The Importance of Routine in Maternelle

One thing that is so cool about teaching is how we grow and evolve with experience.

It’s an amazing career for seeing tangible improvement and growth as a teacher (and as a human!), starting in just your first year.

It’s pretty crazy how you have to adjust and change in order to adapt to new students, new behaviours, new curriculum, and more, year after year.

Since I started teaching, many of my “limiting beliefs” about myself and what I do/don’t do best have changed drastically – for the better.

For example, when I first started teaching, I basically flew by the seat of my pants, believing that it’s better to always go with the flow and follow my heart – to basically teach what I wanted to teach and do what I wanted to do… often switching up my plans at the drop of a hat.

I reasoned that that’s how I worked best, and nobody would get bored.

Up until that point, I had spent my whole life “following my heart” and doing what I felt like, and I still managed to get everything done, be a great student, and rarely forget appointments or assignments despite not even using a calendar.

So, I must admit – as a Type B maternelle teacher, I didn’t always know the value of a good routine.

I just didn’t see the point of doing the same things over and over, and planning ahead if I might not feel like doing a certain lesson on the day I had planned to do it.

BUT, after my first hot-mess year of teaching, I started doing a lot of research on how to make maternelle a little bit easier and less crazy.

And one topic that kept coming up over and over was routine.

So, in this blog post (written with all the Type B teachers like me in mind!), I will be going a bit deeper into the importance of a good routine in maternelle, as well as the importance of sticking to it… even if you generally prefer to follow your heart ;)

There are lots of little tips and tricks to help make teacher life in maternelle easier, but routine is probably the most important one of all. Young students THRIVE on routine, and it is beneficial to everyone. Check out this blog post to see why routine is so key in maternelle! #maternelle #frenchteachers #larentrée

Why Is Routine in Maternelle Important?

First of all, routine makes young children feel safe and secure.

Kids feel safer when their lives are predictable, and they know what’s coming next.

If you provide your students with a solid routine, then they will learn that they can trust you to meet their needs and to take care of them.

This helps them relax and feel more comfortable at school. School can be scary for 4- and 5-year-olds; it’s our job to help them feel safe and happy so that they are ready to learn!

Our students are also still learning about time and how it works, so they don’t think about things like hours, minutes, and seconds.

They instead move through their day thinking about the events that happen.

When events happen in the same order each school day, your students will understand their days better and feel more secure and comfortable.

Routines and procedures allow students to have a way to organize their school lives and make sense of them.

Knowing what to expect will help them become more confident at school: They will know that they won’t be asked to do unfamiliar things that they have no idea how to do (at least not without proper support and scaffolding!).

Routines also help kids make simple predictions and understand concepts like “before and after,” which is exactly what we want them to learn to do when they are reading!

Moreover, routines can help our students with their self-control, because they know that certain activities happen at certain times.

For example, you may have a student who is obsessed with playdough and who may ask all day long at first when they can play with it. After a few days of solid routine, they will know that playdough time always comes after recess.

You won’t have to tell them over and over, and your student will be able to wait because they know that they will have that opportunity.

Why I Rely on Routine in Maternelle

One of the ways my students always make the most progress is with independence. Independence is one of the skills that I value most and invest the most time in teaching.

When my students are confident and independent, I am better able to do my job!

They don’t need me to hold their hands (metaphorically!), to help them get dressed, to find their writing tools, to spell words, to clean up properly, and to explain every step of our day over and over.

The routine I build with my students allows them to perform more activities without my help, because they have done these activities many times before in the same classroom environment.

Do I get bored sometimes? Yup! Absolutely.

But do my students? Nope!

Even though we play the same game with all 26 letters of the alphabet, for example (pictured below), the fact that we play it with different letters each day is enough of a change that they are still mega engaged.

And, they’re so proud of their ability to become more efficient and more proficient as each day goes by!

Trust me: your students will love knowing what to expect when the basic structure of your day is consistent, and they are able to predict what comes next.

Their independence will grow, and so will their pride in themselves.

Also, once your routine is set, it’s easy to gradually adjust and shift to meet your students’ changing needs. But, you need to get it going first!

Having a set routine actually leads me to feel like I have MORE flexibility, it turns out.

I find that our days run so smoothly that it’s no biggie to switch out an activity here and there – my students trust me and know that if I make a change, it’s for a good reason.

Their behaviour is also better, due to the routines and procedures we have established together.

Plus, I am calmer, better prepared, and more confident in my teaching.

And, by planning out our days well, I am sure to teach everything I need to teach and not be left scrambling in June, trying to squeeze in all the things I missed teaching earlier in the year.

So, while I still love following my heart in my personal life, in my professional life, I’m really proud of myself and how far I’ve come in regards to planning, routines, and organization.

I’m proud to be a little bit more “Type A” (fake it till you make it, right?! haha) as a teacher, and get a lot of joy from delivering on my promises to myself and having things planned and organized ahead of time.

What are some of the things that you incorporate into your daily routine in maternelle? How has routine helped you live your best teacher life? Let me know in the comments!

There are lots of little tips and tricks to help make teacher life in maternelle easier, but routine is probably the most important one of all. Young students THRIVE on routine, and it is beneficial to everyone. Check out this blog post to see why routine is so key in maternelle! #maternelle #frenchteachers #larentrée

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