The daily schedule should provide consistency in a balanced program of child initiated and adult-directed activities, including individual and small group activities, routines and transitions.


  1. Provide for alternating periods of quiet and active play. (see Setting up the Physical Environment policy)
  2. Schedule outdoor play daily, weather permitting. ( see Playground Safety policy)
    1. At a minimum outdoor play will be 30 minutes.
    2. Children will go outside daily unless the weather is extreme (below 25 degrees F, pouring down rain, above 100 degrees with no covered area to play in).
    3. Classrooms providing service for 5 or more hours per day will schedule outside time in both the morning and afternoon.
  3. Provide a balance of large muscle and small muscle activity.
  4. Make available more than one option for group activity (individual, small/large group).
  5. 60 minutes each day will be scheduled for child initiated activities (e.g., choice time, discovery time) (see Developmentally Appropriate Materials, Equipment, Activities policy). It includes some of outdoor/large motor time.
  6. Planned or routine activities may be changed according to the needs or interests of children, and/or to cope with changes in weather or other emergent situations that affect routines. Change in routine will be discussed with children to minimize anxiety.
  7. Schedule field trips to provide hands on learning experiences that will extend classroom learning (see Field Trips and Field Trip Safety policy).
  8. Set aside 20-30 minutes each day for each meal. (see Mealtimes policy)
    1. Time between breakfast and lunch is at least 2.5 hours; between lunch and snack is at least 1.5 hours.
  9. Be sure to allow adequate time for smooth transitions between activities. Children should not always be required to move from one activity to another as a group. Use transitions as a vehicle for learning.
  10. Incorporate routine tasks into the program as a means of furthering children’s learning, self-help, and social skills. Routines such as toileting, eating, dressing, hand washing, tooth brushing should be relaxed, reassuring, and individualized based on developmental needs. (see Diapering, Hand washing , Toileting policy)
    1. Brushing teeth will be on the daily schedule.
    2. Washing hands will be on the schedule at least one time, but preferably before a meal.
  11. Post daily schedule in the classroom that is visible to adults and near the entrance to the classroom.
  12. A picture schedule for children’s use will be posted in the classroom at child’s eye level.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1302.31 .
It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997.
Updated July 6, 1999. November 14,2000, August 20, 2003. June 2008. June 2009. August 2011. July 2013. August 2017.
© 1995-2017. Head Start of Lane County. All rights reserved.

REVIEWED: May 2021