Unit 3, Lesson 4 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool Special Training
With each lesson in this unit we’re narrowing down our focus. So far you’ve thought about your long-term plan and developed a weekly schedule. In this lesson we’ll develop a home preschool routine. This will include the actual break down of activities that will make up your home preschool instruction.
Elements of a Home Preschool Routine
What should you include in a home preschool routine? This will vary slightly based on your educational approach and the level of structure you choose, but below is an overview of some of the common activities for preschool instruction.
Most often these activities are included daily:
Free Play-This is essential, and it’s listed first here for a reason. Free play is an integral part of early childhood development, so be sure to include ample child-directed play time in your routine.
Literacy Time-Literacy time can include all sorts of activities: singing songs and rhymes, reading stories, learning letters, phonemic awareness activities, prewriting activities, oral vocabulary activities. We often read books together multiple times a day.
Math Time-This often includes daily calendar activities to discuss the days of the week, the weather, and counting.
You’ll also want to consider snacks, meals, and rest time in your day, but those are already on your weekly plan sheet.
These are additional activities that many teachers and parents choose to include weekly or at different intervals depending on their instructional themes:
Invitations to Play-These are usually activities that are set out to inspire independent play. They can be related to a specific theme of interest and/or a skill children are practicing. Tot Trays, Workboxes, and Quiet Time Bins are also different variations of invitations to play. The difference is that invitations to play are often open-ended where the others can have a more distinct learning focus or planned outcome.
Science Investigations and Experiments
Act of Kindness
I included a block of time in our schedule that was for “Theme Activities” and within that time I would do a variety of the activities above depending on our current theme.
How much time you allocate to these different components is up to you. I’d recommend reflecting on the different activities you know your child enjoys and the goals you have for each child. Then choose the activities that most align with those interests and goals. Also take into account that most preschoolers will not be actively engaged in a seated activity for more than 20 minutes. It’s good to alternate between active time and seated time.
In the workbook for this unit, you’ll find a worksheet that helps you choose from the components you want to include in your daily and weekly routine.
As you think about how you will allocate your time during the day, also remember to include time for planning and material preparation so your day is both meaningful and manageable.
Now how will it all fit together? This is the fun part where we get to piece together your day like a puzzle, but before we get to your day let’s take a look at some sample routines.
Click on the links below to see a full description of two of our previous home preschool routines.
Below are some additional sample routines to help you think about how you might structure your day.
One chunk of home preschool time
Times are listed for the morning, but can be adjusted for an afternoon chunk of time. This schedule assumes that daily outdoor play is incorporated outside of the home preschool chunk of time.
- 9:00 Math Time
- 9:15 Free Play (You could prepare some invitations to play and have them out at this time, or encourage children to play independently with something of their own choice.)
- 9:45 Literacy Time
- 10:00 Snack and Read Aloud Story
- 10:30 Alternating Activities from the Weekly Components Above and/or Outdoor Play
- 11:30 Free Play
- 12:00 Lunch
Small chunks of home preschool time throughout the day
- 9:00 am Literacy Time
- Open block from 9:30-11 that is unstructured for free play, errands and family time
- 11:00 am Math Time
- Open block from 11:30-3 for lunch, rest, and outdoor play
- 3:00 pm Alternating Activities from the Weekly Components Above
- Open block after 4 pm for unstructured play and independent activities.
The combinations that can be created for full day home preschool are endless. Below is just one example.
- 8:00 Songs and Calendar Time
- 8:15 Math Activities
- 8:30 Snack Time and Clean Up
- 9:00 Dance and Free Movement/Free Play
- 9:45 Theme Activities
- 10:15 Story Time
- 10:25 Literacy (Learning Letters and Phonemic Awareness)
- 10:30 Free Play
- 11:00 Lunch
- 11:30 Outdoor Play
- 12:00 Story Time then Nap or Quiet Time
- 2:30 Process Art or Sensory Play
- 3:00 Snack
- 3:30 Outdoor Play
General Checklist Option
If the idea of scheduling out your day in this way is just not your style, you might also consider a more relaxed checklist format. In this format you’ll choose which type of activities you’ll want to do every week but instead of scheduling them out you’ll choose at random each day without a specific schedule. If you choose this option then you can skip the next section, you’ll simply use the “Weekly Components” worksheet from above to develop a lesson plan template in the upcoming units.
Throughout our home preschool days I modified our routine based on how it was working with my kids. So for now we’ll develop a basic routine, and you can assess and modify as you go along.
Map Out Your Home Preschool Routine
Now it’s your turn. Look back at the weekly schedule you developed in Unit 3, Lesson 3. Now use the worksheet of routine components you worked on in this lesson and sketch out your own routine. For each block of home preschool time on the weekly schedule choose which daily or weekly components you want to include and how much time you want to spend on them. Write them on the weekly schedule so everything is in one place.
Now head over to the Facebook group and share your new home preschool routine in the thread. Upload a photo of your weekly schedule or type up a summary, whatever is easiest for you. Also check out what others in the group came up with, and ask any additional questions while you are there.
That concludes Unit 3. You’re getting this planning process down! You know how you’re going to structure your days, and now it’s time to get some lesson plans together. In the next unit we’ll plan the activities you’ll teach during home preschool. I’ll share some great places to get materials, help you set up your learning space, and plan your first lessons.