Consistent schedules filled with meaningful, learning activities provide children with the foundation to develop and grow. Children become secure with predictable routines and activities. This is why a schedule of activities to follow each day is so important.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate best practices when planning your daily schedule:

Create a consistent schedule.

The more consistent each day is for the children, the more comfortable they will feel. Children will know what to expect and will be ready to learn. Consider having these items on your daily schedule.

  • Circle time
  • Outside time
  • Story time
  • Snack Time
  • Nap Time
  • Center Time
  • Music Time
  • Work Time
  • Transitions

Provide varied learning opportunities.

  • Whole group activities provide interaction with all children in a program. Circle time, morning and afternoon exercise, family-style snacks and lunches, and fun transition times are all examples of how children can spend time learning together. Consider including a mix of calm group activities and more energetic ones.
  • Small group activities give children time to work with each other in a teacher-directed or child-directed environment. You can create cards for games like alphabet bingo, use traditional board games like Chutes and Ladders, build structures using props in the block area, or set up a more high-energy round of musical chairs.
  • Individual learning experiences address a child’s unique abilities and skills. Teachers can adjust their lesson plans for specific children. Teachers can also take the time during small group activities to provide these one-on-one learning opportunities for children.

Implement domain-based activities.

Domain-based activities contribute to early literacy skill development and promote school readiness. A well-thought out activity often addresses more than one domain. For example, preparing for a craft project to create a tree using glue, twigs, and paper could address the following:

  • Physical: going outdoors and hopping around to trees and shrubs
  • Scientific: identifying leaves or tree types, asking why the leaves are turning brown, discussing what leaves do
  • Mathematical: counting the number of twigs and leaves gathered, then arranging them by color or size
  • Language and Literacy: asking how to spell “tree” and “leaf,” reading a poem about leaves
  • Art: encouraging children to arrange their leaves and twigs into trees on construction paper or poster board

Provide opportunities for promoting literacy and reading skills.

Programs and providers should include literacy and reading opportunities every day. Engaging children through story time and reading aloud, encouraging exploration of books in classroom libraries, and teaching emerging literacy skills through drawing and labeling drawings are all ways that will give children a good foundation in literacy.

Include adequate time for transitions.

Providing a smooth flow from one activity to the next throughout the day is key. To help children adjust to new activities, consider giving them reminders that the current activity will be ending soon so they can prepare. Simple transitions such as a clean up song, a line-up dance, or a “Word of the Day” chant are engaging and provide time for children to finish their activities and get ready for something new.

Use information from an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

If applicable, the daily schedule and activities should support the goals referenced in a child’s IEP or IFSP. When these plans are requested and received from families, accommodations and modifications to routines, play, and learning activities can be made so that each child is able to participate and be successful.

Explore more tools to help you create an effective daily schedule and plan for transitions in Enrichment Resources. Learn how these tips relate to Maryland EXCELS standards for Planning and Implementation.