A Look at a Full Day Kindergarten Schedule

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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 a while 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. I thought it would be helpful to share our Kindergarten schedule with you!

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This article is an interesting look for early childhood teachers into a full day Kindergarten schedule that still incorporates play!

Every Classroom and Kindergarten Schedule 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. I hope you can find some inspiration!

And be sure to check out this full day Transitional Kindergarten schedule for even more examples of how to include play in the classroom!

My schedule for Kindergarten 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!

Our Kindergarten Schedule

*I currently teach Transitional Kindergarten, however, this schedule is very similar to when I taught Kindergarten (see schedule linked above).

8:35-9:00 – arrival, breakfast, morning work

Our morning work consists of unpacking, signing in, fine motor tasks, and play.

9:15-9:30 – number corner, calendar

I recently made the switch to number corner and calendar in the morning and I LOVE it – I really feel like for my class and preferences, this flows better in the morning vs. later in the day during math.

9:30-11:00 – literacy (science/ss integration)

Our literacy block focuses on mini lessons, writing time, a LOT of reading and read alouds, and free-flowing centers, where students are moving through their choices and I am meeting with small groups.

Want to know more about free-flowing centers? You can learn all about how they work in the P.L.A.Y. course (request your invite!).

11:00-11:45 – lunch/recess

11:50-12:10  – rest/story

We don’t sleep or take naps, but we do spend some time with the lights out just taking it easy with a story/regrouping. These kids are very young and the day is busy!

12:15-1:00 – classroom play/centers (kitchen, sensory, blocks, etc.)

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 in 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.

1:00-1:50 – math

Math is a similar structure to literacy. Routine is VERY important at this age and they thrive when they have similar systems in place throughout the day.

We have mini lessons, number talks, and free-flowing math centers (similar to literacy) where students are freely moving through their choices and I am meeting with small groups.

1:50-2:05 – recess

2:05-2:20 – snack

2:30 – dismissal

Note – early in the year we dedicate WAY more time to dismissal and pack up – it takes us a while to get it down to ten minutes. 😉

Need an EDITABLE template to plan your own schedule? I have the one below for you – snag it at the bottom of the post!

Plan and post your Kindergarten schedule (or Pre-K too!) with this free teacher schedule template!

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. Students qualify for Transitional Kindergarten based on social-emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and academic need – 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! 

Grab Your FREE Editable Schedule Template

You can grab your free editable schedule template by clicking the large, yellow download button at the end of the post (be sure you have PowerPoint to open)!

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Alex
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117 Comments

  1. This year my schedule had to be adjusted a few times as they added PE and an iPad reading intervention program. Most days looked like this:

    7:30-8:00 – unpacking, attendance and iRead on a class set of iPads (we then sent the iPads to the next class at 8). A quick calendar thrown in before…
    8:00-8:45 – Language Arts, letter/word work and a weekly story we study.
    8:45-9:00 – snack and recess
    9:00-9:30 – Math
    9:35-10:00 – PE
    10:00-10:15, a quick activity if we get back in time, otherwise straight in to lunch prep.
    10:15-11:00 – lunch. Teachers stay with the K students for 15 minutes to get them through the line and settled before we leave for our actual lunch.
    11:00-11:30 – word work, special projects, science, or social studies.
    11:30-12:00 – Quiet time. We too ended up listening to stories on youtube this year after initially trying just music. This is when I pull students back for testing or extra practice. And it gives slow workers time to finish projects and work.
    12:00-12:40 – Centers. Usually assigned centers (2 a day, 8 total for the week). A combination of play centers and academic activities. If it’s a hectic or short week sometimes we will just do free play.
    12:40-1:00 – cleaning up, stories, packing up and sharing.
    1:00-1:10 – Go Noodle!
    1:10-1:25 – outside to line up for busses, pick up and after school program and then we dismiss a few minutes before the rest of the school gates open at 1:25.

    It’s a pretty short and there’s lots to do, but I love letting them play every day.

  2. It is so interesting to see what everyone else’s schedules are like! I am in a Title 1 extended day kindergarten in SW Florida. My principal just recently let us bring back dramatic play as part of Guided Reading centers, but on Fridays ONLY. We don’t have a whole lot of down time, so I implemented choice seating and piano music throughout the entire day to try and compensate. Here is our schedule:

    7:50-8:00 Attendance & Morning Songs
    8:10-8:45 Rise & Shine Intervention Groups (we switch between 3 classrooms- high mid and small group intervention)
    8:50-9:20 Core Reading using Reading Street
    9:25-10:25 Guided Reading Centers
    10:25-11:15 Related Arts (Teacher Prep Time!)
    11:15-11:25 Snack
    11:25-11:40 Foundational Skills (Phonics/Spading in the beginning of the year, Guided Reading Takeaway time after 2nd quarter)
    11:40-12:20 Writing
    12:25-12:40 Recess
    12:40-1:00 Lunch
    1:00-2:00 Math Workshop
    2:00-2:30 Science/Social Studies
    2:40 Dismissal!

  3. It’s inspiring to hear that many kindergarten teacher incorporate play inside the class schedule. I also believe that play is necessary in all kindergarten class. But their are principals in our district who want their teachers to foc
    Regarding your schedule its almost like what we have here
    7-7:10 arrival time
    7:20-7:40meeting time 1
    7:40-8:20work period 1 we have individual and group activity
    8:20-8:40 meeting time 2
    8:40-9:00 recess
    9:00-9:20 story time/songs and rhymes
    9:20-10:00work period 2 more on activities in math
    10:00-10:15 indoor/ outdoor game
    10:15-10:30 meeting time3
    10:30- dismissal routine

    they stay in the class for 3- 4 hours

  4. I love getting new ideas to maximize the time we have in our classrooms! This was our schedule this year. We started 7:20-7:45 with morning work and unpacking time. 7:45-8 is Morning Meeting. 8-8:20 Calendar Math. 8:20-9:00 Flex Grouping for Reading. 9-9:45 Shared Reading. 9:45-10:30 Writing. 10:35-11:05 Lunch. 11:05-11:15 Restroom room 11:15-12:00 Related Arts (PE, Dance, Art, Music, Computer). 12-12:40 Math. 12:40-1 Recess 1-1:30 Science or Social Studies. 1:30-1:40 Snack 1:40-2:10 Centers. 2:10-2:20 Pack up and dismiss.

  5. I teach in a religious school so our schedule and curriculum is more flexible. My principal also supports learning through play so that helps quite a bit. Our day is 8-2:50 with a half hour for rest time. We have an hour for langauage arts, 20 minutes for snack, followed by 35-40 minutes of play centers, then 40 minutes of math. Recess and lunch are both 25 minutes. Most days we have a special for 45 minutes, then rest time, and 40 minutes for Science, Social Studies or Religion. All in all it makes for a balanced day for my kids. My class size is on average 15-20 kids so it’s very manageable with my assistant to work in small groups or one-on-one with a child.

  6. While I can see the great pains you are doing to make silk out of a sow’s ear of k priorities in 2016 (I assume public school?) I wish to share my 12 years of experience in public school and over 45 in the profession. When I saw “math” “writing/language arts” and when I saw “social studies/science”, I saw opportunities for play and movement. Using play and arts so kids can learn THROUGH play, adds to the unfortunate lack of time (and probably outdoor play materials) available for children. I know how hard this balance is….bringing the real learning into the agenda of well-meaning adults who have no idea what developmentally appropriate means. It’s not easy to push the boundaries and sometimes to sustain working relationships we need to conform, but don’t give up!!

    1. Hi Wendy! I totally agree with you that play should be incorporated throughout the day and subjects! We definitely incorporate it in all areas of our day as much as possible. As for the “labels” of our time (math, literacy, etc) we are required to name/have designated hours in our day dedicated to those specific things. That does put a bit of a crunch in things, but I am so thankful for the progress in the right direction and the play we do get. I definitely try to add it in all day – I agree with you that we totally shouldn’t give up! 🙂

    1. Hi Leticia! I teach in a public school. Our district is very passionate about developmentally appropriate kindergarten classrooms, so I have been really blessed to be here!

  7. Thank you for sharing your schedule. I am a big fan of child-directed activities and learning through play. Teaching Kindergarten this year has been a challenge because of the negative perceptions parents have about play. It seems like there is a huge disconnect between what research says about play and parents thoughts on how play is “a waste of time”. I have struggled to keep my 30 minute “learning stations” block because parents have complained, even though the children are thriving and have made progress in every area.
    I truly believe that this 30 minute block supports oral language, reading, writing, mathematical thinking… pretty much everything.
    How can I make a change on the negative perception that play has?

    1. Hi Agusita! Play can definitely get a bad reputation because often people don’t realize just how much children are learning through play! I am very clear with parents from the very beginning of the year that we play in kindergarten, and that learning happens naturally in this setting. Do you have beginning of the year conferences with parents? We have one on one family meetings the first three days of school that parents attend, and it is really a great time to connect with them, learn about their child, and also communicate a bit more about how we learn in kindergarten! I am happy to share some articles/books etc as recommendations for you or chat more about it with you. Shoot me an email anytime at alex@thekindergartenconnection.com – I am super passionate about play and would love to help you get the importance across to parents! 🙂

    2. Before the school year starts, when we are meeting families, my K team and I hand out research articles that we have collected over the years that discuss not just the importance of play but the NECESSITY of play for children to learn and develop normally. If i continue to get push back, I recommend a few book titles that they can read. I also gently remind them that I have spent a large portion of my life and a big chunk of money learning about what is best for children. They are the expert on their particular child, but I am the expert on children. I don’t exactly say it like that, but that is basically the message. Hold on to your play time! We need to stop letting people without the appropriate background and knowledge making decisions for our classrooms. Legislatures are not experts simply because they at one time went to school!

      1. Well said Tracy! We definitely have to keep helping people see the research and importance of play. Good for you for working so hard on it at your school! 🙂

  8. I am so very excited to find this page!
    I’m not a teacher (yet anyways) but seeing everyone’s schedules makes me feel much more at ease about my choice to homeschool my girls! They are currently 4 and 5 (to be starting school in September) and our regular day goes something like this:
    8-830 wake up, breakfast, prep for the day (get dressed brushed and have a run through of our plan so they know what to expect out of the day)
    830-930 outdoor play. We have a large back yard with fruit trees and lots of space to run and expire.
    930-10 depending on the day. Sometimes more outside play other days (when the weather isn’t great) indoor free play
    10-12 craft time, reading and music play. This time is where I give the girls two options every half hour or so “would you like to read books with me or should we have a dance party” depending on how energetic they are feeling they will choose and compromise as the choice needs to be unanimous.
    12-1230 clean up from morning play and lunch time.
    1230-330 most days beach or park time. If the weather is really miserable we will snuggle up for some relax time with movies
    330-530 any running around/household chores that need to be done while the girls have free play
    530-6 make and eat dinner
    6-630 clean up from free play, bath time brush and bed by 7

    Anyone that has suggestion for transitioning to a kindergarten program feel free to let me know!! I would love to hear any advise anyone has for us!

  9. I enjoy seeing the day of other K5 classes. Our day begins at 7:40 when the children unpack, sign in and make their lunch choice. By 7:50 we play out school’s morning show, say our pledges have a song then do our calendar. 8:15-8:50 is Math 8:50-9:30 is Related Arts/Planning, 9:30-9:40 restroom break, 9:40-10:10 is Shared Reading (story time and class response) 10:15-10:30 is Snack and Math Journals 10:30 10:50 group phonics lesson, 10:50-12:00 Daily 5 Reading Workshops 12:00-12:25 Journal Writing, 12:30-1:15 lunch/bathroom, 1:15 Science/Social Studies, 1:30 Center Play 1:45 Recess, 2:00 pack up ,2:10 begin dismissal

  10. Hi! I loved reading every post in here! It helps me as well! Thanks for this! As for my daily schedule:
    7:20-7:50 – arrival/ morning work/lunch sign up, pledge, song
    7:55-8:30 calendar, morning meeting time which includes read aloud, sight words,sharing the pen, and exercise to go noodle or Jack Hartman!
    8:30-9:30 Ela -reading, independent work, reading groups, center box rotations.
    9:30-9:50 snack time
    9:50-10:30 math part one
    10:30-11:25 specials
    11:30-12:00 – math part 2
    12:00-12:30 lunch
    12:35-12:50 – rest or what i call during this time of year “belly and a book time” this is when they get to use their book baggie books and lay on their bellies and read to themselves or a friend to relax after lunch.
    12:55-1:20- social/science, wrap up, read aloud – whatever we are working on
    1:20-1:45 free play(so it’s not too much time at all, but at least we get some in: )

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