Two simple sign-in routines for pre-k

Every single morning, when the children arrive to school, there are two different sign-in routines.

Our First Morning Routine

Both of the routines are simple but very different in the process and in the way we can expand on the process. The first routine is to stop by the sign-in chalk table. During the first week, the children simply found their name and circled it. It was a good way for us to introduce the sign-in routine to the children without overwhelming them plus we could quickly get a gauge on who can recognize their name and who might need a little time in that area.

We then added a dotted rectangle around their name for the children to begin working on simple tracing skills. Each week, we will continue to modify the sign-in table just slightly to bring in new interest and new challenges.

Our Second Morning Routine

Our second sign-in routine can be found on our morning bulletin board. As you can see in the photo below, each child has a string of wooden beads stapled to the board next to their names.

Morning Routines Offer Many Possibilities

The children are quickly catching on to the idea of sliding one bead over as they come to the carpet for our morning greeting time. What you may not notice is that there is lots of possibilities for math built into this simple sign-in routine.

As we move into our morning greeting, we stop and take a look at how many days the children have been in school. We can compare who has come more or less days. We can talk about who is missing and consider why they might not be there (empathy). We can see patterns in our beads and compare and clap them out. We can count how many more until we can get to ten. We can add a bead and take one away plus more ideas will come up along the way. We don’t take the time to do every idea everyday as it would go way too long but we touch on a math component each day as part of our morning sign-in routine.

Celebrating with our Morning Routine

Since our students only come three days per week, we don’t actually get to have a 100 day party so instead, we are going to have a 10 day party, then a 20 day party, and so on. I am not talking about a big bash, just a simple party but it seems my plan may be overruled. Today my students informed me that we need to have a cake with 10 candles. I hadn’t planned on a cake but it looks like our 10 day party might get a little bigger as the time gets closer. The jury is still out on the sign-in beads process as it is a new idea this year but the children will help guide the way. I can wait to see where it leads.

More to Grow On

6 Ways to Encourage Writing in Preschool

Say Goodbye to Calendar Time

Available on Amazon

By |2018-12-10T17:00:15+00:00September 8th, 2018|

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. Karen Lockwood-Marble November 30, 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    What do you use to write the dotted lines around each child’s name so you don’t have to redo them everyday?

    • Deborah Stewart December 1, 2018 at 11:09 am - Reply

      We use paint markers to write the names and dots on the chalk table. The paint marker only comes off with water. The children use a regular piece of chalk to trace over the paint marker.

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok