Do I have to do calendar time?
There are vastly varying opinions on this topic. Some suggest waiting to introduce calendar until after preschool. Others point to the observations kids make and the benefits of calendar and can’t imagine not incorporating it into their preschool routine. Most end up doing calendar time because it is a way to regularly expose kids to many skills in one short burst of time. We recommend doing calendar time with the goals we previously presented in mind. In a language rich home classroom, calendar time is another tool for discussion and learning.
If I do calendar time, does it have to be done every day?
No. Even if you do home preschool two days a week you can still do calendar time. You’ll just need to include elements that don’t have to be done daily (like graphing the weather might not work so well on a two day a week schedule unless you modify it in some way).
And if you plan to do calendar daily but miss it sometimes, that’s totally okay. Just catch up the days of the month when you resume calendar and continue on with your normal routine.
When is it best to start calendar time?
We don’t recommend a specific age for starting calendar time, but we do suggest following your child’s lead. We think it’s a good time to include calendar once your child begins asking questions like:
Is today the day we got to _______?
When did we go to _________?
How many days until ________?
When is the next holiday?
When are we going to ____?
How do I get started?
As you can see from the materials provided in this packet, calendar time can include many different components. Start slowly and introduce different components slowly, building your routine over time. This will ensure that you’re not overwhelming your child with all new information at one time.
When possible, introduce components as your child shows an interest in them. If your child is asking about what days you go the library, start talking about the days of the week. If he’s asking when his birthday is, start talking about the months of the year. If she’s talking about how the leaves are changing outside, include discussions about the seasons in calendar time.
How can I get my kid more engaged in calendar time?
Remember that preschoolers are active learners. Instead of expecting your child to sit quietly while you tell him about the calendar and ask questions back and forth, get him involved.
Ask your child to add the calendar numbers to the month.
Give your child a pointer and let her be in charge of pointing out things on the calendar.
Include movement by having your child do a number of activities to match the day of the month.
Dance and sing to songs during calendar time.
Make your calendar interactive and allow your child to move pieces (during and outside of calendar time). Some kids love taking the numbers off and putting them back in order. They also like to take down the days of the week and put them back up. They may need help doing so, but if they are interested then this can be a helpful way for them to engage in calendar time activities.
If your child is still not engaged after trying these tips, then consider whether:
- You’re focusing on concepts your child has already mastered
- You’re focusing on concepts your child’s not yet ready for or has not shown an interest in
- You’re making it fun. If you do calendar daily, it’s helpful to add new elements or novelty occasionally to keep it interesting.
It is also possible that your child is not developmentally ready for this task yet. If so, we recommend setting aside calendar time for a month or so and then trying again. However, you can still take advantage of daily discussions and questions that come up to take a look at the calendar and practice some of the tasks mentioned in this resource while you’re waiting to try again.