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Why are we still doing the calendar?

  • 1.  Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-24-2017 11:12 AM
    Hello to all the early childhood professionals out there. I am curious how many of you out there have made the transition away from doing the calendar and weather as the staple morning meeting learning experience?  I have been in the field for 17 years and for all of this time I have been working diligently to inform my staff and students that doing the calendar every single day is quite limiting and there are other endless possibilities to what can transpire at morning meeting. As someone who supports project work, emergenct curriculum, and Reggio Emilia, I am struggling daily with the idea that we just can't seem to kick this part of morning meeting. I do not mean to offend anyone out there who is doing the calendar. I invite you to enter into this dialogue with an open mind and heart. Would love to hear from others who have taken the leap and introduced varied learning experiences at morning meeting. I need to know I am not alone!!!

    Rosalie Witt
    Wilton CT

  • 2.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 05:06 AM
    I totally get what you are saying and I applaud using ingenuity during morning meeting.
    I do plan to order calendar materials for my new center.
    I stated in a previous thread on global warming that calendar and weather may not be understood by all children.  But this is what we do know.  Children need routines and they love repitition.  Some learn about taking turns. Calendar and the weather cover many curricula areas.  I think I will stick to it if my staff agrees because the calendar and weather brings consistency to the morning meeting.  Then we can delve into the other possibilities.

    Patricia Jack
    Boulder City NV

  • 3.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 06:58 AM
    OMG Rosalie!  I have been in early childhood education for over 40 years and this is one of my pet peeves of all time!  I'm convinced that American educators don't think any child will ever survive unless they drag them through these silly routines every morning, especially since developmentally, children at this age can't understand time and symbolism of the calendar, etc.  I do lots of consulting work and college-level instruction in early childhood and this comes up all the time!  The daily recitation drives me crazy---a friend of mine and I call it "pagan calendar worship"!  The chanting in unison (e.g., "Today is Monday, March 17, 2017") just reminds us of natives worshiping a totem!

    Just because children are perhaps reciting this accurately does NOT mean that they understand it or know what to do with that information.  This is one of many non-developmentally appropriate practices that I observe in many early childhood settings, and teachers and parents feel impressed by the children's false positive performance.  Let's band together to change this practice---way too much time is spent on it for nothing!  These children are concrete learners---there will be plenty of time to move into symbolic learning as they get older.   I hope people will finally begin to realize that the content does NOT match the learner's developmental level and cease this time-wasting practice!

    Rick Ellis
    Rick Ellis
    Bordentown NJ

  • 4.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 08:54 AM
    This topic is one that I have been contemplating as well. My meeting area is completely stripped and awaiting materials for the fall. The one item that remains is the heart, which is how we determine which of our classmates we need to "keep in our heart" until we see them again.

    I am on a new "intentionality" focus, well maybe not so new to me, rather I am examining actions, choices and so on at an especially deeper level. The conversations on this site are very helpful and meaningful to me as I go through this process.

    Last year, I was welcomed into a new school. The EC program had a director that was there before was burned out and had become very comfortable in the methods she earned early in her career. Her assistant was then allowed to be in charge, and she too, was stuck in the 70's and 80's. I discovered materials and routines that were archaic and just plain bad for kids. I had to take a deep breath and decide how best to approach the situation with as much grace and tactic possible.

    I am approaching my 29th year in the EC field, yet I am not so "old" that I want to do what is comfortable, Eady or even familiar. I will continue to read this thread as I formulate my plan for the fall. Thank you to everyone who has participated thus far and for thank you to Rosalie for presenting this topic for discussion.

    [Sheila] [Anderson]
    [St. Mary Catholic ]
    [Traverse City] [MI

  • 5.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 09:03 AM
    As a consultant, I work to help teachers and school administrators to understand how to conduct more effective large group times. <g class="gr_ gr_42 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="42" data-gr-id="42">Calendar</g> is not a good use of this time. People just need to understand why. I do webinars about this and it is in my book "Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds" which is published by WW Norton. In it, I talk about "circle time" in the chapter about rethinking routines. Please message me if you'd like to learn about this book.

    Cindy Terebush
    Early Education Consultant & Speaker
    Author of "Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds"
    Old Bridge NJ

  • 6.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 09:50 AM
    I work with 2 1/2-year olds, and have for several years. I don't do calendar/weather at group time. We sing a gathering song, a 'who's here today' song, read a story, and finish by using a photo chart to indicate how we feel today. I see the three's on up doing calendar and wonder what the purpose of it is. I get the weather part-it is something we can see and feel and does affect what we do that day, but why the chanting of the days of the month? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I just wonder why is it important?

    Catherine Roach
    Milwaukee WI

  • 7.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 01:51 PM
    What is the teacher's expectation for including the calendar?  Hopefully not for mastery, but if it's used as part of active discussion and conversation with the children, I see nothing wrong with it--the days of the week are after all just words and vocabulary is so important. Learning can and should be found in all things, I do believe it's what we as teachers expect the outcomes to be which makes lessons inappropriate.  Calendars, weather ---none of this needs to be painful, tedious or boring--if it is, then let it go.  The conversations we have with the children open the door and provide the children with an introduction to a wide variety of topics---letters, numbers, colors, words, animals, feelings, families... the list is inexhaustible.

    Lorraine Hegarty
    Jenkintown PA

  • 8.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 01:52 PM
    Thank you, Rosalie for posting this interesting question. I filter questions, as much as possible, thinking how something benefits young children and whether what is being considered was initiated by children or based on observations of children as they go about their day. It seems to me if a child asks the question, "What day is today?", it is an opportunity to engage in a conversation with a child about the days of the week and explore strategies how to determine the response to the question.

