Early childhood schedule: Preschool Schedule Ideas to Structure Your Day

Опубликовано: October 29, 2023 в 9:50 am


Категории: Child

Preschool Schedule Ideas to Structure Your Day

It’s a fact that children who have supportive and rich early educational experiences enjoy lifelong benefits. This benefit of preschool is supported by a daily preschool schedule that considers children’s developmental needs, from proper nutrition to motor skills.

A day at preschool is all about balance: quiet time and play, flexibility and routine, and structured lessons and free choice. While finding the formula that works for you and your group may take a while, the basic elements of a daily preschool schedule will remain the same.

This article will cover the components of an effective preschool schedule and give ideas on managing day-to-day preschool activities. If you’re looking for preschool daily schedule templates, head to the bottom of the article, where you’ll find sample full-day and half-day schedules.

How to create a structured preschool schedule

A detailed, structured preschool schedule will help you, your staff, and the children in your program have productive, enriching days. Carefully plan your activities and breaks to help foster the children’s development and growth.

Establish preschool schedule basics

The main objective of a daily preschool schedule is to structure the best environment for early childhood development. Since preschoolers can’t self-regulate the same way older children can, your careful planning enables their growth. A positive preschool experience is essential to optimal early childhood development, and this growth plays out daily according to how well teachers plan and engage with children.

No matter how you choose to schedule your time, the activities you engage in each day, or what resources your center has, your daily schedule should include the following:

  • Routine: Children perform best when they have a regular schedule and know what to expect.
  • Play: Children grow and explore through play, and every preschool should build playtime into the schedule.
  • Regular meals and snacks: Preschool days require lots of energy, and children need to fuel their bodies appropriately.
  • Downtime: Adults often wish nap time was still a part of their daily schedule, and for good reason: nap time (or downtime) helps children recharge so their brains can absorb what they’ve learned.
  • Physical activity: Regular time and space to move around outside is widely regarded as a staple for any preschool schedule and is essential for developing motor skills.



Incorporating all these elements into your daily schedule is necessary for promoting early childhood development and is often regulated by law. Check your state’s regulations to see their requirements and ensure that your plans align with standards.

For example, South Carolina requires outdoor activity for children daily as weather permits, and Florida requires that snacks and meals meet USDA MyPlate guidelines. There may also be different required staff ratios for active time and down time, which should factor into your preschool’s daily schedule and how you handle staff breaks.

Use flexibility to your advantage

Flexibility is an important part of your daily schedule. Early on, let your timetable be flexible as all of your children settle into a new schedule. Preschool is a time for growth and exploration that will manifest differently for each child, so you may face different challenges from one class to the next.

For example, one group of children might experience a relatively smooth drop-off, while another may need more time to prepare for the day. Maybe your last group was hungry long before snack time, and your next group isn’t hungry during snack time at all. There’s no way to know this ahead of time, but flexibility during the first weeks of school can curb staff frustrations about moving through planned daily activities.

The secret to a flexible preschool schedule is patience—and not just being calm if you run behind or have to adjust your day’s flow. It’s also about being patient with the children in your care. Starting preschool is a big adjustment; it takes time for children to trust their teachers and feel comfortable sleeping at nap time, eating new foods, listening to instructions, or socializing. Your patience and willingness to spend a few extra minutes to smooth things over is a major signal to children that you are trustworthy and on their side.

Another way to build malleability into your daily routine is to implement guided choice time, especially if you have a group of mixed ages and abilities. This will ensure that children are exploring and have “independent” time to socialize, take a break, or try something new at their own pace.

Manage transitions

Moving from one task to another as a group can be challenging for preschoolers. Managing your schedule’s flow keeps your day and the children in your care on track. Approaching transitions with a firm, gentle hand will help you usher your class along more easily.

One key element of managing transitions comes before you even start your day. Post a visual schedule where everyone can see it. It’s easy to make a child-friendly daily schedule using laminated paper or a whiteboard—no need to get fancy. As long as children know where to see the order of activities, the posted schedule is doing its job.

When it comes to transition times, use an audio or visual cue to signal the start of wrapping up. This could be a bell, a rhyme, a song, or anything else that works for your group. You can include children by making this a rotating classroom helper role, which will also instill a sense of the daily rhythm as each child assumes the role of “transition conductor.”


Use positive reinforcement and clear expectations to help your group transition smoothly. Set up rules around transition times, such as “Everyone does their share to clean up,” and praise children following your classroom code each day.

