Home Learning for Young Children: A Daily Schedule
Establishing daily and weekly routines provides a helpful structure for learning at home. In this article, you'll find a sample schedule for a typical day and suggestions for how to integrate a learning theme into the activities.
Establishing daily and weekly routines provides a structure for learning at home. Parents and children know how the day will unfold; routines create predictability and also anticipation for the fun and comforting things that will happen throughout the day. It can be helpful to identify a learning theme to explore together over the course of two weeks.
You'll find a sample daily schedule below, with ideas for how to bring in the theme into every part of the day, from breakfast to read alouds to art and science activities.
Breakfast. Discuss foods, what is being eaten, where the food comes from (e.g., eggs come from chickens, cereal comes from plants)
Go over rules for learning at home. Example: When I am working, you will be working too. We all have jobs even though we are home. So we will help each other out with the schedule we will make together.
Create a schedule together and discuss expectations.
*Note: You can use the timer on your phone to help keep a daily plan if needed. It will be important to convey these expectations early on, especially with multiple children at home. Creating a visual of the schedule is suggested.
Good morning songs, days of the week, and months of the year.
- Find songs in English by Dr. Jean and Greg & Steve
- Find songs in Spanish by José-Luis Orozco
- A brief look at a calendar and what the day is today, the weather, and the activities planned for the day
Introduction to the theme and a read-aloud book.
- For example, if learning about farm, read a farm book, then sing songs based on the farm theme like Mary Had a Little Lamb or The Farmer in the Dell
- Sing songs based on the theme
- After reading the book for the first time for fun, go back and ask comprehension questions:
- Who was in the book?
- Where did the story take place?
- What did you like about the book?
- Can you tell me what happened first, next, last?
Work on the theme using manipulatives; integrate math and science as well as literacy into the theme. Share activities that pertain to the theme, for example:
- Play with the farm and count the animals
- Ask questions, then allow for free play
- Have a numbers chart at this time to go over the numbers 1-10, then gradually increasing the oral counting, then a visual representation of the quantity and the number
Work on the theme by using an art activity.
- Color, cut, paste, paint, do a craft based on the theme
- Teach how to clean up after each activity
Review the theme and ask questions about what was learned, review the read-aloud book, and display all the work completed.
Wash hands, bathroom, and snack time for older children (or lunch for younger children).
Go through books independently, based on the theme.
Display the alphabet on the wall via a chart and after looking through the books, name the letters and showcase the letters in the theme-related books.
Nap or rest time. Or free play with the theme. Choose toys or an activities that go with the them, for example:
- If studying plants, you could plant some seeds together in a baggie with a paper towel
STEAM time: Construct something using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. For example:
- Blocks or rocks, cutting, pasting or gluing and making a 3-D construction
- Use shoe boxes, tape, cans, or other recyclable products to create something that goes with the theme being learned (e.g., barn, house, or greenhouse)
Read books together — print books in your home library or digital books.
Technology play, for example:
- Use technology to help children research, visit a virtual museum or aquarium, read books, or play fun learning games
Prepare dinner together.
- Talk about the recipes and measurement and develop oral vocabulary about the food: its color, texture, where it is grown, ways to prepare it
- Use measuring spoons and measurement cups to show half, fourths, eighths
- Community Workers
- Wild Animals
- Solar System
- Insects and Spiders