Our daily schedule in preschool

I always find it interesting to learn how others run their classroom day. I suppose you could say that our daily preschool is fairly typical but perhaps it is typical to me because it is what I have always implemented.  I wanted to share it with you but I hope you will share your schedule with me too so I can compare what we do with how others approach a typical day in preschool…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

First, it is important to note that my students come two to three days a week and three hours on each day. We have two classrooms that we use throughout the school year which includes an outdoor and an indoor classroom. The outdoor classroom is closed during the really cold months of winter because it has no heat or windows to help protect the kids from the really cold days of winter.  When our outdoor classroom is back up and running our daily schedule will be modified just a bit to allow us time for the outdoor classroom…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

This is a general overview of our daily schedule just to give you an idea of how our days are structured. I won’t go into every detail because this would be a very long blog post if I did but I will link up to some parts of our day that I have written about in detail as I go along.  We start our day by coming into the classroom, putting coats and back packs in our cubbies, then signing in on our sign-in sheet

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Then we head over to begin our morning circle time.  My students now tell me it is called “square time” because we are sitting on a square rug and not on a circle.  Our morning circle time includes our helper and weather routine and then highlighting any concept we may be focusing on like a letter, shape, color, or number…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

And then we dive into our morning story, music, and whatever else is going to be the central focus of our circletime experience

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

After circle time (or square time) we spend a few minutes talking about any thing we have prepared for the children to explore at our tables and then the children are free to choose what they would like to do in all of our centers.  We call this our morning center time – I will show you a few of our everyday indoor centers in action here…

Art Table

We set out different materials and tools everyday for creative art experiences. We also have a creative art shelf with markers and paint and glue and paper and scissors and yarn and so on for the children to use in their own way as they wish…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Block Center

We change the kinds of blocks and materials throughout the year but always have it set up next to our largest carpeted area on the floor for play…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Water Play or Sensory Play Tub

Our large water and sand play areas are out in our outdoor classroom so we set out a tub in the indoor classroom for this kind of play during the cold days of winter time…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Writing Center

We have different materials available all the time to promote writing in the classroom including clip boards, paper, pencils, crayons, stamps, stickers, envelopes and so on. We rotate the materials by listening to what the children would like us to add or observing what they seem to have lost interest in…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Other Centers

We can’t possibly fit everything into our small classroom environment at once that we would like so we rotate this shelf from being a light table center to a music center to a puzzle center throughout the year and you will notice that our books are kept just above this shelf....

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

We rotate other materials through the classroom centers  as we go along. When the materials are not in use, I keep them in my storage room or garage.

After Center Time

After our morning center time which lasts as long as the children seem to be staying interested in things then we clean up, wash hands and sit down for snack time…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

After snack time, the children clear their own table then pick out a book to read or look through while the others finish up…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

And then we get on coats, hats, mittens, scarves and head outdoors for play.  We may stay outside for five minutes or 45 minutes depending on the weather and what the children have going on outside. Often times, if a few children are ready to head inside before the others, then they can come back inside with me and help set up for the last part of our day and Mr. Hayden will bring the rest in shortly after…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

You will notice that I didn’t put any times down for our daily schedule for you. This is because we have a general idea of the order of our day but we genuinely try to keep the schedule open for change but the order the same. By the time we head back inside, we can have about 30 to 40 minutes left to finish up our day. This last part of our day changes almost daily. So we might use it for large group math bag time

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Or for our Scholastic Magazines

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Or a special science or sensory play activity…


Or journals…


But almost always, the last part of the day includes some kind of large group experience…


Or the children come up with some new experiment they want to try like making pyramids…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

And then the children head off to gather their things, put on coats and gloves, and it is time to head home…

Our daily schedule in preschool by Teach Preschool

Does your schedule look anything like ours? Totally different?  I’d love to learn about it so please share in the comments below…

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By |2017-03-29T11:42:38+00:00January 28th, 2014|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Sara January 28, 2014 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Very nice to hear about your day/schedule, thank you!
    I work with daycare in Sweden an our day looks a bit different.
    The day starts at 7am when the first child comes to my house . I have prepaired breakfast with yoghurt and cerials or oatmeal(homemade), milk to drink and sandwich with cheese or kaviar (hihi not Russian, bur a childfriendly sandwish spread). We eat when more chilren arrived at 7.30. Then we play indoors until 8.30-9 when we go outside to play. Usually we have a fruitsnack at 9. Depending on the weather we stay outside for a while, playning in the garden or going for a walk in the forrest. Lunch at 11.30 is allways a hot meal , made by me and the children, like meatballs and potatoes, or chicken and rise, or pasta, or a fishdish, always with vegsteables and milk/water. After lunch some of the children take a nap. The other children read some books with me. We spend the rest of the day playing inside or outside with a sandwish-snack at 3pm. The children are beteende 1-5 years old. We have some projects that we do like sensorybins, per-k pack and art projects that I plan from the childrens interest. We do them either in the morning after breakfast or after lunch. My daycare is open from 7am-5.30pm mon-fri .
    All the best
    Sara in Sweden

