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Hi everyone


Wondered if you would mind sharing your routine, would be interested to see how you do things. Here's ours. We are a sessional pre-school, running 5 mornings a week plus lunch club. 20 children per morning. Keyworkers have 6/7 children each. 3/4 members of staff (including 1 to 1 SEN on 2 days), 1 volunteer usually.



9.05 Children self register and freeplay - this gives us time to talk to parents and settle children.

A register is also taken at the entrance door by a member of staff.


9.15 In theory - register. Usually 9.30 plus because we do not like to disturb children playing.

Used to split into two groups for short activity but feel numbers are too large.


Would like smaller keyworker groups but when to fit them in the morning with minimum disruption and how to organise when staff & children are not in every day.


Freeplay plus option of focussed activity - if enough staff and warmer weather children have choice of inside or outside.


10.30 Tidy up, sing songs until whole group washed hands etc. Could we call the register here to avoid earlier disruption? Snack time (usually later)


11.00? Outside freeplay - choice of inside or outside play in warmer weather and enough staff.


11.30 Story time, singing


11.45 Home time or lunch club

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very similar


also sessional with 2 sessions a day+ lunch club


9.15 start with registration, half staff with children half with parents.

includes weather numbers etc. plus a small circle time or similar

self registration and free play with focus activity


staff will have one table set to play a game or other adult directed play, at present speech therapy focus with resources from our speech therapist, a lot of our childrne ned it. This changes with the sessiona sn children, always popular and some children will choose to stay all session, onec they have become familiar with game staff will 'back off' and observe them taking over the game and only intervene if felt necessary. (this is instead of keyworker time as it is impossible. Part time staff with mix of am and pm sessions same with children)


10.15 to 11.00 snack bar, children access in own time, are reminded if need to, supervised by adult for input, always a group of 4-6 childrn there at a time, they give adult name card from self registration so we know who has been and can report to parents if they have chosen not to.


11.00 ish- outdoor play ( have to go as group no chance of free access) depends on weather as to how long this is, winter can be short, summer we move out for whole session and move items out so all is covered. we ahve a sunny sheltered garden with a large tree which gives shade to almost all the garden all session, sun hats (we supply) are also worn by all staff included.


11.30 is story, songs end of day stuff can be indoors or outdoors


11.45 home time + lunch club


12.15 home time for lunch club


12.30 start all over again.


15.00 home time


20 children am session (1 SEN no addtional support needed)

Lunch club from 4 to 9 or 10 children

and 13 + 1 SEN 1:1 pm session.

6 staff, 3 or 4 a session depending on children.

Keyworkers have anything from 3 to 8+ children depending on number on register.






sorry spelling....spell check seems to have vanished on firefox, will investigate



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We're also a sessional pre-school. Mon - Thurs mornings 9.30 - 12.00 and Mon, Tues and Thurs afternoons 12.30 - 14.45. There are 26 children per session. The number of children keyworkers have varies, depending how many sessions they work: I have 7 children at the moment. Each session has a minimum of 6 staff 1 SEN support.


09.30 - 09.45/12.30 - 12.45

Children are greeted at door by member of staff, they come in and sit on chairs (with the rest of the staff) around a large carpet after putting their book bags and/or any treasure they have in the appropriate boxes. The register is taken and a quick chat about the day is had. If it's a child's birthday we sing happy birthday to them a they blow candles out on a cake and are given a card.


09.45 - 11.15/12.45 - 14.05

Free play activities. During this time the children can also choose to do the adult lead focused activity and choose a book to take home from the library. Snacktime starts 10.30/13.30 up to six children at a time come when they're ready and a member of staff is there to support and chat with them.



Tidy-up time.


11.15 - 11.45/14.15 - 14.30

Circle time mostly singing songs, especially action and counting songs; this is sometimes included in with storytime depending on how the session has gone.


11.45 - 12.00/14.30-14.45

Storytime at the end of which bookbags and treasure are handed out.


We have use of a second hall where we can put out physical equipment, (bikes, balance beam etc..) or do circle games. We have only recently had access to an outside play area which like Inge, we have to go as a whole group as there is no free access.


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did mean to add that we have a half hour music and movement session each week from a fitness instructor who works in a local gym, she does this one session am or pm and we do the other that day. This can include circle rhymes raps lets pretend etc etc.


also our hall is in 2 areas so we can have large equipment indoors, or very often a hall full of floor toys which they love.



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Why do you feel the need to call the register if the children have self-registered? I'm not that familiar with preschools, but it seems as though this time could be better spent, especially if you don't like interrupting the children's play.


When my mum ran a playgroup, she used to mark the children in as they arrived and then called the register at snack time. However, half the time was spent dealing with disruptive children so they decided to self register and knock the 'calling' of the register on the head.


Could you not do keyworker time instead of group songs - individual groups doing stories, kim's game, looking at things that the children have brought in could be more engaging/prodcutive? Or do this for 15 minutes then do 15 minutes group song time?


I'm just very conscious of the amount of 'sitting down' time that seems to happen in daycare settings when staff get hung up on routines and would much rather see more flexibility - self-registration, cafe style snack bar, free flow access to indoors and outdoors (where possible) whilst valuing the importance of social time with the whole group or small groups.

