Aussie Childcare Network Forum • Importance of a daily routine in a kindy/pre school?
Page 1 of 1

Importance of a daily routine in a kindy/pre school?

Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:35 pm
by sud17
I recently began as an assistant educator in a kindy room at an early childhood/child care centre.

These children are 3-4 years old and they rarely follow a set routine or schedule. Mat time is at any random time of the day (and only some children want to participate, the rest don't have to so they are off running around in the rest of the room). Some days we don't even do mat time or any set lessons. Outdoor time is also a choice and is called indoor/outdoor - meaning the children can choose where they want to go (it makes it super difficult to supervise this as you're constantly checking to see how many are inside and outside). Meal times are 'progressive' which I understand is normal in a child care facility with babies and toddlers, however I would have thought by the kindergarten program the children are eating when it is time to eat - so that they are prepared for school.

My struggle is that there appears to be no order in the room, and the children do not show much respect to their peers or educators. I have seen many behavioural issues and outbursts each day, including a whole heap of hitting and pushing! The children do not believe they 'have' to do anything so when it is time to do something that is necessary (wearing a hat, or putting on sunscreen) some of the children will just scream 'NO' and scream the building down if you tell them they will have to stay inside. I have been told we cannot force them to do anything, so have seen no successful disciplinary measures for those really problematic and angry children (time out, stress reliever provided, parents being consulted, sent home when severe biting/violence occurs). I have done placement at a montessori kindergarten with children of the same age and that program was just beautiful. The children had a daily set routine that they were familiar with, meaning that they knew what was expected of them and the consequences for misbehaving. This shows that 3-4 year olds ARE capable of listening, respecting others and following a (fairly strict) routine without issue. There were very minimal behavioural issues at this pre-school, and for those rare few they were dealt with accordingly and those children settled and became wonderful friends in the classroom and respected their teachers.

This is a long post I realise, but I guess my main question is that is this lack of routine NORMAL? Is it typical of kindergarten programs to just be so free-range and they do not have any responsibility (such as helping to pack away, helping to ring the bell at given times)? This makes my job so much harder and I do not know if this is what all jobs are going to be like, or if my current centre just does not have a really fair/great program in place. I have already decided that I do not want to stay at this centre long-term, and will 100% look in to a centre much like the kindy I did my placement at. It was such a blessing and the room environment was calm and quiet, and the children had many opportunities to learn and explore. I could tell they enjoyed coming each day as there were minimal tears at arrival time!

Re: Importance of a daily routine in a kindy/pre school?

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:26 am
by sud17
Wanted to delete this post but just realised I am unable to. I didn't mean to include 'time out' as a behavioural management tool as I know this is not an effective approach!! I meant to describe it as a 'quiet time' with an educator so the child can discuss their emotions and find the underlying cause for the behaviour.

Re: Importance of a daily routine in a kindy/pre school?

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:20 am
by Butterflyblue
Unfortunately no routine structures are becoming common in some child cares and schools too (seen in kinder, centres and FDC). I say unfortunately because no one seems to communicate about how it all works people just jump in the deep end and cross their fingers.

This is where the service and educators need to have those conversations and make decisions around what they are trying to achieve, practicalities of no schedules, effect on staff, children, families etc

I think finding that balance is key because as you said you then have clashes like sun smart policy and kids not wanting any sun protection or no expectations, responsibilities as a child grows and so on

We know routines are important and we can create programs with flexibility, free play, child led play, mixed time (indoor & outdoor, rest & quiet time etc)
Children can easily be offered choices, independance and freedom so they can do what they want. We recognise that children are autonomous learners capable of making their own decisions

Unless you want stick around and change things then follow your instincts. The fact that your day sounds so hectic and there's little to no familiarity to give that sense of security is not a good sign.
The choice was made to have a particular way of doing things and that's fine but decisions should be reviewed, especially when things aren't going well. As educators our role is to guide children and take time to think about how we are doing that, to reflect.

When there are obvious negative results to continue as if everything's perfect is a ridiculous approach!

Aside from actively creating change if that's what you want to do, I'd suggest you move on. 'Free range', 'unstructured' and relaxed early childhood education and care can and does work but children should never be impacted negatively by it.
No philosophy or educational approach should create dysfunction in the lives of children.

As the saying goes insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results...