Another good way to smooth transitions is to provide quiet options for those who finish their tasks early (e.g., finish lunch early, wake up from a nap early). Picture books, puzzles, pencil drawings, or making pipe cleaner shapes are quiet, solo activities that are easily set up. These help children occupy themselves, so you don’t have to rush anyone and ensure that the whole group moves on from one thing to another together.

Preschool daily schedule example

  • 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. — Welcome / Free play
  • 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. — Breakfast
  • 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. — Clean up
  • 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. — Circle time
  • 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. — Learning centers
  • 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. — Lunch
  • 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. — Clean up
  • 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Nap time
  • 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. — Storytime
  • 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. — Outdoor play
  • 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. — Snack time
  • 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. — Clean up / Free play
  • 5:00 p.m. — Close

Preschool half-day schedule example

  • 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. — Welcome / Free play
  • 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. — Breakfast
  • 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. — Clean up
  • 9:00 to 9:30 a. m. — Circle time
  • 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. — Centers
  • 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Nap time
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. — Lunch
  • 12:00 p.m. — Close

Preschool visual schedule


According to the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations at the University of South Florida, visual schedules can prevent challenging behavior and help children learn to follow routines. Visual schedules associate pictures with each activity, so children can easily associate scheduled events with familiar objects. For example, children can associate an image of a bowl of cereal with breakfast time. 

Visual schedules can also help young children understand the order of scheduled events. If an image of a swing follows the picture of a bowl of cereal, children can make the connection that time on the playground comes after breakfast. When children understand the order of activities, it can be easier for teachers to transition them from one activity to the next.

How to create a visual schedule

  • Take pictures of items in your childcare center that correspond with your scheduled activities
  • Print the photos
  • Arrange the photos to fit the order of your scheduled events
  • Write the name of each event on an index card and attach it to the photo of the event
  • Display the schedule in your classroom

Plan the best you can

The “perfect” preschool daily schedule doesn’t exist. It depends on what works for you, your preschool set-up, and your classes. However, the framework of a good preschool schedule is made with building blocks that are tried and true, and classroom management can be all the difference in making a schedule work.

The routine you build with your preschoolers isn’t just what order you do activities in; it is also about behavioral expectations and how you can set up your day to support each child. Your daily preschool schedule lays the groundwork for all the learning and development that occurs each day, so getting it right is essential for a functioning classroom.

Early Childhood Education / Homepage

  • Teacher Work Days Prior to Start of School

  • Teacher Work Days Prior to Start of School

  • Teacher Work Days Prior to Start of School

  • Teacher Work Days Prior to Start of School

  • Teacher Work Days Prior to Start of School

  • Phase-In Start ~ Only Grades 3, 4, 5, & 6

  • Phase-In Start ~ Only Grades 1, 2, 7, & 8

  • Phase-In Start ~ All grades PreK – 12

  • No School ~ All Schools

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

  • No School Fall Break ~ All Schools

  • No School Fall Break ~ All Schools

  • No School Fall Break ~ All Schools

  • No School Fall Break ~ All Schools

  • No School Fall Break ~ All Schools

  • K-8 ~ No School

  • K-12 ~ No School ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Thanksgiving ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Thanksgiving ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

  • No School ~ Winter Break ~ All Schools

View Calendar

  • Cherry Creek Schools has launched a Back to School Hub, a one-stop online resource to make it easier for parents and guardians to get the information and complete forms necessary to start the school year. All families are required to update and complete their Parent Forms each year and before their child(ren) is able to attend school. 

    Visit the Hub now!

    Map highlights recent bond projects

    Visit our updated interactive map to see the bond improvement projects being completed at each school and across the district, thanks to the successful 2020 bond measure. Visit our interactive map here.

    Enroll NOW for Universal Preschool

    The Cherry Creek School District will offer free, part-time preschool to 4-year-olds at all elementary schools in the district starting in the 2023-24 school year. Enroll now!

  • If you have a tuition student, invoice amounts will be posted to RevTrak on the 15th of each month. No invoices will be mailed. Payments are due upon enrollment and the first day of every month from September through April. Click above for more details.

    Comments (-1)

ANO DO “Happy childhood” (socially oriented).

Service of psychological and pedagogical assistance to young children 2018-2019

“We started visiting the center when the children were one and a half years old (we have twins) and for half a year teachers Evgenia, Svetlana and Irina have been working with our children. Well, what can I say … firstly, we were quite surprised that in Arkhangelsk there is a similar institution where classes with children are held for free! We have heard that private lessons with specialists are not cheap and not everyone can afford them. Secondly and thirdly and tenthly, everything is not in vain and not in vain! Children develop, change, emotions appear, make contact. The teachers here, of course, are from God … the children are always happy for them and they themselves run away to their offices while we are waiting for the start of classes. Polinka even cries sometimes when the lesson ends and she has to go home.))) Well, the advice from the teachers for “homework” is very helpful. They give a vector for homework. I would like to note that the classes are held with the support of the Foundation for the Support of Children in Difficult Life Situations and the Administration of the Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region. This is cool! So people are in the subject of the problem and want to help. We hope that our children will continue to visit this center.

