When I was in Kindergarten, we mostly colored and sang. That must still be what K is like now. Why does my child have to go all day? What is he going to be doing all that time?
The schedule of a Kindergarten classroom is a very busy one! Kindergarten expectations have changed throughout the years. While there will likely still be some singing and art activities in your child’s day, there will also be many other activities that focus on specific academic skills. Below is an example of a schedule. There can be differences in schools and even classrooms on the same campus when it comes to setting a schedule. This is just how a typical day might run with explanations of what each activity entails.
7:30-7:45 Enter classroom and get ready for the day: The “getting ready for the day” part includes a Kindergarten student hanging up his backpack and unpacking any folders that his teacher requires. We have daily folders that go home each afternoon and return each morning. They are very important as that is the most common way communication takes place as letters and school work are sent home in this folder. Letting your Kindergartener unpack his own backpack builds independence and responsibility!
7:45-8:15 Announcements and Pledge: Some schools do a school-wide assembly for campus announcements and pledge(s). Other campuses use the intercom system while the students are in the classrooms.
Morning Meeting and Calendar: This is a very important part of your Kindergartner’s day. Each morning students meet in front of the calendar area to determine the day’s date, day of the week, weather and more. Students often graph the weather, have a monthly pattern on the calendar and discuss the times and events of their daily schedule. Just some math skills incorporated in this time include the months of the year, days of the week, the day of the week for any given date in a month, counting to 100, ordinal numbers, patterning and graphing.
8:15-9:05 Specials: This time is reserved for enrichment activities such as art, music, theater and PE. Every school has a different schedule but children typically rotate through these activities on a weekly basis but attend PE more frequently.
9:05-9:20 Phonemic and Phonological Awareness: This part of the day is a time for students to develop a deeper understanding of spoken language. They learn how to rhyme, segment sentences into words and words into syllables and sounds. Students make connections between the letters and their sounds and then practice manipulating sounds to create new words. This part of a Kindergartener’s day builds the critical foundation in learning to read.
9:20-10:20 Guided Reading/Literacy Centers: During this time, the teacher reads with a small group of students practicing skills specific to that group. Such skills include: letter-sound correspondence, high frequency word practice, stretching out sounds to read words and much more. The books students use during this time are short readers that are based on reading levels. While a small group reads with the teacher, the other students work in various literacy centers which reinforce prior learning. Be on the look out for an additional post on specific literacy centers.
10:20-10:45 Language Arts: This block is devoted to teaching additional reading skills. Shared reading is a time for students to listen to and share in the reading of a book that is read for at least one week. Generally these are oversized books (referred to as big books) with enlarged print and illustration. Repeated readings give students opportunities to work on vocabulary while building comprehension and fluency. Many of the stories are predictable and the students are able to fill in missing words or phrases. Shared reading allows the students to become very familiar with stories and gives them numerous chances to extend their learning.
10:45-11:15 Lunch: A Kindergartener’s favorite part of the day! Students can bring a lunchbox or purchase a lunch from the cafeteria. Some campuses may have specific rules about where students sit while others may allow students to sit anywhere. It’s so important for students to have a balanced lunch to have enough energy to keep learning for the rest of the afternoon!
11:15-11:45 Recess: The playground area is a place for students to develop their gross motor skills. It’s also a great time for them to be active and visit with friends!
11:45-12:15 Writing: This time includes shared writing activities and journal time. Shared writing is an interactive writing experience with the teacher and the entire class where everyone works together on a particular writing concept: sounding out words, capitalization, punctuation, etc. Journal time provides an opportunity for students to write independently (with teacher assistance as needed) using either a teacher directed prompt or their own topic choice. Look for a future blog post with more details about what writing looks like in Kindergarten.
12:15-12:50 Math This part of the day is devoted to math skills in addition to the ones covered during calendar time in the morning. This time includes teacher instruction with guided practice, small group work, free exploration with math manipulatives and sometimes math center activities.
12:50-1:20 Social Studies/Science Kindergarten is a time where students learn about their world. This means a great deal of time is devoted to understanding concepts about “me” and my community and exploring the world around them. Depending on the theme for the week or month, this time is typically devoted to either social studies or science. As themes change throughout the year equal time is devoted to both science and social studies.
1:20-1:50 Snack and Rest Time Snack and rest time varies from school to school depending on daily schedules and district policies. Most Kindergarten days will involve some type of rest or quiet time. At the beginning of the school year and sometimes longer, this almost always involves your child resting on a towel or mat for about 20 minutes. As the year progresses, children may simply put their head down or have quiet time.
1:50-2:30 Free Choice Centers This is where your child is provided the opportunity to learn through play. Many centers from literacy stations are open again at the end of the day as well as the blocks and kitchen center we all remember so fondly.
2:30-2:35 Closing Routine This involves cleaning up, packing up and some kind of closing with the teacher. Often children will discuss what they learned that day and any reminders they have for their parents. Final dismissal procedures are different for each school.