-Motor activities must be provided to children for a minimum of 60 minutes within the 8:30 - 3:00 hour day. This includes any Outdoor time, as above, and large-muscle movement in Music & Movement, below.
  • A teacher-led Music & Movement activity is provide each day for 15 minutes. This is in addition to Music & Movement materials and activities being available daily for free play during centers. Include Gross-Motor movements so that this time can be included in the Gross-Motor time requirements, as above.
  • A teacher-led whole group Read Aloud of 15 minutes.
  • A Whole Group Literacy experience that provides learning through integrated content connected to literature. Literacy and Math concepts and skills are intentionally developed, and this time mostly centers around a good piece of literature, fact or fiction.
  • A whole group Closing Circle of about 5-10 minutes.
  • Children must not have back-to-back whole group teacher-led sessions that even one child cannot manage. This is a ripe environment for inadvertently teaching some children dysfunctional dispositions and habits related to school and learning, not to mention decreasing your ECERS assessment score.
  • Ideally the active and passive times are alternated, and when that is not possible, transitions are adjusted to become more active or more quiet, as needed. Also look to alternate teacher-led and child-initiated activities, even within your large group experiences. Over time, you will become adept at doing this. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from your Master Teacher.
  • The schedule must be observable in the course of the day, without large differences between what is posted and what is actually happening. The rule of thumb is to stay within a 10-minute leeway.
  • Flexibility must be balanced by dependability. Please see All About the ECERS-R, especially pages 353-366 for a complete discussion. This book is available in your director's library for borrowing, but can be purchased here: Kaplan Early Learning Company

Here is a one-page explanation of the day's components, for downloading and printing: TBD Some classrooms use something similar to give families a description of their child's day. If you do this, change the description for a family audience. The one above is to help teachers know what is expected during these components.

There are other needs that impact the schedule. DHS licensing staff ratio requirements allow one staff member with a group of children under specific circumstances only. During the academic day, only Rest/Nap allows this. Therefore, when there is but one adult present, children may not be up and off their mats. So children are resting, but not necessarily sleeping, for as long as one of their teachers is out of the room, unless there is some additional coverage provided. Thus the length of staff lunches can, in some cases, affect the schedule.

To keep a schedule from failing requires the utmost cooperation by all adults. For example,
  • Since Morning Meeting starts at 8:30, both Assistant and Teacher must be ready to participate, with materials at hand.
  • If a teacher has a 12:10 to 12:50 lunch period, that 40 minute period begins at 12:10 and ends when s(he) returns to the room at 12:50. In other words, travel time is included.

There is no one, uniform schedule for all centers and all classrooms.

Even within a center, the schedule will be a little different for individual teachers because of the various provisions for food delivery, and because of scheduling constrictions for outdoor play. Not everyone can eat or be out in the playground at exactly the same time.

Before you finalize your schedule, please do read the other pages on this WIKI site: Components of the Day, and Your Schedule, The Components of the Day,and ECERS.