Yes, I almost forgot: we have twins and it is important for us that the class schedule is tailored to suit us. Wife alone with twins will not come. The head of the center comes to meet us and adjusts to our rhythm. Thank you!)”

Sergey, dad of Polina and Pavel

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Other Side Center for such a wonderful project on early help for children. My son and I have been going to classes for 7 months and we see a positive result, thanks to the professional work of Evgenia and Svetlana. Teachers are interested in children, attentive, son goes to class with great pleasure. And mom is very helpful advice from teachers on further development. I would like to note the excellent equipment, the center has a lot of educational games and toys. And it’s all free. This project is being implemented with the help of the Fund for Supporting Children in Difficult Life Situations and the Administration of the Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region, for which many thanks, this is a very necessary and important thing, I hope that this project will continue. Special thanks to the head of the center Anna Vasilievna for organizing such a hard work. I am very glad that I found out about this center and I always recommend it to my mommies I know”

Irina, Leva’s mother

“We have been visiting the Other Side Center for 7 months. We are very grateful that there is such a project for early assistance to children, which is organized with the help of the Fund for Supporting Children in Difficult Life Situations and the Administration of the Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region. We are taught by teachers who know their job, Evgenia and Svetlana. They are very attentive, can interest the child. Serezha gladly goes to their classes and does not want to leave them. During these 7 months, progress in development is very noticeable. I would like this project to continue to exist. Also, thanks for the understanding to the head of the center Anna Vasilievna, she always tries to make the schedule of classes according to our regime.”

Irina, Serezha’s mother

“We would like to express our deep gratitude to the Other Side Center for helping our son develop, namely, developmental classes, game therapy, holidays, trainings for parents … and much more everything else that is so necessary and useful for our children. We have been visiting it for almost a year, during this time we have observed a positive trend in development, our teacher Evgenia – Vladik loves her, with a smile goes to study with her. All teachers in this center are professionals in their field, many thanks to them for the precious contribution of knowledge to each child. Thanks to Anna Vasilievna, the manager, for making a schedule that is convenient for us and always treats with understanding if we ask to change something. Classes are held with the support of the Fund for Supporting Children in Difficult Life Situations and the Administration of the Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region, for which many thanks, this project is very necessary for the development of children. We hope for a bright future and prosperity for the “Other Side” center.

Kristina, Vladik’s mother

Psychologist’s recommendations — How to develop a young child?

The main feature of the period of early childhood, which is the basis for the development of the child, is the high plasticity of higher nervous and mental activity, easy learning.

Systematic, consistent influence of adults influences the course of the child’s personal development (emotions, intellect, behavior). The child will repeat what he sees and hears, treat people and things the way the people around him treat him. To form the correct behavior, a kind of censorship of incoming information is necessary. Up to 2.5 years old, it’s enough for kids to simply prohibit a number of actions (“You can’t knock loudly”), but after that it won’t be enough. They need to explain the reason (“You can’t knock loudly, because: the neighbor is sleeping, sick, the ears will get used to the loud knocking and will not hear well in the future”). Any positive action is reinforced with praise. At any age, a person enjoys public praise. Children are no exception. They are so happy when their mother talks about their skills and virtues with another aunt, grandmother, etc. In order for your child to grow and develop fully, pay attention to the following recommendations.

How to promote the development of a child’s personality in relations with the outside world?

  • It is necessary to create conditions for various actions of the child with objects. Communication between an adult and a child is in the nature of cooperation. At the same time, the adult acts as a model of new actions and as the main connoisseur of the success of the baby. Gradually, separate actions are connected in a chain and a process game develops. So the kid rolls the car and brings it to the garage; playing with the doll, feeds her and puts her to bed. In the game, children reproduce the simplest stories and episodes from their own lives and from the lives of adults. Having mastered certain actions, the child, as a rule, begins to resist the help of an adult in practical matters. These manifestations of the child’s independence should be respected and initiative should be encouraged.
  • The child should be encouraged to imitate the actions of an adult. If he expresses a desire to wash the dishes, you can give him an unbreakable plate, cup, put on a chair in front of the sink. Show how to wash with a brush, cloth. Adults should encourage the child’s desire for self-care: give them the opportunity to dress themselves, wash themselves, fasten buttons or zippers, put on mittens, etc.
  • Praise your baby for success. If something does not work out for a child, help him cope with difficulties, support him, let him feel his success. Should not be praised for unsuccessful actions. Evaluation of children’s achievements should be adequate to the achieved result. Deserved praise can be expressed very emotionally, with enthusiasm and joy for the child, and a negative assessment should always be short and accompanied by the statement that failure is caused by objective difficulties and can be overcome. It is advisable to give the baby the opportunity to cope with difficulties in cooperation with an adult.
  • When evaluating a baby, do not use impersonal assessments such as “good”, “bad”. The assessment should be detailed, set the criteria for success or failure in each specific case for the child. This contributes to the formation of his independence and independence, control over his own actions.

How to direct a child’s behavior?

  • Adults caring for a child should try to keep his behavior within certain limits. Sometimes parents think that any control over the actions of the child will interfere with his creative activity and independence, they only look helplessly at how the baby does whatever he pleases. In another case, parents are convinced that a small child should behave consciously in everything, like a small adult. They control and limit the behavior of the child, practically do not provide him with independence. The disadvantages of such extremes are obvious. Any instructions given by parents must be within the bounds of common sense and must take into account the needs of children for safety, independence and creativity.
  • Parental reactions help children understand how their actions affect others. Toddlers need feedback to learn to consider the needs of others. Feedback can be expressed in praise for good behavior (“What a good fellow, he removed the toys!”), Or soft censure (“Careful, this can hurt your sister”). The main object of criticism should be the behavior of the child, not himself.

How to promote the development of personal activity and the image of “I” of the child?

  • In joint activities and games with the child, the mother must ensure that the initiative gradually passes from her to the child. Interaction should be harmonious, i.e. the ratio of initiative and response actions, both on the part of the mother and the child, is observed. Try to respond to all the initiatives of the baby. Do not forcibly interrupt the baby’s game in order to work out with him (read a book, draw), do not interfere with his purposeful activities.
  • Create conditions for the development of the child’s self-image. To do this, give him the freedom to choose actions, toys, play partners. Respect the child’s right to his own opinion, manifestations of independence and independence.
  • In order to develop the child’s ideas about his physical abilities, conditions should be created for the child to master complex movements, naming them, performing them together with the baby, then giving him the opportunity to perform them independently (at the request of an adult). So, organize outdoor games that include different types of movements: walking, bouncing, squatting, jumping, running. Useful music classes with simple dance moves.
  • From time to time bring the child to the mirror, smile at his reflection, call him by name. Invite the child to look at clothes, correlate the reflection in the mirror with reality.
  • Children should also be taught to recognize themselves and others in photographs. The kid is shown to them mom, dad, grandmother, familiar adults, other children. It is especially interesting for a child to recognize himself at a younger age, to compare with himself at the present moment, to observe changes in his appearance, physical “I”.
  • The child’s developing sense of ownership should be taken into account. Understanding that he has his own place at the table, his own play area, his own bed, cup, clothes, etc., testifies to the development of self-consciousness, the idea of ​​himself as the owner of certain things.
  • Offer boys and girls a variety of toys, story games in accordance with sex-role affiliation, approve, encourage behavior corresponding to the child’s gender, creating conditions for the formation of gender identity.
  • Encourage your child to show empathy for the emotional states of others. Praise the baby for the fact that he seeks to comfort the crying, tell me how best to do it (offer a toy, treat him with sweets, hug and kiss). Similarly, develop in your child the ability to share positive emotions with others: joy, admiration, a sense of pleasure, etc.
  • Create conditions for the formation of a specific self-esteem, since an adult is at first the main connoisseur of the achievements of the baby, how the formation of a specific self-esteem of the child will largely depend on his behavior.

Create conditions for communication with peers:

  • To do this, first of all, it is necessary to form a positive attitude towards peers in children. By their own behavior, adults demonstrate respect for all children. They draw the attention of kids to the emotional states of each other, encourage manifestations of sympathy, empathy for another child. They organize joint games, teach children to coordinate their actions, take into account the desires of each other.
  • You should not compare a child with a peer when assessing his skills, abilities, achievements. Adults, who often use the method of comparing one child with another, thereby belittle and even humiliate his dignity, or the dignity of a peer. You can compare the achievements of the baby only with his own achievements at the previous stage, showing how he has advanced, what he already knows, what he will learn, that is, creating the prospect of positive development and strengthening the image of himself as a developing personality.

Adults should emphasize individual differences between children: some boys like to play football, others don’t; one child thinks one thing is right, and the other another.