“Teach me to do it myself.”
– Inner Voice of the Child
As my 2.5 year-old daughter gains more independence in her daily routine, I have noticed she looks to us less for assistance with the individual tasks, being able to complete these multi-step processes with much more ease. She is at the point now where she is looking to us to help her tie those tasks together into an order, or routine, that makes sense to her. As a result, my daughter and I have created a visual schedule of her daily morning routine that she can use as a guide, independent of any adult, to facilitate the autonomy she is seeking.
These visual aids are useful tools for a variety of reasons, regardless of whether or not you are providing or maintaining a Montessori environment in your home. First, as I mentioned previously, they serve as a guide to children looking for more independence in executing their daily routines, making them very Montessori-friendly. Second, it is helpful for any adult who steps into the caregiver/teacher role in your home and/or preschool environment. For example, my husband normally leaves for work while our children are still sleeping or as they are just waking up. The visual schedule is a guide for him as well, whether he is there at the start of her day or just stepping in midway through. Third, research has shown that the visual schedule has also been proven to benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a population that has been known to have difficulties with unstructured time. I don’t have much experience in this area so I can’t speak more on that, but I would be remiss not to mention it as one of the important benefits of utilizing a visual schedule.
Once our daughter becomes more familiar with how to use her visual schedule for her morning routine, we will expand its use to other portions of our daily/weekly routine. Check out below to see how we created a visual schedule and how it is displayed in her environment for ease of use.
Materials We Used:
First we cut the construction paper into fourths. Next, we took the photos (symbols of each individual task) we want to include in our routine and cut them to fit inside the pieces of construction paper, with enough room to write a short label for the task they represent. Then, we glued them to the construction paper, and wrote our labels in marker below each picture. We placed them inside the laminating pouches and ran them through the laminator. Finally, we attached magnets to the backside of each picture. Voila!
It was a pretty simple project and my daughter had fun helping. The schedule is displayed in order vertically on the fridge, since we spend a lot of time in the kitchen in the morning. We also have several whiteboards throughout our home so these could potentially live somewhere else in the future. As she completes each task, she can confidently remove them from the fridge and place them in the designated tray, knowing that she is completing her routine and without feeling like she needs direction from others.
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