  2. Jenny January 28, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your schedule. I have such a problem with late comers so we have open choice with the learning centers first. The kids love that part of the day. Our favorites are dress up, building a train track with our Thomas the Train set and playing games on the iPad or reading books. Right now we are also working on making “curtains” for our room by placing cut out scrap paper on the sticky side of packing tape. (An activity I saw here!). But we’ve had so many cancellations due to cold and snow we’re all home today (again). I live in north central Indiana. Brrrrrrrrr

  3. Jenifer January 28, 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I love the unstructured centers. I was very structured when we started preschool (this is our first year open) but the last two weeks I’ve done unstructured thing and my children seem to love it. Some of them focus in just one of the centers while others always try to do all of them. Mind you I only have two or three set up that they can go to. I have a small class of 10. I have to say we have “square time” to as we use painted children’s pews to sit on rather than the floor. My kids love it!

  4. Mrs V January 28, 2014 at 10:22 am - Reply

    I have taught pre-school for 15 years and we begin our day a little bit different with “free play” for 15-20 minutes. At that time the children play with toys that are beneficial for fine motor skill developement. We then “ring the bell” ,all put toys back on the shelf and we do Journal Writing for 15 min. We then go to cirle for attendance,calendar ,weather, a story and recall. Next we discuss their “Jobs” for the day( Napkin, cup passer,line leader,etc) and off for bathroom break/wash hands for snack time! Following snack time the children return to circle and we demo how to do their project/craft …at that time we have “free play” once again but this time have numerous “Floor toys” /Centers…children come to the project table at this time 1-3 at a time to complete their project.We “ring the bell” approx 15 min before dismissal and the children put everything away and return to circle..at that time we sing songs/finger plays/dance.They get their backpacks and coats on ,make a line and we dismiss them 1 at a time! The “Schedule” may differ on special holiday celebrations . We are off school today here in Central PA….wind chills of -25! Hope this info can be of assistance to others!

  5. Emily January 28, 2014 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I have half-day PreK, 3-5 yr olds… I teach 2 sessions a day, each 2 1/2 hours. We’re public school, so we have the same schedule as the K-12 kids as far as days off,etc… but except for crazy weather/holidays, are in 5 days. Some of our kids have IEPs, others are “at risk” for various reasons. I’ve had to adjust our schedule a bit due to the weather (it has been TOO OLD to go outside and we only have the gym for the first 30 minutes of the day when there isn’t something set up for the older kids)… but in general:

    *kids come in, hang up coats/backpacks/etc, wash hands, sign in by moving their name, and head to tables… we have different things set up each day, but usually fine-motor activities- tearing paper for an activity, journal, name writing, lacing, puzzles, etc.
    *circle time- yoga, show and tell bag/helper jobs, story and/or discussion about whatever it is we’re talking about at the time
    *small groups- these rotate, so kids do one activity a day. Some are teacher-led, others are independent activities. Some weeks, my groups are leveled so all the kids are all working on the same sorts of skills, other weeks my groups are mixed so the kids teach each other. these usualyl last about 5-10 minutes, and as they finish, they are allowed to go play
    *free choice time/centers- I REALLY try to give the kids a full hour to play, sometimes it’s hard when we get really involved with something at small group or circle time. Like you, I rotate what’s IN each center, but the centers themselves stay pretty consistent. At least 2-3 days a week I try to put out a “special”activity that the kids may or may not choose to come explore. We have open snack during this time; the children move their name on the fridge,wash their hands, and serve themselves based on the directions on the snack basket (usually a number of items so they need to count), then clean up when they’re finished.
    *clean up- I have about 6 clean-up songs that go on shuffle
    *wrap-up and music time- story if we didn’t read earlier, usually we work on vocabulary/literacy concepts here as well (I have vocab cards for each unit that we try to rhyme, clap, find the first sound, etc once we know what the words are and what they mean)… plus one or more songs- the kids know the faster they clean, the more time we have for music 🙂
    *Pack up and go outside! (weather permitting… recently we’ve been skipping fine-motor work in the beginning and going to the gym right away… if it isn’t available and we’re still stuck indoors, we do extra movement songs, do yoga, or other fun activities)

  6. Kathy January 28, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

    We have a similar schedule our biggest difference is that we start and end our day on the playground:

    Outside exploration/ early snack ~yes outside 🙂
    Morning meeting/ language ~ we are a first nations on reserve preschool
    open snack/ center time, math center, literacy, light and shadow, blocks, loose parts, take apart( electronics we take apart), house corner, books and art area.
    Small group learning~ depends upon the day and some we do in 6 week blocks, math, literacy, yoga, and art( we have a central art room that we share as well as our own)
    Outside exploration~ And Feildtrip every Tuesday
    Non Nappers planned activites: Art, movement and mini projects
    Pm Snack
    Outside Explore and Parent pick up

    Thanks for sharing, love your site!

