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Summer Schedules

The time is coming! The weather will soon be warm, the days will be long, and children will be happy, free, bored, and wild; possibly all of the above within one single hour! 

This post is inspired by something I learned while reading the next book for the Raise Montana Book Club, Overcoming Daycare Burnout: Steps to Living Your Best Daycare Life by Suzette Salmon. Salmon discusses transitions and schedules in Chapter 4 of her book. She states, “Children may not know the physical time, but they associate activities with time” (Salmon, 2020). This statement caused me to think about our summer break that is quickly approaching. 


As a teacher, I knew the importance of a schedule and routines as it was something I had always done. As a stay-at-home mom, I tend to go with the flow of the day, but this can feel chaotic at times. What I really hadn’t considered as a teacher or as a Mom was how children engaging in a daily activity or transition can trigger their brains and bodies into knowing what time of day it was and what comes next. I wanted more of this for my own kiddos this summer and hopefully this helps those of you working with young children, too. 


In her book, Salmon also discusses the fact that learning days of the week can be abstract for children; this is something I’ve talked about often. She found a way around this by assigning a theme to each day (Yoga Tuesdays, Dr. Seuss Wednesdays, etc.) which helps children to know what the day is and what they will be doing that day. This, or something similar, can be used to help children know what to expect during the summer months. Whether you run a kids camp, stay home with your children, or own your own daycare, you can make a summer schedule and a routine that helps everyone know what to expect each day. When children know what their day will bring and what comes next, this may help ease those challenging transitions, too. 


I suggest first sitting down to brainstorm on your own when planning out your schedule. Think about the months ahead and start with your big ideas or themes. You could pick a theme for the entire month, like water play for July. Each day or week could be filled with different water adventures: ice day, pool day, visit a creek day, bubble day, and so on. You could also follow Salmon’s lead and have each day of the week be the same theme throughout the summer: Music Monday where every Monday comes with music, dancing, and other movements. Tasty Tuesday might be a new recipe or baking activity each morning. You might also want to think about what your children are really into and what will be easy for you and the program/families that you work with. Start small and don’t take on too much as you might get overwhelmed later in the summer and wish you hadn’t planned so much! 


Once you have your general schedule planned out, involve the children! 


  • Make the schedule and routines visible for kids by having your schedule posted around the school with pictures to help them begin to distinguish what might be happening that day. 

  • You can talk about the calendar, schedule, and what happens next at circle time, meal times, and during transitions. You can point to posted schedules during all of these conversations. 

  • Get families involved too! Send a picture calendar home for them to hang on the fridge or keep in the car so they can see what will be happening at school that day. 

  • Children can also be involved by helping you to come up with ideas and plans for the days to come. This will help them feel excited and invested in their days. 

  • Intertwine math and literacy by adding pictures with words and encouraging children to count days on the calendar with you or to learn about using the clock! 

  • Be flexible and model adaptability and patience for children. Schedules and routines are great but you have to know when to change things around when needed! 




If you are interested in reading Overcoming Daycare Burnout with us in the book club and discussing it on May 23rd, be on the lookout for registration information coming soon! 


 

Meghan is a born and raised Montanan, mama to a new baby boy, a busy preschooler, and a bonus mom to two amazing teenagers. She holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Early Childhood Education. Meghan is currently working part time with Raise Montana as a project specialist where she writes blogs, curriculum guides, and hosts the seasonal book clubs. Meghan is passionate about using her experience as an early childhood educator and as a mom to bring knowledge and inspiration to Montana child care providers.


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