The Nurturing Nest
Family Child Care & Preschool
Daily Schedule

A daily schedule helps children learn the order of their day. Young children like to know that they can depend on certain daily routines. This helps them feel secure. When I say things like, "after nap we will have an afternoon snack", children learn what to expect. The daily schedule also helps me organize my day and plan a good balance of activities and experiences for the children.

Please keep in mind that this schedule was developed to accommodate children of various age groups. Some children have their own internal schedules. For example, infants need to eat and sleep on demand. Children of differing ages have different needs, interests, and attention spans. School-age children have to deal with school and teachers as well. It's sometimes a wonder that any of the day proceeds as planned, yet for all the reasons mentioned above, planning is vitally important. It's what ensures that everyone, including myself, has a productive day.

Time Activity
7:00am Arrival
Children arrive at staggered times. Children can choose an activity until it is time to clean up for breakfast.
8:30am Breakfast
Family-style breakfast and conversation. Following breakfast, infants are changed and put down to nap. (Infants and young toddlers will be allowed to nap on their own schedules.) Older children help with clean up and play with table toys, read books, or listen to story tapes until everyone finishes breakfast and cleans up.
9:00am Morning Activity Time
Toddlers and preschool children select an activity of their choice or join in a noisy group activity such as finger painting, water play, cooking, or puppet making. As babies wake up, they are brought in to join the group activity. Children help clean up after the playtime.
10:15am Outside Time
Get ready to go outside: use the toilet, wash hands, change diapers, and so on. Outdoor play and/or walks.
11:00am Educational TV
The children can watch an appropriate TV program or participate in a special planned activity such as making and using playdough.
11:30am Story Time
Clean up and story time; get ready for lunch.
11:45am Lunch
Family style lunch and conversation. After lunch, older children help put food away and clean up. Hands are washed and diapers changed.
12:30pm Nap/Quiet Time
Everyone (except, perhaps, for a baby who has just woken up) has a rest period. Preschool children who can’t sleep, rest quietly on their nap mat looking at a book. It is reasonable to expect children to rest in bed quietly for 30 minutes before they are allowed to get up and begin a quiet activity. As children wake up, diapers are changed and hands are washed. Nap mats and bedding are put away.
2:45pm Snack
School-age children arrive and all children have a snack together. Children discuss choices for afternoon activities. Clean up follows.
3:15pm Afternoon Activity Time
Active indoor or outdoor play for all children. School-age children are invited to join in. A special project may be planned.
4:00pm Music & Movement
Group singing time and nondisruptive play for those who do not wish to participate in the group.
4:30pm Departure
Children go home at staggered times. Projects are assembled, diapers changed, and daily reports for each child are completed. Children color, look at books, or play with table toys until their parents arrive. Events of the day and plans for the next day are discussed with children and parents as they leave.

Although the daily schedule helps up organize the day, we don’t want it to limit our ability to be spontaneous and flexible. For example, if it is a particularly beautiful day, we may want to spend most of the day outdoors. Or if a child starts dancing to a CD I have put on, I may want to lead the group in a movement activity.


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