  7. Hayley January 28, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Late comers were an issue at our school too so we start our day with indoor or outdoor free play (we are a large co-op with assigned teachers and parents inside and out), then circle time, followed by drop in snack and indoor free play/stations. Outside opens up, snack continues and the children again have free choice indoors or outdoors. A second circle ends our day.

  8. Laurie McKenzie January 28, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting. This is my first year teaching preschool and I have been on the computer A LOT looking for ideas on activities, schedules, and classroom set ups. I have a 2 day a week program that runs the full length of the school day. I need to get some center areas set up. Right now I have a kitchen area, a block area, a book area, and our work area. I cannot seem to find a good way to set the room up with the space we have.

    Our schedule starts with children arriving from 8 to 8:30. They have free time and can go down to the lunch room for breakfast. We do circle time from 8:30 to 9:00. During circle time we get a carpet square to sit on, then do calendar, weather, mystery box, letter of the week, show and tell, and the pledge. Next we go to the tables and write/draw in our journals (cereal boxes that are the color of the month that I have asked parents and everyone else I know to save for me). I go around and label their drawings and date them. After journals we do marker boards or wipe off books and practice writing our names, the letter for the day and our numbers. Then it is snack time and recess. After recess we do an art activity that goes along with our letter or theme. Sometimes it is a one on one project with me while the others play (another time where centers would be good) and other times we do it all together. Lunch comes next, then recess. After recess we do story time and flash cards, counting and working on sign language. We have a special needs student, so we are learning some sign language along with her. The kid really enjoy it and enjoy having her in our classroom. We do rest time for about an hour (another thing I struggle with because I have 3 to 5 year olds in my room). We do another snack after rest time and them we do another activity at the table…I try to fit science in here, but don’t get to it everyday. When it is nice outside we try to fit in some extra recess. When it is almost time to go, the kids bring their backpack to the table. I pass out papers and check cubbies then they can zip and get their coats. I then check lockers for hats, gloves, boots, etc. We line up and go home.

    I have 14 students in a classroom that has one wall of metal lockers, a bathroom, and a wall of windows with a counter all along the wall with a sink and underneath is the heater and the only storage in the room. I have shelves with cubbies near our work tables. The tables are labeled with a name strip so they sit in the same spot everyday, and so they can look at their name when writing in on their papers. I am struggling with room set up and organization along with the gap in age of my students. Like I said, I am online a lot looking for ideas. We are coming along, but I am still not completely satisfied. We are ordering some different tables and a new book shelf…

    Thanks for your posts! They help me at least have a place to start, and the pictures are very helpful!

  9. Lisa January 28, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

    I am always so excited to read your posts. We operate our preschools in the same manner. It’s nice to see someone that has the same views that I do on teaching. I am lucky to have a whole downstairs level of a home to operate in. I teach at our church preschool. I have been in this position for 2 years and now we have a new President of our Parrish board of Education that wants to micro-manage my every move. My students that I have taught in the past for a few years are above and beyond what is expected for them to enter Kindergarten and I have had one placed in advanced reading. This makes me so happy. So, to this person who is trying to do this, I say, “ask the teacher how prepared they are when they come to Kindergarten”. So what I am saying is thank you for sharing that this is an appropriate way to teach young children. This person that is doing this is also a teacher. I keep saying we are not governed by Illinois school laws. I am teaching them to prepare them academically and socially for preschool. I don’t think she gets it at times. Sorry for the rant, but your site is so exciting. Thank you for making it. I LOVE it!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 28, 2014 at 10:54 am - Reply

      I absolutely agree!! LOVE!

      • Melati Djunaedi January 29, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        dear Deborah,
        keep on doing the improvements to be able to cater each generation, every new kid of the same age will have slightly different understanding and more criticall to what their favorites and needs, love,

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

        Love this Melati!

  10. Jan January 28, 2014 at 10:48 am - Reply

    I have a 3 day -9:00 to 3:00 class of 4 & 5 year olds, at a UMC church preschool. We gather all together for greeting then each class goes to the classroom.
    Attendance person takes attendance, Messenger delivers all mail and attendance to Director’s office.
    All group activity – Math game, Silly game, or whatever skill I might be working on.
    Center Free Choice, or Music/Chapel Specials. Followed by Snack and Recess.
    Weather Person fills out our monthly Weather Graph, song, weather word.
    Center Free Choice.
    M&M time. Which is Morning Meeting style, story, central focus activity. M&M bags (made out of fabric printed with M&Ms) which are take home bags; estimation bag, rhyming mystery mitten bag, I’ve Got News bag, current Class Book bag. I have 30-40 bags for the entire year and 5 or 6 rotate at a time. Journal Time.
    Science Helper helps with an experiment. Free Choice Center Time.
    Close out the day with the Kindness Wall/Chat about what we did.
    Go Home.

