Preschool teachers know that when you’re faced with a room full of 3- and 4-year-olds, clear expectations and routines are vital if teaching and learning are going to happen. Implementing preschool classroom management techniques can be a challenge, however, when you’re dealing with 30 high-energy kiddos.
Recently, we spoke with Vicki Gibson, educational consultant and the author of the “We Can” early literacy curriculum.
Here’s what Gibson says are the keys to classroom management in an early childhood setting:
1. Divide and conquer.
Students should spend the majority of their day working in small groups, says Gibson. Dividing students makes it easier for them to stay on task and for you to work on skills one-on-one. Gibson finds that four small groups often work best in a preschool classroom.
2. Rotate, rotate, rotate.
Once you’ve divided students into groups, you can create a rotation chart that shows where each group will be at each time of day and what group members will be working on.
3. Make it visual.
Use students’ pictures in your rotation chart, along with images of your classroom, so that even pre-readers can understand when and where they are supposed to be. It’s “the predictable order from knowing what’s going to happen when…[that] helps kids settle down and get into the groove of learning,” says Gibson.
4. Set up a “teaching table.”
This should be one of the areas in your classroom through which students rotate, says Gibson. The “teaching table” is a place for you to work with children one-on-one on the focus skills of the week. By making this table your home base, students will always know where to find you and when they can expect to have your full attention.
5. Keep learning centers simple.
You don’t need a dozen separate activities to keep students focused and on task. In addition to your teaching table, suggests Gibson, you might have one other table or center where a teaching aide can work with students, and then two more centers for independent activities.
Want more preschool classroom management tips, lesson plans, and tricks? Check here.