Early Childhood Schedule

Dodge and Colker (1992) suggest the following example of a schedule for an early childhood program. It can be adapted for use with full-day or part-day programs.

"EARLY MORNING SCHEDULE
7:30 - 8:15 a.m. - Children arrive: Free play periods in classrooms; children and teachers prepare for breakfast.
8:15 - 8:45 a.m. - Breakfast and clean-up: As children finish breakfast, they read books or listen to music until free play begins. (This routine will depend on where children eat breakfast. If they eat in their individual classrooms, they can move directly from eating to the free play period. If they eat in another room, as is assumed in the example, there needs to be a transition activity, such as looking at books, until all children are through with breakfast.)
MORNING SCHEDULE
8:45 - 9:00 a.m. - Group time: Conversation and sharing time; music, movement, or rhythms; fingerplays. (The length of group time should vary with the ages of the children. A group of three-year-olds or three- and four-year olds with limited group experiences may have difficulty participating in a 15-minute group time. A shorter activity could be planned and lengthened during the year as children's abilities to interact with the group expand.)
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Free play: Children select from one of the interest areas: art, blocks, library corner, table toys, house corner, sand and water.
10:00 - 10:15 a.m. - Clean-up: Children put away toys and materials; as they finish, they select a book to read or move directly into the group time activity.
10:15 - 10:30 a.m. - Story time: Depending on the age of the children, there is one large group or two smaller groups for story reading. (The length of story time should vary with the ages of the children. A group of three-year-olds or three- and four-year olds with limited group experiences may have difficulty participating in a 15-minute group time. A shorter activity could be planned and lengthened during the year as children's abilities to interact with the group expand.)
10:30 - 10:50 a.m. - Snack and preparation to go outdoors.
10:50 - 11:45 a.m. - Outdoor play: Children select from climbing activities, wheel toys, balls, hoops, sand and water play, woodworking, gardening, and child-initiated games.
11:45 - 12:00 noon - Quiet time and preparing to go home (for morning programs): Children select a book or listen to tapes while small groups put on coats and prepare to leave.
LUNCH AND REST
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. - Prepare for lunch, eat lunch, clean up: As children finish lunch, they go to the bathroom in small groups and then read books on their cots in preparation for nap time.
12:45 - 1:00 p.m. - Quiet activity prior to nap: Story, song by teacher, quiet music, or story record.
1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Nap time: As children wake, they read books or play quiet games such as puzzles or lotto on their cots; children who do not sleep or who awaken early are taken into another room for free play with books, table toys, and other quiet activities.
AFTERNOON SCHEDULE
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Snack and preparation to go outdoors.
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Outdoor play: Children select from climbing activities, wheel toys, balls, hoops, sand and water play, woodworking, gardening, and child-initiated games.
4:30 - 5:15 p.m. - Free play: Children select from art (activity requiring minimal clean-up time), blocks, house corner, library corner, and table toys.
5:15 - 6:00 p.m. - Clean-up and small group quiet time: After snack and until children leave, teacher plans quiet activities such as table toys; songs, fingerplays, or music; stories; and coloring. Older children might help teachers prepare materials for the next day." (pp. 37-39)

Reprinted with permission from Diane Trister Dodge and Laura J. Colker, The Creative Curriulum for Early Childhood, Third Edition. Copyright Teaching Strategies Inc., Washington, DC. For more information, contact Teaching Strategies Inc., P.O. Box 42232, Washington, DC 20015; (800) 637-3652; e-mail: info@TeachingStrategies.com

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