In Place of Preschool Calendar Time
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
If you Google "Preschool Calendar" There is plenty written and created on the topic. There are the usual products; pocket charts to fill in the days of the week, the weather, the numbers, and anything else a teacher chooses to put in pockets.
There are articles about why the Calendar should not be taught in preschool.
Then there are more articles and products designed to make the written calendar more meaningful to young children.
On social media, I have seen teachers struggling with this question of whether or not to teach the calendar. And if so, how to do it. I hope to help answer that question, especially if you are one of those who is struggling.
I have taught in the same school for fourteen years, where teaching the calendar is neither required, nor expected, nor is it frowned upon. I teach in a school where we follow the children's interests and needs. If a group of children needed to keep track of time for some reason, teachers will help them do so in a way that makes sense to them.
A calendar is a beautiful tool to help us keep track of and organize our time. Time is broken down into years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. Humans have thankfully made some fabulous visual representations of those units.
Personally, I adore calendars and planners. In my daily life, I keep 2 paper planners, 2 wall calendars, and I still wear a watch. I want and need all those tools-the planners, the calendars, the watch - to keep track of my days and my responsibilities, and to create order in my life.
But, in my opinion, that is a lot of abstract symbolism to foist on young students.
Children do wonder about time, though. Students ask me all the time about what day it is, because they care if we have music class, or movement class, or if we are going to the library . They care about the day of the week, because they want to know who is picking them up from school. (Maybe it's a Nana Day!) They care because they know a parent is coming back from a trip on a certain day.
That is where I have the seen the need for understanding and keeping track of time emerge for my students. And so, I wanted to meet them right there in that space where they needed some help and guidance. That is how to make the calendar, or anything really, meaningful to students.
So, I created a book to help them. (Of course I created a book! It's kind of my thing.) It's a book that just goes over the days of the week, and how that effects our daily schedule at school. It can easily be used at home as well.
We use a picture schedule at school to keep track of our daily schedule. I simply put a photo of each day's schedule into the book. I then include something about each day's schedule (for example, that Monday is library day), and then I include photos of the children engaged in that activity. (Like looking at books in the library.)
It looks like this:
The book continues covering the whole week.
Can I just go over all the ways I love seeing children use this book?
With this book kids have access to our picture schedule for the whole week, not just the schedule that is hanging up each day.
Just as they read the picture schedule, following the order from lefty to right, (an important pre-reading skill), they do the same reading in the pages of the book.
There is loads of repetition in this book, because the calendar is nothing if not a repeating pattern. This allows children to easily read this book on their own, which is, guess what? An important pre-reading skill.
You know what else is important for learning? Connecting information to one's own life and experience. Well, since this book is about exactly that, the daily life and experience of the children in your class, I think we have got that element covered.
And, it is important for children to be able to connect to the pictures they see in books. (#representationmatters) Lucky for them, they are all over the pages of this one.
Oh, and it reviews the days of the week.
If you are looking for one simple, concrete, and meaningful way to teach the days of the week, it is on sale here.