    Sometimes, I am concerned we have focused so much on what teachers can and should do with young children, rather than supporting teachers to become confident in observing young children, during the day, and thinking about messages the children are communicating  that can inform the design of the learning environment and interactions that respond to the needs of the children as evidenced by observations.

    For many years, we spoke about reflective supervision, reflective practice, etc. and may not have found the way to support teachers in learning, internalizing and valuing reflections and thought as they interact with the children.

    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Sense of Wonder, LLC
    Alexandria VA

  • 9.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 05:07 PM
    We did away with the calendar in all of our classrooms (except for a few stubborn teachers who have refused to let go) about 5 years ago. We use the question of the day to have a meaningful conversation that's relevant to what the children are studying and interested in to start our day. We do still do the weather, but it's a job children get to choose to do as a part of each days' job chart, and it's labeled 'weatherman' or 'meteorologist' to add in a 'fifty-cent' word.

    Dorothy Fredrick
    Colorado Springs CO

  • 10.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 05:18 PM

    You are so right, Rosalie!  I totally support your opinion and all  your ideas.  Best of luck as you move ahead regardless of some who might disagree!  You've got great ideas for supporting projects and for supporting children in general – just doing what's best for them and their learning.


    Juanita Springate

    Essentials for Greatness Coach

    Consultant, Coach, Trainer


    Phone:  816-809-4752


  • 11.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 07:45 AM
    Our Head Start agency has discontinued using the calendar and weather for group time. Staff can still use the calendar format to introduce numbers and patterns but that is all it is used for. Discussions about weather occur naturally throughout the day.

    Karen Kimball
    Port Huron MI

  • 12.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 09:04 AM
    I think a morning "gathering" routine is important.  It centers the children, provides routine and structure, and helps the teachers take the "pulse" of the group.  Using music and movement in a morning routine is an effective and developmentally appropriate means to do this.  Sing a greeting song together that names and acknowledges each child, do a simple finger play poem that is perhaps appropriate for the season, and then another song with simple repetition and stationary movement that goes from sitting, standing, and back to sitting.  The breathing, stretching, rhythm, and synchronicity prepares the body so the mind can focus.

    Diana Greene
    Early Childhood Music & Movement Specialist
    President, ECMMA
    Sparta NJ

  • 13.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-27-2017 09:07 PM
    Thank you for starting this interesting conversation! I have been torn on the use of calendars for some time. Time is such an abstract concept for young children.  I appreciate the ideas for better uses of morning meetings!

    One concern I have in calendar use is the physical calendar itself. Using a calendar in which the date number is added each day does not allow the user to look ahead in time. (These are the laminated calendars available through teacher supplies.) Adults and older children use calendars to mark future events or refer back to previous ones. No one writes the dates as they go! How confusing that would be to schedule a dentist appointment :)   Using a regular calendar with all numbers printed seems much more authentic and helps children see the calendar as a measurement tool.  I do use a calendar, but try to keep its use authentic. I print a large 12 month paper calendar (dates included) starting with August each year with all children's birthday's included as well as events other events important to the school. We cross off the days as they happen, pencil in upcoming events, record when we started an experiment, or anything important that comes up that we might want to remember. The children are invited to flip through the calendar and like to see when their birthdays are - that's the most event important, of course!

    What I plan on adding to our calendar next year are picture icons representing what always happens on Monday, Tuesday, etc. The children do notice the patterns of events during week so perhaps adding these to the calendar will make this visual tool more meaningful.

    Julie Miller
    Lafayette LA

  • 14.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 12-06-2019 05:39 PM
    We stopped using a traditional calendar in our preschools and have been using a linear calendar.  Developmentally it is more appropriate with students understanding of time passing and moving forward.  We have had great success with it.

    Lisa Ludeke
    Marana Unified School District
    Tucson AZ

  • 15.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-28-2021 05:40 AM
    I wonder this myself. I started teaching 26 years ago and I knew then it was not developmentally appropriate so I did not use it. I do not know why people who are coming out of college are placing calendars up on their walls.

    I think meeting time is meant for reading, discussion, discovery, songs and letting the children share their thoughts to create a plan for project work. It is also a time to support the social emotional development of children (routines, feelings, connection and community).

    I think change is hard for  people, and I appreciate people that will look at new information to create more DAP for their students.

    Thank you for the discussion question.

    DeLynn Zielinski
    Instructional Leader Coach
    Arlington Hts IL

  • 16.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-30-2021 09:44 AM
    I do use the calendar at my circle time with great success.  My expectations for it are really about obtaining confidence.  Someone commented about how absurd it is to spend 40 minutes on a calendar activity.  Who in the world would ever spend 40 minutes on any preschool activity?  That is not what I am doing.

    If my expectation is to build confidence, I do that by playing games with movement.  We count by moving, we move to a pattern we created, we talk about how we read from left to right and top to bottom.  We laugh when we put the number on the calendar upside down.  We count by 2, 5, 10.

    This routine of being silly and moving and making mistakes and seeing purposeful mistakes makes learning fun.  They become so confident in their counting, number recognition, patterns, standing up in front of their peers to be the "helper", I see tremendous confidence and growth by using the calendar as a tool.

    We get excited to put birthdays, holidays, vacations on the calendar.  Our conversations start with that certain topic and before you know it the conversation goes to something completely different.  Easily, fluidly, because we are confident.

    They learn by using their whole body, and this can be achieved by yes, a little calendar.

    My classroom will always have one because we move, we laugh, we talk to each other and we learn so many things that have nothing to do with the days of the week.

    Renee Hult
    OLGC Preschool
    Plymouth MI

  • 17.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-29-2021 12:37 PM