The world of teaching early childhood education can be very rewarding. It is so exciting when, over a short period of time, you can observe your lessons and teaching come to life and be applied by your students. To some, teaching children of 4 and 5 years old can seem fun and energizing, but to others it is daunting and exhausting. As a first year pre-kindergarten teacher, I have learned a lot about this age group and how to create an inclusive and controlled classroom with these energetic youngsters.
Have clear classroom rules in concise language
From day one of a pre-kindergarten class, you have to be very explicit about your expectations of your students’ behavior. In my classroom, we have only five simple rules that cover a lot of ground without saying too much because this age can only handle small bits of information before it becomes frustrating for both them and you.
Have clear consequences when the rules are broken
It is important to convey to your students what can and will happen if they break one of the classroom rules. Structure is very important for young children so that they can know what to expect and not get upset or frustrated when something unexpected happens. I also want to add, along with this tip, that it is extremely important for you to follow through and be very consistent with rule enforcement. Children will correct their behavior if they know you will follow through on the consequences you have made, but if these consequences are not implemented consistently there may be little or no progress in a student’s behavior.
Open Lines of Communication with Parents are Essential
Early childhood development happens not only at school but also in the home. It is important for the parents to know what their children are doing at school and try to practice it at home. I have seen time and time again how important parent involvement is when it comes to their child’s development in reading, writing, and math. It is also important for parents to understand the social and emotional growth that their child is undergoing at school. The teacher can aid in this by informing the parents of anything notable in their child’s performance or behavior so that the parents have a role as well. Developing a relationship based on trust and openness will benefit the child, the parents, and you when it comes to achieving the goals that are essential before starting kindergarten.
Teaching pre-kindergarten can be very fast paced but it is imperative that among all the work that’s put in there is also some fun too. Developing strong relationships with your students and fellow classroom teachers can lessen the load and make for a rewarding experience. These are just a few tips geared toward the pre-kindergarten environment, but I believe some of these tips can be applied to any age classroom.