  11. Cindy January 28, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I love that you are fairly unstructured. I have a small space and 10 kiddos, and we have a schedule of how we put our day together, but not set in time. So if circle time get longer because the kids wanted to share more we can flex that in. I always shoot for at least an hour of free play, sometimes longer. I like the sign in you have, love the journals too. Might have to incorporate those!
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  12. Country Fun January 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Deborah, Enjoyed seeing how your day flows. Operating an in-home child care that runs 7am to 5:30pm our day certainly has a different flow and yet a similarity. My day will definitely change if the infant and school-age are present.
    The following is a general schedule knowing there are times that we need to be totally flexible.
    Minimum of 60 minutes of active play outdoors if weather permits. Indoor space also allows for active play throughout the day.
    Infants rest and eat as required/individual needs.

    7:00 AM ~ Doors Open arriving and free inside play
    9:00 AM ~ Snack (most everyone here by now)
    9:30 AM ~ Morning Activities where free play continues/ preschool activities/ outside play
    11:30 to Noon ~ Lunch is served family style (K buses make for the earlier lunch of 11:30am)
    12:30PM ~ story time / preschool activities
    1:00 PM ~ afternoon quiet time / rest time – for those transitioning from true naps quiet play starts at 2pm
    3:00 PM ~ free play (outside if weather permits)
    4:00 PM ~ Snack / buses from school here/ free play continues/ pick-ups beginning
    5:30 PM ~ Doors Close

    The space has access to blocks, puzzles, books, dramatic play, play dough and writing/coloring materials at all times. There is also an activity tray area with free access to activities pulled out to support/reinforce skills the group and individuals are working on.

    Enjoying seeing how others approach their space, hours and ages.

  13. Helen Cross January 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I am a uk childminder. We have freeplay before heading out on scooters to a Playgroup, library or park where we play until 11.30 then scoot home for lunch. We eat lunch together and then have story time and anyone who sleeps during the day has a nap. In the afternoon we go outside to play before doing a planned activity like baking or sensory play before story time and then home time.

  14. Anabela Frias January 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I am a Portuguese preschool teatcher. I like so much see your experiences.
    As I sow in your pictures, i think my work is smilar as yours.
    I wish know more about the way you work. It is possible?
    Change experiences will be good!

    Thank you
    Anabela Frias

  15. Betsy January 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    It’s always neat to hear about how others manage their time and fit everything into the day. Thanks for sharing.

    Our preschool is a large center with multiple classes at each age level. Our students come for 3 hours and have the opportunity to utilize before and after school care as well. We have a gym and playground for large motor play, we share these spaces with all the other classrooms so we have to stay on a schedule to keep everything running smoothly. My class comes 5 days a week. We also have 25 minutes of Music Class with a music teacher each week.

    My preschool day looks like this most of the time. 8:45-9am Arrival and Welcome: the children hang up bookbags, coats, etc. get out their home communication folders and put in the box, they move their name tags to the “at school” number line from “at home”. We have centers open but not all the art activities are available as the associate teacher is not in the room and had duties helping children from cars and into the building. Once everyone has arrived we have center time. We always have the Block Center, the Writing Center, the Art Center, the Library, the Housekeeping, and Small Games and Toys available. Often while one teacher works with the Art Center the other will invite children to play a small group game (dominoes, memory, crazy 8s, bingo, or a board game). Children have freedom to move from center to center or to stay at one the whole time. We encourage the children to visit all the centers at least once a week because we change out the tools and material available about once a week or so. At about 9:45 we clean up. At 9:55 we have Circle Time. We start with a good moving song to get the wiggles out. Then we read and count the name tags (I’m using Letter Links and my children have learned to read their own names and many of their friends with the picture/sound relationship) to see who is at school, at the beginning of the year we would just count, now we’re starting to notice ordinals or sometimes we do a math problem to see how many friends are at school. We notice the weather and wonder if we’ll be able to go outside or not. Then we read a story and sometimes play a whole group game or have some kind of whole group project. At 10:05 we go to Big Room (the gym) for 20 minutes of large motor play with another class. Our program has many large tricycles, 2 seater tricycles, “big wheel” style trikes, balls, scooter type ride ons, balancing toys, etc. We also have a full size brio train set and table and a housekeeping center at the side for children who are not interested in the fast pace of the middle of the gym. Then we have a bathroom break & wash our hands. We have snack. While we’re eating we review what we’ve done that morning and write a note to our parents (this is photocopied and sent home in their communication folder). They clean up their own snack, then the children may pick a book to read while they are waiting for other children to finish. Once everyone is finished we have a 2nd circle time where we go over the calendar, weather and write a sentence on the white board about what we did that day. The children notice letters they know and when we’ve been doing repetitive songs or stories they “read” the sentence! We have our Bible moment and pray. Then we get ready to out outside to the playground. We have 20 min on the playground with another class (but since we’re the last class of the day to use it, we often stretch it out for an additional 10 min). We go back in and it’s time to go home.

