If you’ve landed on this page, it’s likely because you’re 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. Be sure to read through each post so you can grab all the FREE printable templates I used when I went to write my preschool lesson plans.
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 and the order in which you should teach them. In educational terms, they’re known as a scope and sequence or a curriculum map.
It’s simply a road map for what you’d like to teach for the school year. Every successful preschool teacher has a scope and sequence or curriculum map they follow.
You wouldn’t go on a road trip without knowing how to get there. You shouldn’t go into the school year without having given any thought to what you will teach.
You can grab a copy of my scope and sequence in Step 3!
It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who needs specific detailed guidelines or if you just need a template and a set of instructions; either way, a scope and sequence will keep you on track.
Learn How to Write Preschool Lesson Plans in 5 Easy Steps
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How to Create a Preschool Lesson Planning Calendar
Creating a calendar for the year is the first step to writing preschool lesson plans an entire year in advance. This will help you identify important dates that may impact your preschool activities for any given day.
You can grab my super handy FREE printable calendar at the end of this post!
- FREE printable calendar (found at the end of this post)
- or a planner like the one below
- set of colored pens (I like the new Sharpie pens best).
Let’s get started!
Step 1). Write Down Important Dates
Think about the upcoming year and start by recording in your calendar all the important dates that will impact your teaching.
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
- field trips
- other interruptions to teaching (maternity leave, surgeries, vacations, etc.)
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 dates easier to remember for my preschool 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 right now, choose a single color and write down what day of the year school will start and end, and then mark off holiday breaks.
Will you celebrate holidays with parties? 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 day of the holiday, or the closest preschool day before the actual holiday.
Now choose a different color and highlight the days you’ll have your holiday parties. (Don’t skip this step…you don’t want those holiday parties to sneak up on you!)
Will you celebrate student birthdays and when will those be?
Once I have students who are registered for the year, I record their birthdays in 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.) Like holidays, we celebrate student birthdays the day of or on 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, one year (well, actually this happened twice) I was due to have a baby shortly after the school year was to begin. For those years, I scheduled (and clarified with parents) to take two weeks off of teaching to establish a routine with having another newborn at home. Recording this on my calendar was just an estimate as my babies always come early, but it didn’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.
And if you own your own preschool, I recommend penciling in a reminder about the interruptions the month before so you don’t forget to send a letter home informing parents of the interruption.
Do you plan to take any field trips?
Once you get into the actual school year, you can add field trips to your calendar as well.
Do this in–you guessed it–another color.
I like to plan field trips for the same day each month (the last Tuesday) whenever possible.
Sometimes it’s not possible to schedule field trips for the entire year. Some businesses and organizations only allow for preschool field trips on specific days, which may not align with the day you have reserved on your calendar. Others are really flexible.
Regardless, field trips are the last thing I formally plan. But even if I can’t solidify something before the school year starts, I will at the very least pencil in my ideas.
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 concepts for the year.
Want a FREE lesson planning calendar?
This calendar is the exact one I use to plan out my year. It has some extras I haven’t talked about in this post, but you’ll see the full picture in Steps 3 and 4.
And this calendar is fully editable, meaning you can type right into the cells on your computer. No need to print it out if you don’t want to!
Want to Just Skip the Lesson Planning All Together?
If you’re looking for preschool lesson plans done for you, then you might be interested in these. Due to reader interest, I wrote up an entire, non-thematic preschool curriculum!
Just print, cut out the preschool centers, and teach!
Recap of Preschool Lesson Planning
Step 1: Create A Calendar
Step 2: Decide On How To Teach Reading And Math
Step 3: Decide On Themes
Step 4: Create A List Of Suggested Activities
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.