I get asked a lot about our kindergarten schedule from a variety of people. Sometimes parents, other teachers, or even people not in education at all say things like “when I was in kindergarten we took naps!” and they are curious about what it looks like today. I even hear “What do you do all day?” Well, trust me, we are busy!
If you have known me for awhile or been around this site, you know that I am a huge advocate for play in the classroom. I am very blessed to teach in a place where play is not only supported but a part of every kindergarten classroom daily. Due to this, I have been asked a lot about how that fits into our day, so I thought it would be helpful to share our kindergarten schedule with you!
Every Classroom Is Different
Before sharing my schedule, I just want to state that every classroom is different in every school around the world. What works for one doesn’t work for another, and schedules often vary based on district requirements, bus scheduling, etc.
I also know that sadly, several kindergarten teachers are simply not allowed to have play in their classrooms. This is so disheartening, and I hope a change is near for them! If that is the case for you, I suggest reading 10 Ways to Incorporate More Play into Your Classroom, where I hope you can find some inspiration!
My schedule is just to give you a glimpse into our day since I have been asked so much about it. I am not going into full detail in this post about each aspect of our day, but I hope to answer the main question of “what do we do all day?” Of course – I would love to hear from you anytime with more questions, and please share with me in the comments what your day looks like too!
Our Kindergarten Schedule
8:30-9:00 – Arrivals and Morning Work/Activities
My kids arrive at all different times. We spend some time unpacking, checking in, having converstations and more! Our morning work may consist of reading out of our book boxes, writing on white boards, working on our printing, math work, etc. It is typically something that is self directed so that they can get started on it on their own as others arrive.
9:00-9:40 – Writer’s Workshop
This includes a mini lesson, time spent writing independently, and some sharing.
9:40-10:30 – Reading
This includes mini lessons, Daily 5 choices and small groups
10:30-10:45 – Snack and Recess
10:45-11:45 – Math
This includes lessons and math workshop/small groups.
11:45-12:15 – Lunch and Recess
Wish we had longer time outside, but as I am sure you can relate, I don’t make this part of the schedule!
12:15-12:35 – Quiet Time
This changes depending on my group of kids. Last year I played quiet music and my kids actually laid down for awhile and just calmed down. This year I read quiet stories or we have them read to us online. They come in from recess, get water, and need a little bit of time to rest. I find this really resets them and helps them with the afternoon.
12:35-1:30 – Inquiry
This is our science and social studies block. It gets integrated into our day, and math and literacy are incorporated into this time as well, but this is where we really dive into our inquiry units. Some afternoons I have specials, so keep in mind I don’t always have this long chunk of time for this!
1:30- 2:20 – Play to Learn
This is when my kids make their plan to play in our classroom. We have a kitchen area, blocks, cars, legos, puzzles and tons more. Our room is set up so that our work areas are actually integrated into play areas. You won’t find toys on the outskirts of the room, rather the centers are all throughout and in well defined spaces.
Kids decide on a plan, but are allowed to change their plan and move freely between areas. During this time I support the development of social-emotional skills, as well as work on academics on authentic ways as they come up naturally through play. For instance, if I have a student who isn’t able to count with one to one correspondence, I may build a lego tower with him and count the blocks. If a student cannot read CVC words, we may do word puzzles together or read books. This is a time that they are continually learning and it is SO important for their development. I can’t imagine our day without it! Keep in mind they are allowed to free play, and I do not interrupt their play. Rather, if they are interested in playing and learning with me, I may approach them, but I never interrupt them. For instance if a child was already immersed in building legos, I would never go over there and make them count them. It’s only if we have started building together or they show an interest.
2:20-2:40 – Clean up and End of Day Routines
2:40 – Dismissal
A Few More Thoughts
I also get asked the following questions (or receive these comments) sometimes –
Don’t you have standards to meet?
Yes, we are actually a Common Core state so we definitely do! I find that my kids are succeeding because this play is intentional and supporting the whole child.
You must have “high kids” if you have time to play…
No, I actually have kids with all abilities and from all sorts of walks of life and backgrounds. I also typically always have between 25-30 kids, so it’s a busy room! Learning through play supports my kids where they are at, so it is differentiation at its finest!
I wish we could do that!
Trust me, I wish that for you too. It is my hope that developmentally appropriate practices will continue to be spoken for and fought for, and that play can be brought back in every room!
So…. What’s YOUR Kindergarten Schedule Like?
I am curious, are you allowed to play in your classroom? What is your kindergarten schedule like? Is your day longer or shorter?
I love hearing from my readers and fellow teachers, so please leave a comment below or reach out to me via the contact tab anytime – I always write back!