  16. Ellie January 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    I also love hearing how others schedule their preschool days! I have taught for 9 years and am always finding great ideas on your website. We have both a 2 day class (3 yr olds) and a 3 day class (4 – 5 yr olds). Each class is 2-1/2 hours and we have 15 – 16 children per class. We start our day with a sign in, but it is a name recognition — love your idea of signing their own names. Then we have 30 – 40 minutes of free play/centers. The children have a block area, kitchen & dress up area, chalkboard, magnetic board (which I made following your instructions!), dollhouse & small wood houses, cars, etc. Writing/coloring, homemade playdo (new color & scent every month), puzzles, scissors, paper, glue etc. are kept on low shelves for ease of use. Our classroom is small, so I use our two 1/2 circle tables to set up centers that correspond with our theme of the week or day. We use a large under-the-bed bin for sensory activities and a small shallow storage bin for a salt tray. Clean up is announced by “guess what time it is?” and our clean up song. We then are thirsty, so it is off to the drinking fountain (learning to take our turns and stand quietly in line) before Circle Time. Circle Time is for calendar activities, weather activities, air-writing letters, songs, finger plays, Star of the Week, stories and group chats. Sometimes when the children are really chatty, we have a ‘talk to your neighbor’ time. The activities during Circle Time are very fluid, but 99% of the time include calendar and weather. That way we can make group charts, predictions, learn left-to-right progression, practice sight words, rote counting, days of the week, months of the year, birthdays, and such. Because we work around other classroom schedules, we have our snack after Circle Time (first we wash our hands and set the table), then we have reading/journal time (children who are finished eating may write in their journals or read books while the others finish), then we have Divided Time. We split the class in half and each teacher (we have 2) leads a small group activity — writing, coloring, craft, bingo, games — then we switch groups. Finally it is our turn for Big Play. We play outside or inside depending on the weather. Sometimes Big Play is unstructured and sometimes structured. After Big Play it is time to go home! Thank you for the wonderful ideas on this site and for all the wonderful teachers who contribute to making every preschool a great place for our children!

  17. F.D. January 28, 2014 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful classroom you have! I really enjoyed reading your post about your schedule and those of all the people who have commented.

    I have a small Montessori preschool in my home with children aged 3-6, so it includes kindergarten. The preschoolers have a 4 day a week half day and the kindergartners have a 4 day a week all day program.

    The classroom is generally divided into four avenues of learning: Practical Life/Language/Math/Sensorial. Included in the Language area, we have cultural subjects like geography also. And I always have a shelf with art and/or science lessons in the classroom.

    The schedule is something like this (The times are just general guidelines.):

    8:30 AM Work time (Probably equivalent to your center time. A child can work on any lesson I have previously presented to him/her. The children sometimes work alone and sometimes with a group, depending upon their preference.)

    10:00 AM Snack time or continued work time. The children get their snack when they are hungry, but within a certain time frame, so some children might be working while others are eating their snack. A child helps make the snack.

    10:25 AM Line work (We have a taped ellipse on the floor on which we do exercises in equilibrium with music.)

    10:30 AM Work time

    11:10 AM Circle time (Various activities/lessons/discussions depending on the day.)

    11:20 AM Outdoor Classroom (Gardening, playing, making things at the carpentry workbench, etc.)

    11:50 AM Clean up

    12:00 PM Pick up

    Then the kindergartners will have their lunch and the afternoon schedule is much like the morning one. However, we work on tasks specifically geared toward kindergarten, including small group lessons in language, math, science, geography, etc. I also read a chapter book to the children in the afternoon.

  18. MIRIAM FERNANDEZ BORASO January 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    great ideas! thank for sharing! where can I download the grid for attendance sheets!
    hugs & kisses!

  19. Laure Dotterweich January 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I am in a catholic prek through 8th grade school. I have all day, 5 days a week program. 10 students are in my class, however 2 go home at lunch time (11:40am). We start our day at 8:00 with arrival activities such as fine motor toys, puzzles, drawing, etc.
    8:30 we gather for circle time to do our morning meeting/calendar and a short math or religion group activity.
    8:55 Snack
    9:10 my class goes to a special class such as art, music, PE, Spanish
    10:00 recess
    10:20 Circle Time – Reading
    10:45 Center time – free choice Construction center, Creative art, Dramatic Play, Train table, discovery table, interactive whiteboard, Storytime, Games, iPads, Computer
    11:40 lunch / indoor recess
    12:30 Circle Time – Math or Religion
    1:00 Recess
    1:30 Snack
    1:45 Rest time
    2:15 Centers (same as morning)
    3:00 pack up for dismissal at 3:10.
    It occasionally changes but I try not to so that it’s predictable and routine.

    Thanks for sharing all of your schedules. It helps as I adjust for next year.

  20. Barbara January 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Hello Deborah
    As a big fan of your blog, books music etc I feel that I must share what works for us. Our preschool runs four mornings per week for 3 hours each day. Our students range in age from 3-5 years. This year our classes are quite large ranging from15-20 students each day. With this many we are a bit more structured , to help with “crowd control!!
    8:30-8:45 arrival find picture on table and put it in who’s here today chart
    Go to tables and find name,where a manipulative type activitity is already set out. These vary each day but may be lacing cards, pegs and pegboards, puzzles, lacing beads. This is a social time, teachers have an opportunity to visit with children, practice counting/ colors.
    8:45-9:10 clean up opening circle which includes pledge to the flag, singing of America the beautiful a good morning song, calendar and introduction of theme/ activity.
    9:10-930 table activity: students all go to tables with one teacher per table and make or do something related to the theme. For instance we read about penguins and then made torn paper penguins. As children finish, they go back to carpet and look at books from classroom library until all have cleaned up.
    9:30-10:30 center/ free play time everyday activities are blocks ,sand tables, discovery boxes,housekeeping,manipulatives, playdoh to name a few plus each day we set out something special for exploration such as water color painting, easel painting, shaving cream play.
    10:30-10:45 clean up wash up snack time
    1045-11:15 story time and whole group activity such as musical games and songs, band instruments, rhythm sticks, my big backyard from scholastic, obstacle courses
    Outdoor play … Our playground isn’t readily accessible in winter but we love to play outside in the warmer months.

  21. Sarah January 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    My schedule is fairly similar during the curriculum part of the day (we have full-day preschool and childcare, but do main curriculum 9-1 including food)

    We start off with circle time, where I pick a line leader/helper for that day who helps lead morning prayer. I then do “planning” time where the class and I will discuss lessons/art activities for that day, followed by “daily review”, which includes the alphabet, shapes, calendar, numbers, etc. Lastly, children do attendance (which is sentence strips on the wall with numbers, they turn their number over to reveal their name)

    Next is free play in centers, followed by am snack and then gross motor play in a large indoor room. We then do story/music and movement, lesson and art activities, followed by outside play or a walk (weather permitting), then lunch, and nap starts at 1.

  22. Sarah Mullins January 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I have two sessions of 3 1/2 hours each, public pre k. We are off her e in west Virginia, too, today. We take care of belongings, sign in, wash hands, table toys for about 15 minutes, breakfast, center time for an hour consisting of blocks, dramatic play, sand and water, art, computer, writing, etc., then circle time with calendar, morning message, story, then 14 kids are split into two groups and do thematic literacy, math, art, or science activity, then go outside, weather permitting, or indoor gross motor, eat lunch and go home. Afternoon is the same except they eat lunch first and snack last. I am eagerly reading your posts because we are going full day (7 hours) next year. Yikes ! Can’t say how much I appreciate your blog!

  23. Melati Djunaedi January 29, 2014 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    For the last 16 years I and some friends volunteering in working with young children (age 3-6 years), and to date we also have programs for them who still loves being with us and our program (age 7-17 years).
    For each age group we do have the routines, they meet twice a week for 3 hours, they come from the less fortunate families, so the children from this community realy enjoying and appreciate the routines and ofcourse the field trips which currently only twice a year due to our non profit activities. Thank you for sharing and I am certain that the sharing through this page will deliver lots of ideas for us in continuing improvements that will benefit our early age kids and the community.
    warmest regards,

  24. Mrs. Young January 30, 2014 at 3:27 am - Reply

    Wow my day is so much Like Mrs. V it is unreal, we start with 40 min of free play I ring a tambourine and we gather at circle time, flag salutes, calendar and bible time, then off to the bathrooms getting ready for snack, they pour their own drinks after snack they read a book, do a puzzle or color while waiting for the others to finish, then out to recess for 30 min, gather again at circle time to do a center activities, some on floor with activities I have laid out others at the tables with me or my aide 1-4 kids at a time working on projects or fine motor skills, crafts. end of day we do sticker charts rewards for behavior and sing songs. I work in a Christian school,

  25. Shelli January 30, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Hi! I have a small, private preschool very near you in Kokomo. We have a mixed-age grouping of 3.5 to 5 yrs. Our day looks like this:
    9:30 – arrival, morning routine (hang up belongings, find name tag & place in pocket chart, place home-school communication folder in basket), workboxes (each student has a box each day containing fine motor activities, etc. that are tailored for their unique needs)
    9:40 – Morning Meeting (student jobs: calendar, weather reporter, flag holder, mail carrier) Students will write that day’s number on the calendar, choose clothing for our weather friend (bear in fall, gingerbread man in winter and bunny in spring – I have a whole story/scenario for this), hold the flag for the two pledges we use, get the mail and help with whatever that entails (finding a letter, passing around the tactile abc cards, guess the riddle, etc.). We also work as a group to choose weather words for the day then sing our days of the week song (love Greg & Steve) and months of the year song.
    9:55 – Learning Centers and Free Play Time

    10:40 – Clean up

    10:45 – Art Time

    11:00 – Snack Time

    11:15 – Large Motor Play (my kids like to call it “recess time” just like their older sibs 😉

    11:25 – Music, Story and Large Group Time – this is when we introduce our alphabet friends (paper bag puppets), participate in Math Labs, and play group games.

