It’s no secret that I think visual supports are one of the most important things you can do for your classroom management. As helpful as it can be to use whole-group picture schedules to keep your classroom running smoothly, you will likely have students who would benefit from an additional level of support. Keep reading to see how individual visual schedules can fill this gap!
Benefits of Using Individual Visual Schedules in Kindergarten
There are many reasons why visual schedules can be helpful, especially in a kindergarten classroom. Even though a whole-class picture schedule is a very effective tool for classroom management, some students need more individualized structure and reminders during the school day. Here are some of the ways that this visual support can be useful in the kindergarten classroom.
- Build Routine: Individual visual schedules are a great way to give students the much-needed predictability that can help them navigate the school day more easily.
- Encourage On-Task Behavior: A visual schedule can make it easier for students to stay on track, since there is a visual reminder of what they should be doing at that particular time.
- Alleviate Anxiety: It can be difficult for some of your students to focus on the task at hand when they hear students on the playground or walking in the hall. They might worry that they should be somewhere else! A visual schedule is a great way to reassure students and alleviate anxiety.
- Support Transitions: Some students have a hard time ending an activity, especially a favorite activity, when they don’t know what they will be doing next. An individual picture schedule can address this problem and help transitions go more smoothly!
How to Set Up Individual Picture Schedules
Setting up individual picture schedules can seem daunting at first, but it will quickly become part of your daily routine. Here are some tips to help you get this visual support up and running for the students who need one.
Step One: Choose a Format
The first step is to choose a picture schedule format that works best for the individual student. A visual schedule only works if it’s helpful to the student for which it’s intended. You might have a template that has worked for many years only to find out that it’s not effective with your current student who needs a visual schedule.
Step Two: Prep
The next step can feel the most daunting, which is the actual prep work required to put together a visual schedule. Laminate the schedule pieces and use hook-and-loop fasteners to attach them to the laminated schedule. This will help your schedule last all year long, so you won’t have to spend even more prep time remaking lost or torn schedule pieces.
Step Three: Keep It Accessible
Be sure to keep the schedule in a place that can be easily accessed and referenced throughout the day. This will be different for each student. Some do well with their schedule attached to their desk, while others need it mounted in a folder that can be tucked away until the next transition. Some students visit multiple locations throughout the school day, so a visual schedule mounted on a clipboard can be helpful. No matter what you decide, make sure that the schedule is accessible and easy to reference.
Step Four: Use It!
As with any classroom management or behavior management tool, a visual schedule is only helpful if it’s actually used! It’s very difficult for this to become a systematic, predictable part of your student’s day if the schedule isn’t used or referenced regularly.
Individual Visual Schedule Examples
As I mentioned above, there are many different formats that you can use for an individual visual schedule. You can try different schedule types to find one that works the best for your student. Here are a few visual schedule examples that work well in kindergarten:
For students who need a very simple visual schedule, a “First/Then” visual can be a great option. It makes the transition easier for the student to know what activity is coming next.
When it’s time for the transition, students can move the visual from the “then” box to the “first” box. The next activity on the schedule would be added to the empty “then” box.
It’s Time For…
Some students need to see the entire day (or morning/afternoon) to be reassured of certain parts of the routine.
This visual schedule format has space for the different parts of the daily routine, with a spot for the current activity. Students can move the card to the correct spot when it’s time to transition.
Schedule with a Done Column
This visual schedule is another way for students to see the bigger picture of the day. Just like the schedule above, you can choose to have the entire day visible or break it up into morning and afternoon.
The format for this schedule is different because students will move each schedule piece to the “done” section as they complete each activity. Physically moving the pieces to another part of the schedule is helpful during transitions. It also provides a visual reminder of the activities that have already come and gone that day.
Printable Visual Schedules for Kindergarten
Individual pictures schedules are very helpful tools, but they can be time-consuming to create! I’ve put together a resource to make it easier for you to implement this support for your students who need it. This resource has four different templates in different sizes, along with over 150 picture cards that you can use to customize individual schedules in your classroom.
Save These Individual Visual Schedules
Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite board on Pinterest so you can quickly find it when you’re looking for individual visual schedules to use in your classroom. Just print, laminate, and go!