A day in preschool is filled with fun, joy, wonder, and smiles. We fill our schedules with circle time, read alouds, centers, and outside play. And we fill our classrooms with lessons, activities, and experiences that bring learning to life for our little learners. But there is one thing –one magical little thing– that is the glue that holds it all together. Do your know what that one thing is? ROUTINES! Routines keep our classrooms running smoothly and are a huge part of creating learning environments that are safe and welcoming. Let’s take a look at why routines are so important. Then I’m going to share three of my favorite circle time routines that really WORK!
Preschoolers thrive in stable and predictable environments. Routines provide a sense of security and help children understand what to expect throughout their day. When children know what comes next, they feel more in control and are less likely to become anxious or upset. Remember that warm, cozy feeling when you’re snuggled up in a soft blanket? Well, routines give us the same comfort! They make us feel safe and happy because we know exactly what to expect each day.
Independence & Responsibility
Routines encourage preschoolers to become more independent and responsible. As they become familiar with the routines, they can take ownership of tasks like putting away their toys, cleaning up after activities, or transitioning to the next activity. As preschoolers learn to follow a set schedule, they gradually internalize the importance of completing tasks in a timely manner. This sense of responsibility translates to other areas of their lives, enabling them to become more organized and self-sufficient individuals.
Knowing what to expect and understanding the expectations and procedures within each routine can lead to a reduction in behavioral challenges. The first thing a child needs to know when they are in your classroom is that they are safe. Children are less likely to act out or become disruptive when they feel secure and confident in their environment, and the stability and predictability of routines give them that feeling of being safe and secure.
If you have taught preschool before, you know that there is a definite rise in unwanted behaviors during transitions. When kids don’t know what they are supposed to do how they are supposed to do it, they will figure that our for themselves. And it’s usually NOT what you want them to do. Transitions can be challenging for young children, but routines can ease these transitions by providing a clear sequence of events. Moving from one activity to another becomes smoother and less stressful for everyone when you’ve clearly defined what that transition looks like with a routine..
Now that we’re on the same page about why routines are important, let me share three of my favorites with you! The linear calendar is a must-have during my first circle time of the day. The visual schedule is used throughout the day. And “The Bye Bye Book” is one of my favorite routines for my closing circle time.
While a lot of preschool teachers have calendar time every day, the traditional way it’s done is simply not developmentally appropriate for preschoolers. A linear calendar is a twist on the traditional calendar methods that takes the focus away from the days of the week and months of the year and places it on how the days pass in a way that is meaningful to the kids. It allows you to keep track of when they are at school, when they are at home, and when special events and holidays are coming. I’ve got an entire post about it that you can read HERE. You can also grab your own linear calendar set in my store. Just click the button to go check it out!
Daily Visual Schedule
Having a visual schedule in preschool is SO important! It’s a fantastic way to help your kids keep track of what’s happening during the school day. It gives them the ability to know what’s coming next and how much of your day is left until they get to go home. It fosters their understanding of the passage of time in a way that is appropriate for preschoolers, and it helps to give them a sense of security in knowing exactly what they are going to do during their school day. You can make a visual schedule by creating cards that show each segment of your day with words and a picture and placing them in a pocket chart. (This pocket chart on Amazon is what I use for mine.) OR… you can save yourself a lot of time by clicking the button below to grab my Daily Visual Schedule Cards in my store!
The Bye Bye Book
Ending the day with a closing circle time is a great way to come together as a school family, talk about what you did that day, and send your kids off with a smile. And one of my favorite routines to use during this closing circle time is “The Bye Bye Book.” The cute rhyming phrases like “See you later, alligator.” and “After awhile, crocodile.” are always a hit with the kids. They love reading this book together, and it will quickly become a book that they can pick up and read independently! The button below will take you to my store where you can grab a copy.
There are SO many more routines I could talk about, but those are definitely three of my favorites. They help keep things running smoothly during our different circle times, plus they are just FUN! I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are. Pop into the comments and let me know what routines you LOVE to use in your preschool classroom!
I’d also love to connect with you and get to know you better! I’ve got the perfect place for us to do that. It’s my Facebook group! It is a closed and private group made for preschool and pre-k teachers who want to become Circle Time Super Stars by planning and managing their circle time so that it is fun and engaging! Come join us. We’d love to have you!
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