Have you ever wondered what a 3 or 4 year old does all day in school? We LIVE by a daily schedule and our routines throughout the day. Here is a look inside of my preschool classroom schedule and the ins and outs of that routine.
Let’s start with this large classroom schedule that is posted on the white board in the front of the classroom. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “What are we doing next? over and over again from my students when I did not have a classroom schedule posted. I think that it is very important to have a large classroom schedule in a neutral part of the classroom so that everyone can see it and so that everyone is on the same page.
Multiple students in the class receive speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The therapist push in (work with students inside the classroom) and/or pull out (work with students in another room) on designated times and days.
The students arrive to school around 7:45am. They put their backpacks in their cubbies, take out their red parent communication folder and put them into a labeled tray. The students then get their morning binders and begin working until breakfast arrives to the classroom. At the beginning of the school year, we repeatedly practice our arrival routine using hand over hand and verbal prompting. Within a couple of weeks, most of the students are able to do this independently.
The students take about 15 to 20 minutes to eat breakfast. During breakfast, the teachers have the students practice using good table manners by saying or signing “please” and “thank you.” The students are also expected to throw their trash in the trash can.
Whole Group Story Time and Morning Meeting
After breakfast, we move to the carpet for circle time and story time. While the teacher is reading the story, the students are encouraged to sit quietly and look at the pictures. Story time is our first activity because we feel that is when the students are most engaged. The students identify parts of the book such as the front cover, the back cover, the title and the author. We also go over picture vocabulary to identify characters and objects in the story.
Next, we move on to our morning meeting. The morning meeting is conducted generally on the SmartBoard. During our morning meeting, we sing our good morning song, we greet each student and adult in the classroom, and we recite the Pledge of Allegiance. (see video below). We also participate in a calendar activity and sing songs pertaining to or monthly focus. (Color of the month, shape of the month etc.)
Gross Motor time is next and we either go outside and play on the playground, go to the gym or go to the sensory room. The students toss, kick and catch balls, spin around the hoola hoop and throw frisbees.
When we return to the classroom, the students choose a center to play in under adult supervision. Their center choses are the literacy center, the blocks center, the lego center, the kitchen center and table toys and games center. The teachers also work in a small group with the students during center time and or/engage with them while in the center. The students complete a craft or participate in a teacher lead activity such as playdough or a cut and paste activity.
As a transition from Play centers to the next activity, the “Clean Up” song is played on the Smartboard.
The students receive a snack as an award when they have cleaned up all of the toys at the end of center time. The students choose from a cookie or a handful of goldfish. (Most students choose the cookie). The students are encouraged, once again, to say or sign “please” and “thank you” and they have to clean up their trash when they are finished.
Independent/1:1 work Time
Next, we dive right into our independent/1:1 work time. I announce to the class that it is “Goal Work Time.” The students go to their assign tables and practice specific IEP goals and basic skills by completing task boxes and/or work on pre-writing skills and handwriting skills (learn more here) using the simple handwriting sheets from Simply Special Ed.
The students eat lunch in the classroom. The teachers assist with opening milk cartons and making sure the students use appropriate social skills during meal time.
Social Emotional Learning
After lunch, we combine with the other preschool special education class in the building and participate as a large group in our Social Emotional Learning curriculum. The teacher leads activities and discussions about different social skills (such as empathy). The students participate by answering questions, reading books and watching videos that promote social emotional skills.
We then participate in our second gross motor time of the day.
The students then have rest hour. The students can take a nap or read quietly.
Before dismissal, the students have a dance break session where they are able to request an appropriate song and dance around on the carpet. After about 10 minutes of dancing, the teacher then puts on a Goodbye song on the Smartboard to signal to the class that the day is ending. The students pack their bookbags and are dismissed. The Teacher Assistant takes the bus riders to the bus and the car riders wait in the classroom with me until their parents arrive at the classroom door.
As you can tell, we have a full day with many activities and events. I hope that by reviewing my schedule you will get some good ideas that you can use in your classroom.