Approaches for an ECE classroom

This list of teaching strategies for the preschool classroom will give you some excellent jumping-off points to explore as an educator.

Logo/symbol labeling

One way to promote everyday vocabulary is by having students verbally label common brands and symbols. Translating from picture to word helps in language development.

Have the students and their parents take pictures of logos or symbols found around their neighborhood, such as street signs, car logos or clothing brands. Then children can bring the photos to the classroom where students can label them as a group.

Sound recognition & matching

This activity will require a few large letters cut out of cardboard and several small—but not too small—objects nearby that begin with those letters. For example, if your letters are “B” and “F,” you might have a pile of buttons and feathers. Start by having the child say the sound that the letter makes. Then, encourage the child to find an object beginning with the same sound and paste it to the letter.

Switch out activities

Children tend to have short attention spans, so scheduling long lessons is out of the question. To help children stay focused, try changing out activities. Begin with a sedentary activity—such as listening or reading—and then following up with a more lively activity—such as a music lesson or art project. It may also help to have a few quick go-to activities that will help kids release a little energy if you find they’re too wound up.

Start a garden

A garden can be an excellent way to teach kids about the natural world. Growing a plant from seed to maturity can teach children about their own growth, relieve stress and help promote fine motor skills. You don’t have to be a natural green thumb, either—there are plenty of easy-to-grow indoor options out there. Not only that, but it also allows you to reinforce routines by setting aside a time to regularly check up on the plants’ progress with your learners.

Establish rules

Establishing rules at the beginning of the school year is a great strategy for keeping a calm classroom. Post the rules in a common area so that students will see them every day and be reminded of what’s good or bad behavior. When a child breaks a classroom rule, be sure not to use harsh language. Remind the student of the rule, instead of using negative words such as “no” or “don’t.”

Tailor activities to your students

It can be easy to fall back on the teacher’s manual or default lessons you may have memorized in school. However, for some kids, these can pose problems. Teachers need to be sensitive to children from non-traditional home situations. Think twice before asking students to draw pictures of their families—think how an adopted child or child of separated parents may feel, and how other children may react.

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