SayPro Integrating routines into children’s activities
During early childhood years, children become more active participants in the daily course of family life. Whether asking to help bake holiday cookies or demanding that a mismatched set of clothes must be worn to preschool every Friday, young children are keenly aware of the daily, weekly, and annual rhythms of family life and eager to be involved as central players. Naturally occurring family routines and meaningful rituals provide both a predictable structure that guides behaviour and an emotional climate that supports early development.
Involving children into routines in class and at home is essential in growing their confidence. By letting children take part or even partially lead in some routines, parents and educators help children gain competence in various activities. For example, allowing children to set the table for dinner will help them perfect their competence in organising things.
Daily routines are meaningful contexts for young children to learn new skills because they are predictable, functional, and occur numerous times throughout the day.
Play routines within an early care and education program include:
- dance to music
- play outside
- finger paint
- dress up
Caregiving routines include:
- change diapers
- wash hands
- eat foods
- put on shoes
Routines can also occur within transitions such as to:
- select a book to look at
- put away toys
- greet a friend upon arrival
Each routine (such as play outside) includes many different activities (swings, slide, or sandbox).
Each activity (such as a swing) offers multiple learning opportunities to address specific developmental intervention strategies (skills such as check that helmet is fastened, climb on the swing, hold on with both hands, ask for a push, talk to others, or pretend to be flying).
Young children learn best with hands-on experiences, so it’s ideal to make math real by teaching it in the context of children’s everyday learning. The home and classroom are brimming with opportunities to integrate math into children’s routines and activities. Here are a few ideas to get any adult started:
Mealtime: Ask the child, What shape is the plate? or Do we have enough spoons? We need four.
Clean up time: Ask children to pick up a set number of toys. While picking them up, have the child name the shape of the object.
During laundry: Ask the child to sort piles and identify which pile is more or less; ask the child to match socks.