Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Daily Schedule and Recent Lesson Plan

Children develop, learn, and thrive in environments that provide positive interactions and engaging activities. Creating environments where all children thrive requires careful planning and organization, especially since no two children are exactly alike.

Purposeful schedules, daily routines, and meaningful activities are important elements in environments that support children’s development and learning. In these settings, lesson plans are individualized to meet the unique needs of all children, including children with special health care needs or disabilities. Schedules include multiple opportunities for children to interact and learn through whole group, small group, and individual activities. Adequate time and support allow children to move easily from one activity to another. Domain-based activities contribute to early literacy skill development and promote school-readiness.

young girl painting rainbow color splotches on a wall above a Sunday through Saturday schedule
Daily Routines and Meaningful Activities

Your daily schedule and lesson plans demonstrate the time and attention you invest in creating an environment where all children develop, learn, and thrive. This section helps you review, revise, or create a daily schedule and lesson plan to meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Implementation: DAP 6.3 (DAP 5.3 - School-Age Only).

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key components to include in your daily schedule and lesson plan.

Requirements

Let's look at the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Implementation: DAP 6.3 (DAP 5.3 - School-Age Only). The following interactive shows you the requirements. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot for information about what to include in your daily schedule and lesson plan.

Select the option that applies to your program type:

 

  Child Care Center
DAP 6.3: Implementation Domain-based activities provide opportunities for whole group, small group and individual learning experiences and include adequate time for transitions, literacy, and reading opportunities. Documentation to submit: Daily Schedule and Recent Lesson Plan (within the past 6 months)

  Family Child Care
DAP 6.3: Implementation Domain-based activities provide opportunities for whole group, small group and individual learning experiences and include adequate time for transitions, literacy, and reading opportunities. Documentation to submit: Daily Schedule and Recent Lesson Plan (within the past 6 months)

  School-Age Only
DAP 5.3: Implementation Daily schedule provides adequate access to a variety of activities related to the lesson plan. Documentation to submit: Daily Schedule and Recent Lesson Plan (within the past 6 months)

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Implementation: DAP 6.3 (School-Age Only: DAP 5.3), your documentation should include:

  • Daily schedule with:
    • Opportunities for children to interact in whole group, small group, and individual learning experiences
    • Time to engage in literacy and reading activities
    • Time to transition between activities
  • A recent lesson plan for each age group of children in your program. Your lesson plan should be dated and used within the past 6 months.





Daily Schedule and Lesson Plan per Age Group (within past 6 months)

Consistent schedules and routines help children feel safe in environments that are predictable. Children can move through their day with confidence knowing their needs will be met, and they will have many opportunities to play and learn, rest and relax, and be with others.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Like children, no two programs follow the exact same schedule with the exact same activities and routines. But, all quality programs follow schedules and routines that meet the individual needs of children and include key elements like:

  • Domain-based Activities that encourage social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development
  • Activities that match the children's individual ages, developmental levels, and needs
  • A balance of active and quiet periods
  • Time to transition between activities
  • A balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities
  • A balance of whole group, small group, and individual activities
  • Connections to a child's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) as appropriate
  • Opportunities to participate in literacy and reading activities
 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Your daily schedule and lesson plan clearly shows where each and every child has multiple opportunities to:

  • Play and work in ways that challenge children to think and develop new skills with the necessary supports to experience success across multiple domains
  • Participate in a variety of activities with different groups of children and adults (whole group, small group, one-on-one, and independently)
  • Engage in age-appropriate activities that tap into individual interests and skills
  • Experience a balance child-initiated and adult-directed activities
  • Have a balance of active and quiet periods throughout the day
  • ufficient time and preparation to transition between activities
  • Build individual skills and receive services necessary to meet specific goals, particularly those outlined in an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as appropriate
  • Participate in literacy and reading activities
 

Where can you learn more?

This chart provides a sampling of daily routines and activities that occur in child care settings. Each routine and activity presents multiple opportunities for each child to participate, develop, and learn new skills throughout the day.

Your Daily Schedule or Lesson Plan: Opportunities to Learn, Observe, and Individualize

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Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education publishes a set of resources on early learning standards that serve as a guide when planning and delivering domain-based activities.

You may also find the Maryland State Department of Education School Readiness Report interesting as you seek to support children’s preparedness for entering school:

This document includes the Maryland Early Learning Standards published by MSDE’s Division of Early Childhood Education

Maryland Early Learning Standards: Birth – 8 Years

Maryland Early Learning Standards: Birth – 8 Years

Maryland Early Learning Standards: Birth – 8 Years

Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail

Talking is Teaching includes helpful videos and information on the importance of early literacy skills even for the youngest children.

Talking is Teaching: Early Literacy Resources

Talking Is Teaching - Talk, Read, Sing

Learning begins at birth! When you talk, read, and sing with your child-even before she can use words-you're building her brain and helping to prepare her for success in school and in life.

Final Touches

Check your daily schedule and lesson plan as you prepare to upload your documentation to the Maryland EXCELS System. Remember, your documentation includes your daily schedule and a recent lesson plan (within the last 6 months) for each age group of children in your program.

 

Check to be sure your daily schedule and lesson plan includes:

 
 
 
 
 
 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (example: dailyschedule.docx; lesson-fours.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your daily schedule and lesson plan (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned version of your daily schedule and lesson plan (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)
    • Digital image / picture of your daily schedule and lesson plan (examples: JPG, PNG, PDF)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate where you saved your written document on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

Congratulations! You are ready to submit documentation to meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Implementation: DAP 6.3; (DAP 5.3 - School-Age Only). If your documents meet the requirements, they also meet the requirements for DAP 6.4 and DAP 6.5; (DAP 5.4 and DAP 5.5 - School-Age Only).

Plan for Improvement

In the coming months, strengthen your lesson plans by including new opportunities for children to engage in learning experiences across multiple domains. Remember to upload any updated or new documentation to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (DAP 6.3; DAP 5.3 - School-Age Only)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your daily schedule and lesson plan.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation