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During my second year of teaching Pre-k, I had a student whose home situation had just changed. I'll call her *Angel for the purpose of this post. She was definitely happier in her new place, but leaving her new guardian to attend school proved strenuous. This sweet little girl would cry constantly, asking me when her PaPa would be back to get her. The only relief any of us got was during naptime, when Angel cried herself to sleep.
I asked other teachers for advice and read so many online articles for information. I knew from my college classes that children work best with structure and continuity. It is easier for the younger ones to know what to expect during the day. Our classroom schedule was straightforward, and only changed during field trips and rainy days. I decided to create a daily schedule that was on Angel's eye level and one in which she could interact. I taped two small poster boards together and drew in two blocks for each activity of the day. The blocks displayed removable and interchangeable pictures, which I found on Google. I titled it "What are we doing right now?", laminated it, and added a piece of Velcro in each square. A piece of Velcro is also at the top of each block section, for the name of each daily activity.
After I hung up this schedule, Angel was able to see how many activities remained until her PaPa returned. She would become upset and automatically go to the schedule to self soothe. If our schedule changed, I allowed Angel to move the pieces around the board. She knew that going home happened right after snack time. The schedule made it easier to handle the stress of waiting. After about two months, Angel had stopped her crying episodes, except on rare occasions. I left the schedule up all year because it turned out that all of the other students loved to interact with it as well!