    11:45 – Dismissal

    All the times are approximate since I try to be sensitive to my kidlets’ needs and interests. If we don’t get to something, oh well – we can try a different day or a different way to get to that concept!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      I love how you have a plan but still remain flexible and that doing something on another day is always an option! Awesome! And hello neighbor!

      • Shelli February 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm

        Thank you for the compliment – I am so honored you responded! Perhaps some day our paths will cross. 🙂

  26. Whitney M January 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this post! This is my first year teaching Pre-K so I am very interested in what others do as I tweak my schedule for next year. I enjoyed hearing about your day and reading the comments.

    I teach a morning and afternoon Pre-K class which meets four days a week. Our class is 2.5 hours long. These are general times for the morning as a reference for others. The afternoon follows the same schedule, just later.

    8:30-9 Circle time–Includes hello song, name recognition with simple math using name cards, calendar, weather, show and tell and stretching. I try to pull some science in here also. The biggest chunk of this time is devoted to our letter of the week. We have 3 different curriculums that we reference and also add stories, songs, and brainstorm words together.

    9-10:15 Snack, Art, Free Play–We do three art projects each day for our fine motor work. I try to rotate the art mediums we use. I explain all 3 projects and then the kids eat their snack. When they are finished, they start their projects and rotate independently to complete them. I help when needed. They can play when they are finished. We have bins of many different types of toys, a kitchen, dress up, corn meal table, science center, art center, water table, puppet theater, play dough, and a sensory bin. I change items in the water table, play dough, and sensory bin regularly.

    10:15-10:30 Music–I incorporate a lot of movement and props (scarves, beanbags, etc.) as well as instruments into music time.

    10:30-10:45 Large Motor–If the weather is nice, we head out to the play ground. Otherwise we go to the gym (preschool is at a church) and run relays or set up an obstacle course

    10:45-11 Story and Dismissal

    I am interested in how some of the others incorporate yoga in their class and would love to do more large group activities like you mentioned. How many students do you have in your classes? Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      It sounds like you have a great handle on keeping a schedule! I don’t do yoga but would love to learn more too!

  27. Liz January 31, 2014 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I just have to say I love your blog and ideas.
    I don’t think there is a better site so full of information.
    I run my daily schedule a little different, but similar. We start off the day with centers. I put out materials in our science center
    And put other material to manipulate out on our tables. I love making
    The classroom different every week, this way when we go to circle time the kids have warmed up to each other, got wiggles and social hour out of their systems and those running behind dong miss out at circle time. Then we do story time to introduce the theme or what we will be learning for the day/week and then we are sitting and we start our circle time. Here we do helper of the day, calendar, weather, letters, sounds, numbers, and practice writing our letters and sorting items that begin with that letter. Next we do a math and or science activity. Then it’s snack time. Next we go outside. After that we do creative art and then independent reading and lastly music and creative movement. I’m with you that there is no time frame, but kids like to know what is coming next in their day and is that what really counts. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      I agree! If the children can have some sense of what will be next, then they are much more likely to not be stressed. Love your schedule but especially the way you wrote it! Too fun!

  28. Veronica July 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your schedule.I have a small Montessori preschool in Ireland with 10 children ages 2 and a half to 5 years old. Our day officially starts at 9.30 am but some children arrive at 9.00. We begin our day with free play and the children like to dress up or play with the sand tray or with the trains or toy cars. At about 10.00 we do P.E., nothing fancy, just running on the spot, jumping jacks that sort of thing. We then shake ourselves out to get rid of the wiggles!!!. It is then time for calendar time. We sit in a semi circle and take the roll call, discuss the weather, our letter and number of the week. Also any particular topic we are focussing on that week. I usually have a book relating to whatever topic that I will read to the children at this time and sometimes we have a song or poem to learn. This can take for 15 to 30 minutes depending on how long I can hold their attention!!!. We then have a snack, the children bring in their own. Depending on the weather the children go outside to play or look after or plant something, we have artifical grass so we have planted lots of thing in pots including peas, potatoes and various flowers. I like to be able to spend about 30 minutes outside.If it is raining the children stay inside. Once we come inside the children are free to work with any of the items on the shelves, various practical life activities, sensorial activites, language, maths and culture materials. I also have a book corner where they can sit and look at books. I have a large easel for painting and three children can paint at any one time. During this time I will work with each child on a one to one basis, demonstrating various activities. If we have some special event we will work on a project together. At 12.00 we have tidy up time where all the children help to put everything back in place. When everything is tidy we sit in a circle again and I will read a story and discuss it. We usually finish the day with a song or some dancing. The children go home at 12.30

