If you’re working in Early Childhood Education, you’ve heard the arguments for and against using calendars for preschoolers. Some educators say, yes we do calendar time and others say no, it’s not appropriate for preschoolers. So what should you do with the calendar?? I don’t think it’s a question of if we should introduce the calendar or not, but how can we make meaningful calendars for preschoolers?
I believe calendar time can be beneficial for preschoolers if used in a developmentally appropriate way. Children love the routine of circle time, calendar, and weather. We use the calendar every month from Experience Curriculum formerly Mother Goose Time.
Routines and repetition are a great way to learn. It doesn’t need to be a long sequence of events but circle time introduces children to number and time concepts. Try a couple of these tips at a time. Don’t try to do it all every day otherwise you’ll lose your little learners.
Here is a great article about Calendar Time for Young Children.
Ideas for Meaningful Calendars for Preschoolers
Below are my suggestions for using the calendar in a developmentally appropriate way including matching, talking about special days, counting and working on patterns.
Write the numbers on the calendar with a marker. I do it at the beginning of the month while counting with the children so they can see me writing the numbers.
Then each day a child can take a turn matching the calendar number to the number on the calendar grid.
Put a sticker or stamp on special days like birthdays, holidays, or vacation so they can count down the days or see when they are. Talk about these events throughout the day and reference the calendar.
When the children ask when a party day is, for example, they can find it on the calendar and see how many days it will be when we celebrate.
Have your calendar helper use a pointer to count the days of the month every day. Soon your group will be able to count 1-30! Also, since the numbers are written on the calendar, we’re able to work on number recognition.
Children love this job and it helps them practice one to one correspondence when they say a number and point at the number on the calendar. Skipping the calendar is a missed opportunity to focus on basic concepts.
Days of the Week
Sing the days of the week song while pointing to the days on the calendar. Experience Curriculum has a “Days of the Week” song (Circle Time CD) in the Digital Music Catalog under Member Resources. Other versions can be found on YouTube.
While it may take a long time before children understand what day of the week it is, they do like songs and pick up the Days of the Week very quickly through singing. In this case, the children may be learning only the song.
We refer to the weekdays as school days and weekends as “family days”.
Look for patterns on the number cards. If you use Experience Preschool, the calendar cards have patterns on them each month that relate to the theme. Each month has a different pattern sequence such as ABAB, AABB, or ABBA.
If don’t have patterns on your number cards, consider adding a color or picture pattern to make the cards more meaningful.
Additional Benefits to Calendar Time
Coming together for calendar time and circle time activities, creates a sense of community, teaches children expected behaviors, and develops attention and self-control.
There are so many great things going on with the calendar! Don’t miss them.
Printable Blank Calendar Grid
For children who are ready to practice writing numbers, they can write in the numbers of the month on the calendar. Click here for the free printable blank calendar grid.
Check out my tips for Super Fun Circle Time!
I received curriculum from Experience Early Learning for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. As a user of Experience Preschool for many years, I am pleased to share quality educational experiences. #sponsored #ExperienceEarlyLearning