Dog-Eared Schedules are Best!


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In my preschool classroom I use visuals throughout the day. One of our most used visual is the visual timetable. Each child has their own personal visual timetable. The last thing I do in June is to make up visual timetables for my new pupils arriving in September. I use a different colour for each child. I then use this colour for all the child’s classroom labels, place mats, name tags etc

The visual timetable is an important tool in my classroom, It tells the child what they are doing now and next. The first thing my pupils do in the morning is to check their timetable, remove the first picture and place it on the matching location card in the classroom. Once that activity is finished they  take that picture back to their timetable and put it in the finished slot. They then take the second card and so on throughout the day.

It takes a lot of time and work to teach children how to use their schedules independently but it is well worth the effort. I generally start off in September using full physical prompts and fade these prompts as the children become more aware of how the schedule works. If you would like to read more about prompting, there is a good explanation here.

Parents sometimes ask when will the children be able to do without their schedules and my answer is that I believe they should always have a schedule to work from.  Schedules allow children to understand their day; what is happening now and next. It really helps with behaviour management and classroom organisation. I also believe that the consistent use of visual timetables also helps the development of speech, as the spoken word is matched with a picture and location or activity, several times throughout the day.

It was only when I took one of the children’s timetables home to photograph it for this post that I noticed how dog-eared and tatty it was. I debated on whether I should use the photo or not but on reflection it occurred to me that the reason it is so shabby is because it is being used every day by a child in my class. My pupils started in September last and they had no idea how timetables worked but many of them are now well on their way to becoming independent users of their schedules.  Hence the tatty timetables!

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