If you’ve landed on this page, it is likely because you are interested in learning how to write preschool lesson plans, and doing so an entire year in advance. You’ve come to the right place.
This is the first of five follow-up posts about how to write preschool lesson plans for an entire year. You can read my original post here. Due to the interest and encouragement of my readers, I have decided to expand and elaborate on each step in a four post series.
Now, let me be very, very clear. These lesson plans do not reflect detailed and scripted daily plans that specify what is to be taught each minute of your teaching time. Instead, these lesson plans reflect an outline of skills and concepts you hope to teach throughout the school year. In educational terms they are known as a scope and sequence. This kind of planning helps you identify what skills and concepts you would like to teach during the year, as well as the sequencing and order of how you would like to introduce them. Many skills are incremental, with one skill or concept will building upon another, so it is only appropriate that your lesson plans reflect a specific order. As you will find as you follow these posts, this does not mean that these lesson plans are not flexible. In fact, they are very flexible and can be tweaked or completely discarded as your students or children demonstrate that necessity.
The following are links to the posts in this series:
Creating a calendar for the year is the first step to writing preschool lesson plans an entire year in advance. Let me spend some time explaining how I use a calendar to get started. (I print my calendars from print-a-calendar.com. They are not cute, but they are blank. If you want cute, you can try this one: 2014-2015 Academic Year Paper Flowers Monthly Desk Pad Calendar. To complete this step, you will need a printed yearly calendar and at least six different colors of pens or highlighters. My favorite are these: Papermate Flair Porous Point Pens, Ultra Fine Point, Assorted Ink, 8/Pack.
So, let’s get started.
Step 1 in Preschool Lesson Planning
Write Down Important Dates
Some things to consider when writing down important dates are:
- when the school year will begin
- when it will end
- holiday parties
- holiday breaks
- student birthdays
- other interruptions to teaching
- field trips
Let me elaborate on these with some questions you’ll want to ask yourself.
When will school begin and end? When will you break for holidays?
I plan my school year based on our local public school district. I do this for one primary reason. It makes planning easier for my students’ parents and for myself. I maintain the same attendance schedule as the school district, however I do not take time off for teacher development and in-service days. I plan holiday breaks to be the same as the school district as well. So, I look up the school district calendar on the internet and record all those important beginning and ending dates, as well as holidays. I write this all in one color, say blue.
Will you celebrate holidays with parties and when will those be?
I also decide at this time when to have our holiday parties. By party, I actually mean a holiday-themed preschool day of learning. We don’t really party, but the day is special because literally everything we do that day is centered around the specified holiday. I schedule our holiday parties for the closest preschool day to that holiday, being on the holiday or we celebrate the preschool day before. I write down holiday parties in a different color, perhaps orange.
Will you celebrate student birthdays and when will those be?
Once I have students who are formally registered for the year, I also record student birthdays on my calendar, in a the same color as holiday parties. While I do not offer class parties for birthdays, I certainly want to acknowledge such a special day for my preschoolers. (The birthday student gets to wear a special crown and I make a special snack that day). We celebrate student birthdays the day of or the closest preschool day before the actual birthday.
What interruptions may occur during the school year?
The final thing to consider is if there will be any interruptions to teaching during the school year. Since I own and run my own preschool, I can decide on these interruptions and schedule them in advance as part of my program schedule. For example, Baby Boy is due this September, about a month after school has started, so I have scheduled (and already clarified with parents) to take two weeks off of teaching to establish a routine with having four kiddies. During this time there will be no preschool and students will enjoy a two week break. Recording this on my calendar is just an estimate, but it shouldn’t affect my overall lesson plans too much.
Other interruptions to consider may include short breaks for medical procedures, or maybe vacations, family reunions, or business trips. Whatever the case may be, record it on the calendar so that you can plan your lessons accordingly. Write down these interruptions in a third color, maybe purple.
Do you plan on field trips?
Once you get into the actual school year, you can also add field trips to your calendar as well. I do this in yet another color. Some teacher like to reserve the same day each month for field trips. For example, maybe to keep things simple with parents you have decided that the fourth Tuesday of each month will be reserved for field trips. Write that down on your calendar.
I have found, however, that sometimes it is difficult to keep to such a field trip schedule. Some businesses and organizations only allow for preschool field trips on specific days, which may not align with the day your have reserved on your calendar. Some trips, usually to government institutions like the police department or the local library, are really flexible and just happy you have thought to bring in your preschool class. Regardless, field trips are the last thing I formally plan.
How To Begin The Scope And Sequence For The Year
Now that you have a calendar full of important dates to remember throughout the year, you can begin planning your actual lesson plans, or as I stated in the introduction, your scope and sequence of skills and concept for the year. Before I can show you how to do this, though, you have to make a few more decisions, one being on tomorrow’s post about how to teach reading and math.