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Using a Visual Schedule

Teaching Strategies Series

Preschool teacher Patricia Lee describes how she uses a visual schedule to help children know what to expect throughout the day. Young children can refer to the pictures on the schedule independently to see what comes next, which can help them to regulate their own behavior. A visual schedule can be especially helpful for children who struggle with transitions or changes to the daily routine.

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  • Using a Visual Schedule

    (This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.)
    Download a printable transcript in English and Spanish.

    Child: Group time. Group time!
    Children: Group time!
    Child: It’s group time!

    Patricia Lee, Preschool Teacher, Darcey School: By using a visual schedule, we’re able to give the children a sense of what the sequence of the day is going to be, but we also have a history to the day. So each time we look at the schedule, we say, “First, we played, and then what did we do?” And I call on everybody. And if something happens, and we have to change our schedule for any reason at all—so for instance if it starts to rain...

    Patricia: And then, Sophie are we going outside today?
    Child: No.
    Patricia: No, usually we go outside right after group. But not today.
    Child: It’s raining!
    Patricia: It’s a rainy, snowy day.

    Patricia Lee: I like to give them a chance to participate in what’s happening during their day, and everything is not written in stone. There’s a lot of flexibility. When our music therapist comes, we put the picture up. And they come in, and they look at the schedule, and they say, “Music Jean is coming today!” So it gives everybody that chance to spread good news.

    Patricia: We’re going to have group, and then we’re going to have Music Jean.
    Children: Music Jean? Music Jean!

    Patricia: And it’s very, very helpful in helping those kids organize themselves, but it’s also very helpful in eliminating the amount of reminding and talking that the staff have to do.

  • Producer, Scriptwriter, Editor: Sean Leser
    Videographer: Ken Measimer, Sean Leser
    Production assistant: Guadalupe Marquez (Eastern student)

    The Center wishes to thank Darcey School in Cheshire, Connecticut, for their cooperation in the making of this video.