The Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence daily schedule reflects a balance of teacher-guided and child-initiated activities, as well as small and large group sessions. The pace throughout the day is a good mix of calm and energetic activities, each one intentionally planned to create meaningful experiences that stimulate curiosity, discovery, and nurture a love for learning.
We use pictorial schedule cards to help children understand and follow their predictable daily routine. Throughout the day, children are encouraged to be independent by letting them actively participate in their personal care (e.g., washing hands) as well as help set up activities that not only enable them to develop critical skills, but also learn the value of cooperation and build their self-confidence.
While there can be no day that’s exactly the same, we follow a consistent and organized daily routine to ensure high quality early learning is taking place that promote your child’s growth, development, and school-readiness.
Arrival time is a structured routine in which children greet their teacher and classmates, settle in by hanging their coat or storing their bag, and doing a table top activity such as manipulatives, drawing, puzzles, and the like. Since arrival takes place over a period of time, children are engaged in constructive and meaningful activities while waiting for their classmates.
During Circle Time, children participate in a “morning meeting” to address the administrative needs of the day such as finalizing attendance, or reviewing classroom job assignments in a way that involves children and supports skill development. Children then participate in literacy activities and recite songs, nursery rhymes, or finger plays. Circle time also offers opportunities to introduce or reinforce specific content and skills from the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence, as well as the Virtue of the Month.
During circle time, children may:
• explore the calendar and weather;
• participate in morning message;
• review classroom rules;
• read character education stories;
• do Virtue of the Month activities;
• recite finger plays and sing songs; and
• participate in math-related tasks (e.g., counting the number of days in school, singing the days of the week, counting their friends who are present).
Small Group Sessions
Small group sessions give children the opportunity to work with their teachers on a specific skill—either individually or with other students in a small group. Activities during small group sessions are planned based on children’s learning style, their readiness to learn a specific skill, or their ongoing progress with the skill. During small group time, children may:
• participate in activities designed specifically for their individual skill level;
• interact with their teacher with less “competition” from peers;
• interact and cooperate with their classmates;
• have more opportunities to respond and demonstrate their capabilities; and
• have more opportunities to receive individualized feedback.
Center time, another intentional part of the day, provides children with time to make choices and initiate their own activities. Centers are activities located across different parts of the classroom, and children may work in small groups during this period or work independently. Centers provide an opportunity for children to extend learning. Although center time is sometimes referred to as “free play,” it’s really not “free for all” with the absence of rules. Available materials and activities in different centers are carefully planned and rotated frequently to provide children plenty of opportunities to develop and refine specific skills from the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence.
Depending on the classroom, centers include Reading Center, Writing Center, Dramatic Play Center, Block Play Center, Arts & Crafts Center, Sensory Center, Science Center, ABC Center, Math Center, and Puzzles & Games Center.
Read-aloud time is an important part of the daily routine because it helps introduce, review, and support each of the skills in the Preschool Sequence to children. While some skills can be addressed directly through the book-reading process (e.g., letters of the alphabet), other skills can be addressed only through informational texts and the content in storybooks (e.g., opposites, needs of animals). Read-aloud time also represents a key component of the Virtue of the Month Program for teaching the virtues and the desirability of having them through powerful character education stories.
During outdoor play, children develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as develop their ability to cooperate with their classmates to play group games. They participate in child-initiated play and exploration, as well as fun activities such as obstacle courses and games. Structured play activities are integral to the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence because they address the development of specific skills critical to school-readiness.
Children get the opportunity to develop their social skills and table manners during meal and snack times. They participate in and lead conversations with their peers, in the process building their oral language skills and self-confidence. Teachers also facilitate conversations by interacting responsively with the children, making comments, and extending children’s conversational topics.
Nap Time and Rest
Children wind down from their busy day and rejuvinate for upcoming activities during nap time. For children that don’t nap, this time of the day can be an opportunity for additional one-on-one time with their teacher who may talk or read quietly with them.
Just like arrival time, children may not get picked up at the same time so dismissal presents additional opportunities for children who are waiting to be dismissed to do some intentional and constructive activities. Children may also do a quick review of activities, lessons, and skills that occurred that day before saying goodbye to their classmates and teachers.