Developing Great Curriculum Part I – Your Daily Schedule

You might think that developing great curriculum starts with a great theme. Nope, it starts with a great schedule.  Many fail at their attempts at curriculum because they have not thought through their schedule.  They attempt to put into place this great theme and activities that are awesome, only to find that the whole attempt ended up in chaos.

Set up your schedule. It is time to take a look at your schedule, first look at the times of your day, that are set.  These would be breakfast, lunch, nap, snack and if you make any school runs. Write these down.

  • 8:00 am Breakfast, bus comes at 8:35
  • 11:30 Lunch
  • 12:30 Nap
  • 3:30 Snack bus comes at 4:05

Now schedule in your preparation for lunch, breakfast, snack and bathroom breaks and clean up times, like this. Remember that curriculum does not have to occur in a large amounts of alloted time.

  • 7:45 Start breakfast
  • 8:00 Breakfast
  • 8:20 Start clean-up from breakfast
  • 8:45 – 9:00 Bathroom/Diapers

You are going to start to see, some time in small blocks.  Like the example above, what are the children doing in the 15 minutes that breakfast is being prepared?

  • Manipulative are always a good option, puzzles and books.
  • Dry erase boards and markers.
  • Anything using small motor skills.

As you move through your schedule, you will start to see patterns of time. Like what is going to go on from breakfast to 9:00 when I am partly distracted with clean-ups, diapers and bathroom breaks.

  • Free play
  • Block area
  • Home living or prop boxes

You have made it through, the first quarter of your day.  Now schedule your morning outside time and if you do a morning snack.

  • 7:45 Start Breakfast
  • 8:00 Breakfast
  • 8:20 Start Clean-up from Breakfast
  • 8:45 – 9:00 Bathroom Break and Diapers
  • 9:50 -10:00 Bathroom Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Outside

In this example no morning snack is given.  There is almost an hour for curriculum. Here you can schedule parts of your curriculum that you know are going to be more time consuming. These are often done in 20 minute blocks.

  • Circle or Calendar Time
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Sensory and Science
  • Music and Movement

Another tip for your  curriculum schedule is that you can always do part of your curriculum outside.  I like to do art and some of my sensory and science outside.  Now, you can see another slot of time that curriculum can be slipped into.

  • 9:50 -10:00 Bathroom Break/Diaper Check
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Outside
  • 10:45 – 10:55 Bathroom Break/Diaper Check
  • 10:55 – 11:30

Lunch is a tremendously hard time.  We have tired, hungry kids and our attention must be partly distracted by making lunch.  What kind of curriculum would fit in this time period?

  • Purposeful media. (Computer, a short video that goes with curriculum, etc.)
  • Table toys and smaller manipulative’s
  • Books and literacy activities
  • Any type of one to one activity.  Sharing is usually hard during this period.

You have scheduled half of your day.  Continue on in this same pattern to finish out the rest of you day.  I know that you are thinking, “My day is always unpredictable, how do I schedule that?”  My best advise is to be flexible, schedule a catch-up time, or just come to the conclusion that some days, you can not get everything done.  Keep a look out for Part II, of Great Curriculum.

More Recommended Reading:

Developing Great Curriculum Part II – Breaking down the Components

Evolution of a Playscape

Beating Burnout with Social Networking

“Good Job” is out.  Time to find a new phrase.

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