From ANIN sessions (Anglès a l'Educació Infantil. November, 2010. Thank you mates for this great job!)
How to help Children to understand routines
and classroom schedules?
Schedules and routines are important because:
- They influence a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development.
- They help children feel secure and comfortable.
- They help children understand the expectations of the environment.
- They help reduce the frequency of behavior problems
- They can result in higher rates of child engagement.
"A routine is an event that is completed on a regular basis, frequently involving a series of responses. During routines children learn about the sequence of activities, they begin to anticipate what will happen next, and they work on becoming more independent".
Children are less likely to engage in challenging behavior when they are aware of and can anticipate changes in the routine.
- A schedule that is followed consistently helps make settings more predictable for children and adults. When planning activity schedules, caregivers should consider the balance of activities (outside vs. inside, active vs. passive, teacher directed vs. child directed, the pace of activities, and the length of young children’s attention span).
- Longer play periods can result in higher levels of play behaviors.
- Teachers and caregivers should include blocks of time where children have choices between different activities and materials.
- At the beginning of the school year, caregivers should discuss the classroom schedule using a picture or object chart to help children understand what will come next.
How to help children to make transitions between activities?
Prepare children to move from one activity or setting to another.
Provide verbal cues before transitions (e.g., “5 minutes ‘til snack,” “it’s almost clean-up time”).
Use nonverbal cues (e.g., showing pictures of the next activity, ringing a bell).
Sing songs, play word or guessing games, recite rhymes, or do finger plays with children so that the time passes more quickly when they have to wait for long periods of time for new activities to begin.
Plan a gradual increase or decrease in the level of activity (e.g., outdoor play followed by snack) and a good balance of active and quiet play (e.g. center time followed by story time).
Limit transitions between activities.
Allow children adequate time to finish projects or activities.
Individualize transition strategies.
Provide support or different types of support to children during transitions (e.g., photos to help anticipate what activity is next, directions given in a child’s home language or sign language, an individual warning to a child that soon it will be time to clean up and begin a new activity).
Help children become more independent across the year as they make transitions from one activity to another.
Teach children to help others (e.g., have children move as partners from one activity to another or ask one child to help another child gather his/her back pack).
Help children self-monitor during transitions (e.g., children can be asked to think about how quietly or quickly they moved from one activity to another).
Provide positive attention to the children following the transitions that go smoothly (e.g., the times that children pick up the toys without much prompting).
Give very specific positive feedback after transitions (e.g., “Nicholas and Jorge did a great job cleaning up the block area and moving to the carpet.”).
Using classroom activities and routines as opportunities
to support peer interaction
Plan or design activities that support peer interactions.
Examine daily routines and activities to identify jobs or tasks that adults are doing that children could do such as assisting with snack, gathering book bags with a peer, and distributing art materials.
If needed, add steps to activities that would support peer interactions (e.g., pairing students to “dance with a partner” during a music activity, playing follow the leader through an obstacle course, inviting a friend to play during center time).
Support peer interactions during naturally occurring routines.
- Arrivals — Ask a child to greet friends and ask them a question.
- Transition times — Ask a child to invite another child to go to an activity.
- Circle and story times — Ask a child to pass out and collect materials.
- Snack time — Ask a child to pass out plates, cups, napkins, and snacks/juice.
Provide cues and assistance to support positive peer interactions, as needed.
Some children will require more assistance than others. Adults should be present and ready to provide assistance as needed (e.g., help a child invite a peer to do an activity with him/her; prompt a child who is collecting props to “Tell Tricia to ‘Put it in.’”). Provide only enough assistance for the child to be successful; make sure you do not complete the task for them.
Reinforce social interactions as they occur.
It is important that children know that we value peer interaction. Even if social interactions are a planned part of the day, it is important to praise and reinforce children for engaging in these interactions.