Opening a Daycare? A Suggested Daily Schedule

Are you thinking about offering child care services? If so, one of the most crucial things you can do to make your daycare a success is to create a routine. Children thrive on routine; when they know what to expect, they feel comfortable and feel secure.

Creating a schedule will help to ensure that each day will move smoothly and will keep everyone happy—including you. Not sure what type of routine will work for the children you are going to be caring for? Here's a sample outline of daily events that will work well with young children of various ages; specifically ages 1 through 7. Do note that this schedule is just a suggestion; modify it accordingly to meet your specific needs.

Sample Daycare Schedule

  • Arrival—When children arrive at your facility, greet them in a friendly manner and direct their attention to activities that they can do on their own. For example, set out age-appropriate toys that kids can play with on their own and with other children. You could also set out activities that older kids can do on their own, like playing with clay, puzzles or coloring. 
  • Circle Time—Once all children have arrived and have had a chance to settle in, invite them to circle time. During circle time, you and the children will sit together, sing songs, share stories, discuss the weather and any special activities/events that may be happening during the day. This is also the ideal time to provide a whole-group lesson. For instance, if you're going to be doing an art activity that involves tearing paper, explain the activity during circle time and show children how to tear pieces of paper.
  • Group Activity—Together, you and the children can do an activity. For instance, you could create the art project that you informed them about during circle time, take a nature walk or explore science through magnet play, water play, etc.
  • Bathroom Break/Snack Time—After completing a group activity, take a bathroom break and give children a snack.
  • Outside Play—Give children the opportunity to get outside, breathe in fresh air and get their energy out.
  • Bathroom Break/Lunch—After being outside, take a bathroom break, wash hands and serve lunch.
  • Nap/Quiet Time—Set out cots or sleeping mats for those who take naps. For those who don't take naps, offer them quite activities, like looking at books or coloring.
  • Snack—Another snack time can take place after nap/quiet time.
  • Self-Directed Play—Provide children with the opportunity to play on their own or with one another.
  • Going Home—Pack up, clean up and get kids ready for going home.

For more information or suggestions, contact resources like Cottonwood Montessori.