The Value of Routine in Child Development

  • Early Learning Center
  • Learning
Roberto Baldeschi-Balleani, Pre-kindergarten Head Teacher

Free play, meeting, music, snack, centers, rest, story time, and laminated cards labeled with words and pictures compose the daily schedule for the pre-K Lions and Tigers class activities. An easy-to-read visual schedule displayed in every Early Learning Center classroom at children's eye level describes the daily activities. This schedule is a clear reference to understand the routines of the day and can be glanced at any time.  

A visual schedule is displayed at children's level in every ELC classroom

A visual schedule is displayed at children's level in every ELC classroom

During a child’s development it is essential to build and maintain routines. Having consistent routines and knowing what to expect creates a predictable and safe environment for children. One of the first goals for children when starting pre-school is to internalize the daily routine. Knowing what to expect is not only reassuring, but also creates a feeling of solid ground from which children can begin their journey exploring the world with confidence. The routine is a safe haven in which the child can feel free to act and where they become more independent. The routine becomes an anchor, a reference point and a tool to promote autonomy. The child interiorizes the routine step by step—what happens first, then what happens next—and is soon able to anticipate what will happen in the future. Children become protagonists of their actions and situations rather than passively following directions.

Ringing the five-minute bell

Ringing the five-minute bell

To help children follow the daily routine successfully, and to transition from one activity to the next safely, we use a variety of tools and techniques, including singing songs, finger plays and hand-eye activities. The five-minute reminder is also one of the tools we use to let everyone know they have five minutes before the end of an activity. One of the children’s weekly jobs is the “bell ringer,” and they ring the chime bell and say “five more minutes.” At times, teachers will use a five-minute sand timer to give children a concrete visual perception of time. For example, during snack, when children pay less attention to the time, the sand timer helps to keep them more on track. Children become aware that snack time is going to finish and they regulate their closure. They have a chance to prepare themselves and avoid becoming frustrated by an abrupt ending to the activity.  To anticipate what is going to happen next plays a significant role in developing independence by making children actively aware of their day.

A sand timer provides a good visual reminder of time during snack

A sand timer provides a good visual reminder of time during snack

  • Early Learning Center
  • Kindergarten
  • Nursery
  • Pre-Kindergarten
Powered by Finalsite