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Pointers by Experienced Teachers Working With Preschool Children

A few teachers listed the following pointers from their experiences with preschool children:

1. The first few days are the most important ones of the year. Help children to formulate two or three rules for the classroom. If the children help, it’s easier for them to own the rules. Be sure that you’re consistent in keeping the rules so the children know that they are important. Have fun and let children know you care about them.
2. Don’t make any rules for the class that you are not willing to follow through with. Always be consistent and fair and let children know that you mean what you say.
3. Never get into a power struggle with children. Always listen to both sides with a nonjudgmental and non-confrontational attitude.
4. You won’t damage children’s thinking by taking the lead and being the boss of your classroom. Once you gain the confidence, things will go more smoothly, and once you take a firm lead, the children will respect and respond more readily.
5. Have a good balance of discipline and humor with children. In order to gain their respect, you need to convey your genuine enjoyment to be with them. (Children understand the teacher’s toughness sometimes because they know you care enough for them to try harder and to get better.) Humor is important to have for your own perspective and for the children. It keeps the days lively and enjoyable.
6. It’s not what you teach, but how you teach it that makes all the difference. If what you are doing in your classroom is exciting and motivational, classroom discipline problems disappear. Children do not want to get into trouble because they do not want to miss out on what is going on in the classroom.
7. Not every child will like you. And, you won’t like every child. However, TRY to find at least one thing you can respect each child for – even if it’s just showing up at school.
8. Children will quiet down when the teacher is quiet and waiting for their attention. Instead of losing your voice, try to have the children focus their attention on you and wait for the attention you deserve before moving on to the lesson or instructions.
9. Adults love choices and challenges! Whenever possible, give children choices – whether it’s a long-range project they select, or coloring a picture with crayons, markers, or colored pencils! Try to give as many “small” choices as possible, even if it seems insignificant.
10. Watch the body language for both yourself and children. With children, it can give you clues as to what the real problem is; for the teacher, you need to convey that not only are you listening but you are hearing what the children are saying. Then have them help in the solution.

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3 comments on “Pointers by Experienced Teachers Working With Preschool Children

  1. Maggie Michelitch

    Excellent message for all of us administrators to the assistant teacher to the janitor.

    1. Bill Janiak Post author

      Thank you, Maggie!

  2. I agree with the person who was concerned about suggestion #6. It is very important to be clear about expectations for behavior, of course, and most excellent preschool teachers work with the children in the classroom in the early days to discuss and agree to behavior rules or plans…such as being kind, walking in the classroom, listening to teachers and friends, etc etc.
    When children do not conform to expectations, it is the teacher’s job to figure out why the child is behaving in that way in order to meet the child’s needs rather than exert external control through a consequence or punishment such as missing out on an activity.
    Especially in the early days in the classroom, children may be anxious and uncomfortable at times, have separation feelings, have difficulty with transitions, have a hard time sitting quietly in a group…these are challenges that teachers have the responsibility to meet through empathic understanding, redirection, talking with the children and in some cases making special individual plans to help the child function more appropriately.


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