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we used to split our session with a group snack, story etc like Deb , think it was to give time for staff to do jobs and prepare snack for group etc. when we had group snack time.


about 3years ago we changed to free play after am register of 5-10 mins max usually, our parents like this structure to the beginning of the session, and the children seem to like it too. we revise+ review it every term and if it works for us we keep it, if children are in a disruptive mood it is abandoned fast!

(have had requests from new parents to do more structure, with books and reading etc , and why don't we sit them down to learn! Children have usually gone to another setting because of our very free structure ).

our sitting time actually comes out at 20 mins per day max in large groups split between beginning and end of session. and children's choice of length at other times.


using garden freely would be our ideal but it really is impossible, but we do use it everyday.



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sessional pre-school/lunch club and all days 24 children

9am - free play with one adult led activity


go over to big school hall for music and movement

10am-10.20 free play

10.20am- tidy up/looking at books on mat/register/news time

10.45am - toilet/wash hands and sit down all together for snack

11.10 -story time

11-15am - table top activities,such as playdo,cutting,pencil work,tap ashape,pegs a game etc

11.35am - tidy/story/rhymes then red box time (items from home given out)

A member of staff ticks children in and does a tally on arrival.The children love the register time we may sing it,softly,loudly or I may describe the person today we rhymed their names.I feel it is a good way especially at beginning of the term for children to learn each others name.

Outdoor play is availiable throughout free play and we do take small groups into another room for small group work such as circle time or a table top game.

11.45-home or lunch club

12.40 - afternoon session starts some chilren go home or all dayers stay.

Afternnon similiar but no hall and all dayers will have quiet time away from the younger children.

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We are a seesional group open 5 mornings with 32 children each session and 5 members od staff.


9.00-11.00 Free play with children self registering and a member of staff, usually me, entering them on the register. We don't sit for a formal registration time-just never have done. During the free play time we have small group sessions. The children are split into 5 groups, two older groups of 4 year olds and three younger groups with 2/3 year olds. Each group has a small group sesion every day (it doesn't always happen because of circumstances on the day but we try to ensure the older children get their group time). At the beginning of the year they tend to be in keyworker groups but part way through, as new children start and we have got to know the capabilities of the others, we split them more according to ability and age. We found some of the September starters were very bright and were needing more in these sessions and the very young children were finding it difficult to sit for more than 30 seconds. These group sessions last between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the activity and the length of time the children are able to cope with sitting. Snack time takes place during free play with 8 children at a time going for snack.

We, like Inge, don't have free access to an outdoor play area so tend to have to go out as a whole group, spending as much time out there in the better weather but going out all through the year. When we go out it's usually at the beginning of the session and we don't have our end activity, where possible we try to do it during outdoor play so will take the parachute out, the beanbags and balls or the CD player.

11.00-11.10 Tidy up time

11.00-11.30-children split into two groups-sunshine group, older children, have an activity session such as Sticky Kids, parachute play, mini-gym, band and singing, the rainbow group, younger children, have a story.

11.30-11.50-reverse of above

11.50-12.00-coats and home time

From 11.30 onwards children have lunch who are staying.

We very rarely have all the children sitting together, they are usually split into two groups or more.


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We are also a sessional nursery operating each morning. Our routine is


9.30 Circle time including register and a child counts the number of children present, we also chat about the weather and share news.


9.45 Children freely select activities including Montessori equipment, art and craft materials including the focus craft activity for that week. Also children work one to one with their keyworker during this part of the morning.


11.00 Tidy up. Storytime and singing. Wash hands.


11.20 Snack time.


11.30 Outside play or (music teacher visits one day a week).


12.00 Children come back in. We have a sort of 'show and tell' when children discuss any objects they have brought in from home.


12.15 Home time.

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we are sessional 9.30 - 12

and a wed and fri 12. 15- 2.45


9.30 registration

9.40 freeplay ( with outdoor time)

10.30 singing

10.45 milk/fruit time

11.00 keyworker groups

11.10 outdoor play

11.40 show/tell

11.50 story


afternoon runs the same...


a lunchclunb is on a monday from 12 - 1 pm


5 members of staff each session.

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We are sessional

9.15 self register. plus an adult doing the register. Free choice session till 10am, this includes a themed craft activity.

10am tidy up time

children split into 2 groups, circle time and snack, then swap ( we call a register towards the end of term when children are going on to school)

10.45am physical play - bikes etc

11.05 - structured session, games, puzzles, trian set etc, we also include a table for the children going to school where we can do number work etc, depending on whats needed

11.30 storytime

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we are school nursery, can take up to 26 children with 3 adults.


9.00 - welcome time - children self-register, then go straight to activities. Parents stay for as little/much time as they want - share activities with child / chat to staff. 1 staff member marks register as children come in & does head count.


9.30 - group time - sing hello, complete weather board, then large group focus activity e.g. big book, counting songs, circle time.


9.50 - free choice time. 1 member of staff outside - children have free access. 1 supporting independent activiites and snack-bar. 1 focus activity.


10.50 - tidy up and small group time. Children in 3 groups according to age/experience/ability for focus activity.


11.15 - story or songs time as whole group.


11.30 - home time.


Routine repeats for afternoon session as different children attend.


I agree with others if children have self-registered and staff member has completed headcount/recorded register there is no need for children to sit down for a formal registration time.

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