Supporting each child’s unique path to healthy cognitive, social-emotional and physical development requires nurturing care and stimulating learning opportunities from all caregivers in the child’s life. For children in child care, early educators play a central role in defining the early experiences that shape their development.

Let's take a look at a sample day in the life of an early educator. Click the plus sign for details!

6:30 - 7 AM |

Preparing for the day

• Set up classroom and gather supplies for the day
• Prepare breakfast for the children
• Update classroom bulletin board with resources & information for parents
• Field phone calls from parents reporting absences and trouble-shoot staffing needs





7 - 9 AM |

Children arrive

• Welcome children and their families
   ⇒ Coffee available for parents to encourage social connections
   ⇒ Assist parents with parenting questions/concerns





7 - 8 AM |

Children start their day

• Support children in practicing washing their hands
• Daily “health check” of each child to identify potential concerns such as recent illness or injury and prevent the transmission of infectious disease. All information/observations documented
• Children eat a healthy family-style breakfast
• Support children in practicing brushing their teeth
• Diapering/toilet training
• Washing hands
   ⇒ Developing a regular handwashing routine promotes good hygiene and public health.



8 - 8:30 AM |

Circle time

• Circle Time: A teacher-led literacy activity such as songs and rhyming, counting, emergent topic discussion; quiet play available for children who choose not to participate



8:30 - 9:30 AM |

Small group play

Small group play promotes learning, fine motor development and social and emotional skills, such as communication and sharing
   ⇒ Activities include: puzzles; legos; duplos; toy cars, people & trucks; stringing beads; cards; pegboards; dramatic play; sand and water tables; sensory bins; math, science & nature activities; art and creative activities, computer and library centers.




9:30 - 10 AM |

Snack time

• Diapering/toileting
• Wash hands
• Nutritious snack preparation (may involve cooking)
• Eat snack
• Wash hands




10 - 11 AM |

Gross motor play

• Outdoor and indoor “gross motor play”: running, crawling, climbing, rolling, dancing
  ⇒ Early interventionists (speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist) arrive to work with child(ren) with special needs. Interventionists work closely with the early educator to set goals for each child and discuss how to best meet their needs on a daily basis in the classroom.


11 - 11:15 AM |

Clean up and prepare lunch

• Diapering/toileting
• Wash hands
• Prepare lunch


11:15 - 11:35 AM |

Family-style lunch

• Family-style lunch: children sit together at the table and practice sharing and helping themselves to prepared food.
   ⇒ Family-style meals promote development of social skills, self-help skills and independence, and learning about healthy food choices.




11:35 - Noon |

Story time

• Clean up lunch
• Story time
• Prepare for nap





Noon - 2 PM |

Nap time & early educator admin time!

• Nap/quiet time: 1-2 hours recomended for healthy development, depending on age/health needs
  ⇒ Teacher uses this time to:

• Prepare a daily report describing each child’s day
• Call/meet with parents, a pre-K coordinator, an early childhood mental health consultant or a wellness nurse
• Develop lesson plans which meet the Vermont Early Learning Standards and goals for individual children
• Disinfect toys from morning play
• Create weekly newsletter which includes invitation to a Family Night event
• Research community resources for family who have identified needs (such as fuel assistance, affordable housing, substance abuse recovery, addressing domestic violence, information about a food shelf)

2 - 2:30 PM |

Clean up and prepare snack

• Diapering/toileting
• Wash hands
• Prepare & eat snack
• Wash hands





2:30 - 3 PM |

Quiet play

• Reading circle and quiet activities

3 - 5 PM |

Personal choice play

• Small group & individual play
• Outdoor or indoor gross motor play
• Diapering/toileting
• Wash hands
3:30 - 5 PM |

Parents arrive

• Parents arrive and children depart
  ⇒ This is an important check in time for parents. The provider and parent talk about the child’s day and what’s been happening at home, and the provider shares guidance and resources on positive parenting and child development.



5 - 5:30 PM |

Parent conferences & administrative work

• Parent conference to discuss developmental screening
• Record observations of children into child development assessment computer program
• Clean classroom and prepare for next day
6 - 9 PM |

Continuing education

• Attend professional development training on how to best support children who have experienced trauma
9:30 PM |

Administrative work

• Complete administrative tasks such as payroll, bookkeeping, ordering supplies, etc.