If you’ve worked with kids, you know that a routine is a must!  If you work with the food program, you need to stick to set times for meals.  And keeping nap at the same time every day helps kids’ bodies know when to slow down.  Having a schedule also lets the daycare parents know what’s going on during the day.  Scroll down for a sample schedule and free schedule template!

How to Make a Daycare Schedule that Works - and a Free Template!

Sample Daycare Schedule

When I first started daycare, I tweaked my schedule quite a bit.  Now, I’ve figured out what works best for us and I’ve kept it the same for more than a year!  Maybe it will give you some ideas what can work for your program, as well.  Here’s what my schedule looks like:

How to Make a Daycare Schedule that Works - And a Free Template!

Free Play

Free play is when I get stuff done.  During the morning free play, I pack my daughter’s lunch, check her backpack, feed the baby, drink my coffee, etc.  After the big kids go to school, I prep the preschool lesson for the day.  The free play in the afternoon lets me prep dinner for my family.

During free play, the kids can play with whatever is in my daycare room.  I have all my centers open, like art, books, fine motor, sensory play, dramatic play, block center, etc.

Meal Time

The times on the schedule that are listed at meal times are the times the kids actually eat.  They don’t include prep time, so I prep while they’re busy playing.  If you want to know more about how I do meals at my daycare, check out some of my other posts:

How to Make Practical Meal Plans for Your Daycare

How to Make Easy Meal Plans with this Free Weekly Template

How to Easily Teach Kitchen Safety in Preschool

Why You Need to Teach Healthy Eating Habits in Preschool

Morning Meeting

When we do our morning meeting, we go start by going over our calendar.  We talk about the weather and name our shapes, numbers, and colors from posters on our walls. We talk about our letter of the week, read about something that starts with that letter, and practice writing our names and fine motor skills with our Preschool Morning Work (freebie alert!).

Guided Play and Learning Centers

If you don’t know why guided play is important in preschool, or are wondering why this time frame is longer than our Morning Meeting, read my post: Preschool is NOT About Learning the Alphabet!

I usually have activities to go with standards I’ve chose for the week.  We may paint, use Play-doh, games, fine motor practice, read books or whatever goes with our lesson plan. My dramatic play, blocks, and fine motor centers are always open.

Outdoor Play

We are all ready to get outside by 10:30!  And usually the weather is best at this time of day – warm enough but not too hot.  Outdoor play is great for gross motor skills and getting out excess energy.  Putting this time right before lunch helps the kids to get all their wild energy out before I need them to be calm for lunch and nap.  We do come in between 11:30-11:45 though to get cleaned up and prep lunch.

Nap Time

I don’t budge when it comes to nap time.  Let me tell you, I’ve missed this me time the last couple months since I’ve started caring for an infant again!  Babies can surely shake up even a solid schedule!  Read more about how nap time works for me: Why Your Kids Need to Nap & And How to Get Them To Do It

Free Daycare Schedule Template

If you would like to create a pretty schedule like mine to display at your daycare or give to parents, just click the download button below!  It will save automatically to your downloads folder.  The schedule is a PowerPoint document so that you can enter your own times and labels :).



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