The daily routine at kindergarten

The daily routine at kindergarten
What will a typical day or week of kindergarten be like for your child? Here’s a look at how your little one will spend each day with his friends and teacher.

What will a typical day or week of kindergarten be like for your child? Here’s a look at how your little one will spend each day with his friends and teacher.

In the morning

The day often begins with a short discussion time. For example, on Mondays, the teacher might ask the children to tell everyone what they did over the weekend. This informal chat is usually followed by an activity to get them moving, such as a song or a dance.

Next, it’s often “calendar time”. The students are invited to identify the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.) and the weather of the day (sunny, cloudy, rainy, etc.) on a board. Using illustrations, the teacher also shows them the activities for the day. The goal is to help the children situate themselves in time.

Throughout the day, the teacher varies the activities requiring concentration, like listening to a story, with more active ones, like a workshop where students manipulate blocks. Each activity lasts an average of 20 to 40 minutes; at this age, the children still have short attention spans. The day also includes periods of free play.

During the morning schedule, a time is set aside in class for a snack. Then it’s recess. In some schools, the kindergartners go outside at the same time as the older students, but play in a small yard set up just for them. In other schools, they may break for recess at a different time from the rest of the school.


At lunchtime, the students are supervised by lunch monitors and daycare workers. Those who go home for lunch must generally do so by their own means. After lunch, there’s usually a short relaxation period of 20 to 30 minutes. Over the course of the year, this period may be replaced by calm activities such as quiet games, massages, and yoga. Then the afternoon continues with activities such as crafts, puzzles and play. At the end of the school day, the children who remain at daycare are left with their monitors, while the others go home.

Very often, the day for kindergarten students ends earlier or starts later than the other students in the school. Children in kindergarten have 23-and-a-half hours of educational services per week, compared to 25 hours for elementary school students.

A week in kindergarten

The students spend most of their class time with their teacher. They occasionally go to the school library to choose books or to the gym for a given activity.

The students are also entitled to 30 minutes each week with a specialist teacher. Each school chooses which specialist will take this period; most often it’s the gym teacher, but sometimes the time is shared with the music teacher.

Field trips may also be organized throughout the year, for example, to a museum, a theatre or a sports centre. Parents are often asked to help with these trips.

Progressive entry
For a smooth transition into kindergarten, several schools opt for a progressive entry. Models vary from school to school. On the first day, children may spend one or two hours in class. In some schools, the class is divided into two or even four groups, and each group then comes to school at a different time. This means that your child may go to school one day out of two, or for half days only.
In some schools, the progressive entry spans several days, while in other establishments it lasts only a day. In all cases, it allows the teacher and the students to get to know each other better.
These irregular hours may be hard to fit into your schedule during this period. Some schools don’t offer a progressive entry any more for this very reason, but many still consider it necessary.
It’s important to find out what your child’s schedule will be during the first two weeks of school. Some schools offer daycare for kindergartners during progressive entry, but this isn’t always the case. You may end up having to take a day off from work, ask friends and family for help, or get a sitter for your child.

Things to keep in mind

  • During the day, the teacher will alternate between activities that require more concentration and those that get the children on their feet.
  • All kindergartners are permitted half an hour each week with either the physical education teacher or the music teacher.
  • Your child’s kindergarten may have a progressive entry system; it’s therefore important to fit it into your work schedule.
Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Marie-Hélène Dufour, Kindergarten Teacher
Research and copywriting:
The Naître et grandir team
Updated: December 2023

Photo : Nicolas St-Germain

Useful links and resources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.


Books for parents

  • Homework and Studying, M.-C. Béliveau, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2010, 68 pp.
  • LessonsLearned: The Kindergarten Survival Guide for Parents, J. Podest, Balboa Press, 2014, 108 pp.
  • Ready For Kindergarten!: From Recognizing Colors to Making Friends, Your Essential Guide to Kindergarten Prep, D. J. Stewart, Adams Media Corporation, 2013, 224 pp.
  • The Littlest Learners: Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten, D. R. Roginski, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017, 160 pp.

Books for kids

  • Dad’s First Day, M. Mohnoutka, Bloomsbury Press Agency, 2015, 32 pp.
  • How to Be Kind in Kindergarten: A Book for Your Backpack, author: D. J. Steinberg, ill.: R. Hammond, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2021, 32 pp.
  • How Will I Get to School This Year?, author: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Scholastic Canada, 2013, 32 pp.
  • Kindergarten Countdown!: 10 more sleeps until school starts, author:M. Blain Parker, ill.: S. Borrows, Streling Children’s Books, 2017, 32 pp.
  • Kindergarten: Where Kindness Matters Every Day. author: VAhiyya, ill.: JChou, Random House, 2022, 40 pp.
  • Our Class is a Family, author: S. Olsen, ill.: S. Sonke, Shannon Olsen, 2020, 28 pp.
  • Ready, Set, Kindergarten!, author: P. Ayer, ill.: D. Abour, Annick Press, 2015, 24 pp.
  • School Rules, author: R. Munsch, ill.: D. Whamond, Scholastic Canada, 2019, 32 pp.
  • The King of Kindergarten, author: D. Barnes, ill.: V. Brantley-Newton, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2019, 32 pp.
  • The Night Before Preschool, author: N. Wing, ill.: A. Wummer, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2016, 22 pp.
  • The Queen of Kindergarten, author: D. Barnes, ill.: V. Brantley-Newton, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2022, 32 pp.