Each and every child is unique as an individual. Each child possesses skills and abilities that can be further enhanced and developed. That’s why the daily schedule for preschool should incorporate elements that helps in the growth and development of every child.
Not only should a good early childhood education programme respect the pace of development of all children, it should also guarantee that children develop into their full potential across all 3 major domains of development.
In this article:
- Programme planning in early childhood education (ECE) centre or preschool – An overview
- The 9 essential elements of a good daily schedule for ECE centre or preschool
Note: ECE centre or preschool will be used interchangeably across the article.
The key objective of providing quality care and education during the early years, is to facilitate the child to develop as a holistic individual, and manifest his or her potential to the fullest across the 3 major domains of development, namely physical, psycho-social and cognitive.
The preschool program should also address the interrelated domains of holistic development through play, which focuses on development of overall skills, including life skills.
Programme Planning in Preschool – An Overview
Preschool programme planning is an essential component in imparting effective early childhood educational services, with the objective being to provide quality education and care for young children. There are countless means in which educators can plan things (covered under the next headline).
As you can see, the planning cycle for young children in preschool has no beginning and no end. It continues as an ongoing cycle day-after-day, week-after-week, and year-after-year.
The core objective of programme planning in preschool is to enhance and enrich the ways in which an early childhood educator should actively work with children, in order to create a favourable teaching-learning environment.
Play is considered the best method of teaching-learning for children under the ECE curriculum, for the simple reason that children by nature love to play, and they would therefore play and learn, learn better by doing – rather than just listening.
They are kids, after all, and listening can demand too much of patience out of them. Children of early childhood years are impatient, overflowing with energy, and are very inquisitive to explore their immediate world by using their sensory motor skills. That’s where play comes in.
Not just outdoors, young children are in constant interaction with their indoor environment too. They want to fondle everything they see.
Their interaction with the environment is high, as they learn by experiencing and actively participating in the learning process. That’s why it becomes important that teachers and educators understand the importance of indoor learning environment for preschoolers.
Succinctly put, the learning processes in an early childhood centre should be based on the needs, interests, abilities and social contacts of the children, for whom it is intended.
9 Essential Elements of a Good Daily Schedule for Preschool
A good schedule should be predictable. In other words, the sequence of events should always the same, even though the time as per the clock may vary a bit.
A good schedule should be flexible too. Having flexible time blocks allow for both predictability and flexibility. While the sequence of events is predictable, the teachers and educators can adjust the length of time either way for each block, according to the degree of involvement or restlessness of children.
3. Accommodates Developmentally Appropriate Activities
A good schedule should include a variety of developmentally appropriate activities, that is, the children should be able to explore a variety of materials. Activities should include all areas of development, namely physical, cognitive, social and emotional, language and literacy.
4. Children Should Make Choices
Children should be given the freedom to make their own choices and pursue their interests. This means the schedule should be balanced between child initiated activities and activities that involves guidance and support of adults.
5. Balances Active & Quiet
A good schedule not only balances active and quiet, but also the indoor and outdoor learning experiences. Alternating between active and quiet activities helps children avoid boredom and minimise or avoid fatigue, therefore helping them maintain patience and self-control.
Not just at school, balancing between active and quiet schedule holds good for preschoolers when they are at home too, and parents can play a very important role in this regard.
6. One Hour of Outdoor Play
A good schedule includes at least one hour of outdoor play in a suitable weather. Children will experience outdoor play for a portion of every day unless the weather conditions are extreme.
Attention Parents: Similar to balancing between active and quiet, an hour’s play outdoors also holds good for preschoolers when they are at home too.
7. Allows Children to Participate
While a good schedule provides reasonable space and enough opportunities for children’s participation, a hurried schedule could result in a not-so-constructive learning environment, therefore leading to boredom, non-participation and even agitation among children.
8. Allows Children to Complete Tasks
A helpful schedule allows time for children to complete tasks at their own pace. Most of all, it empowers them to complete the tasks in a very satisfying manner.
9. Accommodates Differences in Attention Plan
Most crucial of all, a good schedule recognises differences in attention span among children. Preschool children can sustain their interest for a relatively longer period of time only when it comes to self-initiated activities.
During group activity however, anything between 10 to 20 minutes is the average span of span for most of the 3 to 5 year olds.
The early years in children’s development are crucial in building their personality and shaping their character. For children between 3 to 6, the preschool offers an educational framework that not only significantly contributes to their development, it also addresses their needs at the start of their journey of formal education.
The curriculum is an instrument to help the early childhood educators implement the preschool’s educational goals into practice. These 9 essential elements of a good daily schedule for preschool is a tool that contains both educational and administrative elements, which together allow the teachers, educators and staff to organise themselves well and carry out their work effectively.
It therefore becomes important that the curriculum be adapted to those who it is meant for – the children, as it they who use it.