Friday, May 1, 2015

Let's Look at the Full Day Kindergarten Schedule

A Typical Day in FDK!

I have noticed that a lot of people search for full day kindergarten schedules in Ontario. I am assuming this is to see how people organize their days! I have included here a condensed schedule from one of the full day kindergarten classes that I was in, because, I absolutely loved this schedule. It really seemed to work well for our students and took a lot of tweaking to get this right! We certainly did not follow this every day because, as always, things come up in a school day. For the most part though, this is the schedule we tried to stick to as closely as we could. I have made some changes to the schedule but overall it is pretty close.

Our board goes by the "Day" system which means we don't schedule based on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday but rather Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. This makes allowances for things like professional activity days and teachers prep times because the next day bumps over and no one ever misses their prep time, gym time etc. I changed the Day titles to your typical days of the week.

We also follow a "Balanced Day" which means that there is a 100 minute instructional block at the beginning of the day, followed by a 40 minute nutritional break (20 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for recess), followed by another 100 minute instructional block, another 40 minute nutrition break and then the last 100 minute instructional block.

And lastly, I removed the teachers prep times from the schedule.

What Does the Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Curriculum Say About Scheduling?

The FDELK curriculum document states on pages 35, 36 and 37 that when planning the use of time educators should :
  • offer large amounts of time to work at learning centres;
  • plan instruction and activities that are for both small and whole group, as well as individual learning;
  • ensure that there is a balance of both team and child-initiated learning activities;
  • provide a daily block of time that is solely for play and include time for the children to become immersed in the activities, as well as the tidy-up time. It is recommended that the children have no less than one hour of uninterrupted time for play;
  • plan for daily literacy and numeracy instruction (this can be done in a large or small group, or at learning centres);
  • be sure to include time for "free exploration, focused exploration and guided activity."
The document also recommends that when you are planning your time, to take into consideration the:
  • attention span of your students;
  • the amount of time the children have been going to school;
  • the "strengths, needs and interests' of the students;
  • group dynamic of your class.
(You can view the full Ontario kindergarten document here.)

How Have We Incorporated These Suggestions in Our Schedule?
  • Wherever you see the word "freeplay" means that the children are free to play at the learning centres, and with both table top and carpet toys. We try to offer this every block with the largest chunk of time being in the morning and this is also the child-initiated time because they are free to choose;
  • After every recess we try to have a gathering time on the carpet. This allows the opportunity to discuss any issues that may have come up over recess and, as well, the children can share anything they may have from the previous block of instructional time. We also try to do our mini math or literacy lesson as a whole group during this time;
  • Typically after the gathering time we do "bins". The class is divided into five groups and we have five bins for both the literacy block and math block. The children only complete one bin activity per day and we rotate them over five days (five bins, one for each day.) There may be an activity related to the lesson and one educator may work in a small group with them, the other educator will move about the other activities assisting with individual needs and instruction. This only usually lasts about ten minutes and the children are then free to play. We usually offer table top toys with a literacy focus (or math depending on the block) and most centres;
  • If we have a more focused lesson or guided reading, we will most often pull small groups at a time to work with during freeplay;
  • On Thursday and Friday during the last half of the second block, we divide the class in two and the teacher may do a more focused or individualized lesson with certain students while the ECE takes the other half to computers, outside or to the gym.
I will be going into more detail in other blog posts about how we do certain things during the day but I hope this post gives you some general insight into how these days looked for us and what the curriculum is looking for when planning your day!

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