It’s not always easy keeping a day on track when working with kids who are just figuring out the basics of how to socialize and adjust to a classroom setting. So what can ECE teachers do to help keep things running smoothly?
10 Classroom management tips worth trying
Looking to keep an orderly preschool classroom? Consider trying the following:
- Organize your room strategically
A preschool classroom can be quite chaotic, so the way you organize is important in that it can help ensure that effective learning is happening wherever children are stationed.
There should be clearly demarcated areas in the room—like reading, timeout, play, food—and rules surrounding those areas.
- Emanate comfort and reassurance
There is a physical environment in each classroom, but perhaps on an even more important note—there’s the atmosphere you create by your tone and behaviour. Children are often very perceptive of attitude towards them. Teachers should be warm and caring toward children who are acting upset.
Trying to comfort the child and reassure them that they are not alone is worth trying when a student is upset. “Every child is different, but with some children, all they really need is a warm hug to calm down.” If you make yourself open to your students, they might be able to communicate why they are upset and help you solve the issue.
- Give them tools to express their feelings
Little ones don’t always know how to manage their emotions or communicate their feelings. When a child gets upset, answering a question like ‘what’s wrong?’ can be difficult.
Teachers should offer children options of song, art, movement in a quiet space set apart from the group.
Teachers can offer gentle assistance if students do not know how to manage their feelings, with the goal of continuing the flow of the day.
- Make a plan for transitions
There will be several times throughout the day when children are transitioning from one activity or area of the room to another. It’s important to have a plan for these transitions.
- Follow the kids from time to time
Whether it’s teaching under a table, moving free time around or focusing on something the kids are particularly interested in that day, being flexible and matching their natural interests can make the day more interesting and exciting for them.
- Use child-friendly labels
Keeping your room organized shouldn’t entirely fall on your shoulders. Empower your students to pick up after themselves and take responsibility for their own messes.
- Refer to the routine
Consistency is important for everyone, but especially for children. If your preschoolers know their routine, they begin to have an innate sense of accountability to follow it. Even something as simple as writing the day’s schedule on the board or making pictures to represent activities can help children anticipate the routine and feel more comfortable.
- Create integrated learning environments
Focus on creating a space that is conducive to a child’s visual, auditory and emotional development. When children grow, they need support in all of these areas.
- Balance ‘active’ & ‘passive’ activities
Certain activities will get your students’ pumped up and giddy with excitement, and others will help them mellow and calm down. Trying to keep kids silent when they are bubbling over with energy will be far less productive than giving them an activity to blow off some steam.
The manner in which you organize your activities can make all of the difference in keeping your kids engaged and avoiding meltdowns.
- Enjoy your job!
Kids are naturally intuitive and tend to follow the lead of those they’re around. If they see you enjoying the teaching process, think of how much more likely they are to enjoy the learning process.
Teaching preschool can be full of laughter and little delights, and when children see you having fun and making the day bright, it will help them come along for the ride. While not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows for you, putting on a good front and approaching the day with enthusiasm can lead to a positive feedback loop that might just make your day a little brighter.
(This article/text/quote/image is shared in good spirit to strengthen the education system.)