Routines are the backbone of the classroom setting and the lynchpin for new opportunities to develop constructive learning experiences
The first experiences in the life of children involve stages, transitions and routines. In the educational context, routines are part of the daily dynamic in a school environment. Routines are observed and recognized as an essential factor to enhance the positive interactions, creativity, stimulating spontaneous thinking and natural pathways to innovative learning experiences. Thus, routines offer precious opportunities to actively engage reception age children’s learning expectations, sharing and celebrating their efforts and outcomes, (ACECQA, 2011).
In addition to that, routines involve powerful mechanisms that promote higher levels of consistency, safety and security. It allows excellent levels of motivation, interaction and stability in reception age children during the learning process. On a daily basis, children can benefit from routines as a passport to explore the world’s reality and build a close relationship with teacher, practitioners and peers. The benefits of routines in early years provisions can be classified in four main vital points:
Contributing to the development of language, communication and problem- solving mechanisms.
Promoting autonomy, independence and holistic thinking.
Mitigating social, mental and emotional health issues.
Improving sense of identity, belonging and ownership of their learning outcomes.
In SEND (Special Education Needs & Disabilities) context, six crucial key points should be highlighted in order to support reception age children on their daily routines in educational provisions such as:
The communication mechanisms used in the classroom can change the learning environment radically. Thus, teachers can use warning visuals (e.g. now and next boards), individual schedules and timetables, structured work in small groups and on a one to one basis. In addition to that, using short sentences, Makaton sign language and social stories.
Building strong and consistent expectations
Generating great expectations in SEND context is crucial to improve leadership perspective, teaching and learning practices, parents and carers engagement and children’s assessment and outcomes. (Bartram, 2018). Hence, an educational provision that promotes an environment based on great expectations within each sector can easily achieve higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency.
Anticipating adjustments smoothly
The powerful effects of anticipating tasks, activities and events are instinctively reflected in children’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Thus, providing advanced clues, warning and educational scenarios; introducing information gradually giving enough time for emotional regulation and cognitive adaptation.
Promoting coping methods
The coping methods are usually implemented to support the emotional and mental wellbeing of children. Also, to mitigate meltdowns, low engagement and behaviour. Implementing consistent routines, but flexible according to the children’s needs and requirements based on solid boundaries, positive reinforcement and guidance.
Welcoming creative ideas and perceptions
Creative and innovative ideas are a critical point that enhances children’s participation, engagement and motivation. In addition to that, new insights in the classroom setting can offer a more flexible and enjoyable structure to the daily routines.
Fostering a positive behaviour
Routines can boost the levels of engagement between adults and children, building positive rapport. Consequently, it impacts massively on learning and teaching dynamics. As a result, positive behaviour will help to build cohesive relationships, supporting healthier individual and group routines.
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