Back To School
Early in a new school year teachers will want to lay a foundation for calm and safety in the classroom . You’ll want to keep it simple. No more rules than the age of the children! Including the children in the process in an authentic way will increase their compliance! Some rules might include (but are not limited to…) walking feet, silence during fire drills, gentle touches, listening ears, and have fun! Take pictures of children demonstrating their expertise in each rule. Post the pics with labels and talk with the children about each.
Teachers of older children have success with dispute resolution using a “peace table”. A small table is set up with 2 chairs designated for dispute resolution. Again keep it simple, but try adding a few tools to use at the peace table like a paper bag or puppet to tattle-tale to and a timer to keep discussions short. Early in the year the children may need help knowing what to do at the peace table. Teachers will guide them until they are more adept at problem solving.
Starting off your new year positively is so very important for all of the children in your care regardless of the children’s age!
Greeting each child individually each morning is an important ritual. It lets them know that you appreciate their presence in your class.
Letting each individual child, know right away, that you’re happy they’re in your class sets up a nurturing atmosphere.
The activities found here will help you create that atmosphere and foster social emotional growth and development.
Welcoming each child to circle time is easy with sentence strips programmed with names of each child. The strips should be cut to fit the name and laminated with contact paper. Holding each child’s name card one at a time invite them to come up and insert their names into a pocket chart. Together the others should all say good morning to the child who’s turn it is. When all the names are in the pocket chart everyone helps count the number of names. Later in the year you’ll want to add last names. Teachers of older preschoolers can start off with both.
Helping each child feel a part of the group is important to all the children in your care. In the block center its fun to make “kid blocks”. Take a picture of each child standing or seated about the same distance from the camera so they all look about the same size. When the pictures are developed cut the background away and contact paper the picture to your cylinder or rectangle blocks. Children love putting themselves at the top of a castle! You could have children wear crowns and capes or other costumes for the pictures to add to a theme.
Dramatic Play/Housekeeping Center
This is where children’s imaginations are sparked. They imitate, rehearse and recreate in this center. During September keep it simple. Basic housekeeping supplies and furniture will lay the foundation for future use. Take a group picture early in the month and frame it for display in this center.
Children’s individual family pictures are a nice homey thing to add to this area if you have space.
Social/Emotional development can be fostered in the art center too! Keep it simple here for September too though. Too many choices can overwhelm young pre-schoolers. Basic open-ended art supplies will be great this month to provide children lots of success in this center. Scissors, glue, and interesting paper to cut, along with easel paints and supplies will be a great foundation to build on.
Bring out “kid safe” mirrors, skin tone paper (cut out head shapes), and skin tone crayons along with the regular colors. Offer bits of yarn in the colors of the children’s hair. The children should look in the mirror and take notice of their skin, hair, and eye color. Help the children draw self portraits.
Even the youngest pre-schoolers can enjoy a well stocked writing center. No Lined Paper – not yet anyway! Preschoolers are really exploring and just learning that spoken words can be conveyed through writing. Most are not yet writing any letters! Yet the writing center is still a very important place! Offering, for open use, markers, paper, small chalk boards and sidewalk chalk, first name cards for each child will be enough to get them started. You can add more complicated tools later in the year.
Fostering social/emotional development in the science center may seem counter intuitive. Making one of the class jobs watering plants that grow in this center is just one way! Early in September as part of your “It’s All About Me” theme you can take small groups into the science/math center and measure each child. If you use colored masking tape these lengths can be taped right to a section of wall in the center. Register tape paper can also be used but its not as durable. When you’re displaying these lengths of tape leave room between each for at least one additional measurement later in the year. Of course you’ll need to label each length of tape with name and measurement. When comparing heights we want to avoid who’s tallest or shortest.