  29. Kimberly Grentz February 7, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Hello again, Deborah 🙂 I have been reading and watching you a lot over the last week and I just feel so grateful. I have a really challenging year right now, and I am struggling over whether I can/should be in the classroom past this year- just getting through this year has been a huge mountain and I am counting down the last 3.5 months. But in my heart I want to be excited and I am an enthusiastic, energetic teacher- I just don’t know how to get it all done. I have no planning whatsoever and a handful of really challenging little ones. My energy and patience and understanding are wearing thin, and there’s no time after fighting fires all day to actually in meaningful interactions. Last Wed I was given the news of a an additional teacher’s assistant, and so I feel so happy and excited. But I am so behind and exhausted. Even with an extra set of hands yesterday (we were about to re-hire a gem of a teacher and she started yesterday, hooray!!), I just feel so overwhelmed and burnt out. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent- I’m sure there are others reading who can relate. All of that was to say- thank you. Thank you for having a great place for us to visit and remember why we do what we do. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support and such a wealth of resources. I am doing my best to put together the funds to enroll in your Feb 15th workshop and have been telling colleagues as well. Thank you 🙂 Have a great Tuesday!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Oh Kimberly – my heart goes out to you. I understand exactly how you feel and if you were in my home town, I would be right over to jump in and get you all excited again. Hang in there. Take a step back and focus on loving over meeting goals if you can. I hope your new teacher really makes things better for you. And you are never really behind if you are loving your students. That is what they need most from you!

  30. Julie February 20, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Our schedule is very similar to most of the ones shared here, but last year we moved gross motor playtime to first thing in the morning. I have loved this new routine! The children get their bodies warmed up and moving, and they return to classroom time more relaxed and focused. I changed our schedule out of necessity since I share space with other teachers, but I now hope I will never have to give up our morning exercise!

    My sister works at a school in China where it has long been the tradition to do school-wide “calisthenics” to get everyone woken up and ready for work. I think they’re on to something.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      Such a great idea to move gross motor play time to earlier in your day. We are always tweaking our schedule to see what will work best for the children in our care!

  31. Natasha Thompson April 17, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Hello Deborah,

    What do you kids do between the time they sign in and the time you begin circle time?

    Thank you!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Natasha,
      The children sign in then answer our question of the day then they join me on the floor for discussion about our question while we wait for the others to arrive. Sometimes, the children will also spend time writing in their journals, exploring the light table and magnet center, and reading a book. It all depends on the day but mostly keeping the morning light so we don’t have to interrupt a big process for circletime.

  32. Kate July 27, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    When you disperse the children to your invitation to play centers, how do you deal with crowd control? Do you let the children decide how many kids can go to each center and hope that they’ll be enough materials for all to play with? Do the children respond well to that or does it set the stage for potential fighting? Or do you use a completely different method?

  33. Mandy October 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Hi! thanks for sharing your schedule! I find it very helpful. I am new to teaching preschool and the school just opened up this semester. We are renting the building at a church so the supplies and materials don’t stay out over the weekend. I noticed on some of your posts that you use a theme or concept or have an agenda for the kids. Do you have resources you could direct me to that I could use to help me concerning daily concepts for the kids? I love all of your ideas and will use a lot of them soon. I agreed that having a theme to connect them makes sense. Any information would be apprecriated!

    • Deborah Stewart October 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      If you peruse my blog, you will see many different themes I have covered over the years and you may also wish to check out my Pinterest boards over at https://www.pinterest.com/teachpreschool.

  34. Mandy October 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Hi! thanks for sharing your schedule! I am new to teaching preschool and love your ideas on your website! I was wondering if you have a resource where you can direct me toward concerning units. I noticed you mentioned units that you work on and concepts you want your kids to get. I was wondering if you use a book for that or a specific resource. thanks!

    • Deborah Stewart October 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Mandy – At this time, I do not have any books I can refer to you. I would like to put some together in the near future though!

  35. Mandy October 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    thank you Deborah!!

  36. […] Teach Preschool’s daily schedule […]

  37. Brandy Ross September 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Our preschool day runs from 9AM-2PM. I noticed your day ends at Noon. Can you recommend ways to fit your daily schedule into a longer preschool day?

    • Deborah Stewart September 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      I don’t think you need to change it much. You can just give yourself a little more time in each area for play and perhaps add an enrichment time at the end of each day.

  38. maina gulati September 20, 2018 at 4:50 am - Reply

    i like your post …i want to open my own preeschool.but i have no idea ..so please kindly help me how to manage preeschool schedule

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