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- Who they work well with
- Their favorite types of lessons
- Their favorite in-class activities
- Which kinds of exercises help them remember key lesson points
Note their answers to come up with activities and approaches that engage them, thereby limiting classroom disruptions.
Preschool Behavior Management Best Practices
Preschool behavior management is a prerequisite for teachers looking to make the classroom an effective and positive learning environment. When done right, behavior management strategies reduce disruptions caused by challenging behaviors. It also encourages prosocial behaviors that support childrens social-emotional development and promotes skills such as conflict resolution, self-regulation, and peer collaboration.
But implementing behavior plans for preschoolers can be difficult when dealing with 20 or more children between the ages of three and five, or when you have limited preschool behavior management strategies under your belt. This age group has seemingly boundless energy and is rapidly exploring and learning.
While achieving success in the classroom can be challenging, it doesn’t mean you cant do it. Weve put together the below guide to illustrate the best behavior management strategies for preschool.
Follow The Kids From Time To Time
Speaking of being diverted, Cole says there are times to put the plan aside when you can tell it would be beneficial for your students.
One time I found that all my students had abandoned my circle and had gotten interested in playing under the table. So I got under the table with them. That’s where we continued class.
Whether its 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.
Recommended Reading: Rainforest Lesson Plans For Preschool
What Is Preschool Classroom Management
Preschool classroom management is practices and methods that teachers can use to manage their student’s behaviors and create a healthy classroom environment. As a preschool teacher, it’s important to focus on reinforcing appropriate behaviors by offering rewards and positive feedback to young students. It’s useful for teachers to adopt a variety of classroom routines, teaching methods and education techniques to have effective leadership.
Why Is Classroom Management Important
A well-managed classroom with attentive and orderly kids gives teachers peace of mind. But much more than that, its the environment kids need to be at their best. When your preschool classroom is organized, its a place where kids can learn and grow cognitively, socially and emotionally without disruptions. That means better outcomes and happier kids.
Preschool classroom management strategies are also crucial to ensuring child safety. Running and other disruptive behaviors present a safety hazard in the classroom. When kids are always where you expect them to be, with their hands to themselves and moving steadily, you can supervise them closely, prevent accidents and stop conflict before it starts.
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What Are Additional Ways To Implement Behavior Management Strategies
Children are attuned to both verbal and nonverbal communication. As a preschool teacher, you need to ensure that your nonverbal communication is as strong as your verbal. Effective body language can go a long way in helping you maintain a calm atmosphere in the classroom and in creating a positive learning environment. There are several ways you can convey positivity through your body language in preschool, which includes getting down to a childs level, smiling , making eye contact, and using warm facial expressions. Your verbal communication should be positive, and strong. Children should know youre in charge but should also feel safe and cared for. Neither yelling at children in preschool nor shaming them is appropriate.
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. Its important to have a plan for these transitions.
Harvey suggests using a countdown as part of your plan so children are ready to move on when the time comes. Announcing that youre going to countdown from 10 to one before moving on to the next activity will help children feel prepared for the transition.
Drift time can be hard for children, so having a solid plan with no gaps is definitely a must according to Cole. It’s not that teachers can’t improvise or be diverted, only that there should never be a time when the teacher doesn’t have an option for something to do.
How Do You Handle Challenging Behaviors In Preschool
Destructive behavior can negatively impact a classroom and must be dealt with. If you frame destructive behavior as connection-seeking rather than attention-seeking, it will impact how you handle it.
First, any physical altercations need to be addressed immediately. Firmly say, No then attend to the child who was attacked to ensure there are no injuries. Take the aggressor aside and remind him or her why the behavior was inappropriate. Use phrases like, Hands are for helping to reiterate the positive, expected behavior.
If a child is intentionally making a mess, ensure that they are responsible for cleaning it up as a natural consequence of their actions.
Once the disruptive behavior is addressed, here are a few things you can do:
Evaluate what led up to the behavior. Is there a pattern you can learn from?
If the same child always acts out, try to find triggers by looking at what led to their behavior and where they were when it happened. Then, take the appropriate measures to curb that behavior.
Keep parents informed when destructive behavior becomes a pattern. You should discuss what tools can be implemented reinforced at home to curb the behavior.
When do disruptive behaviors become causes for concern?
Noncompliance, temper tantrums and some aggression are all pretty normal and common among preschoolers. However, sometimes, these issues can reach problematic level, and they may be signs of something more serious.
Loses temper often
Helping Kids Calm Down
These calm-down strategies are the perfect way to ensure successful classroom management throughout the day.
Grab some playdough and balloons and make some wacky sacks kids can squeeze when theyre feeling anxious. // Somewhat Simple
Give kids a DIY calm down jar. // Preschool Inspirations
Have kids color in a coloring book or practice handwriting.
If you have a student who likes to wiggle, have him try sitting on a stability cushion.
Have the class take a break and read a book out loud to them. Dimming the lights and letting kids lay down can help take their energy down another notch too.
Make a squishy marble maze. // Therapy Fun Zone
When kids feel angry, have them count to ten out loud.
All Behavior Is Communication
Teachers must remember that challenging behavior among preschoolers is always an attempt to communicate something and therefore you should always consider the why of the behavior, not just the what. Observe what triggers students to act in undesired ways and provide the support needed to address them. Often these include transitions and occur when routines in the classroom are lacking or disrupted, or when overall classroom management is lacking.
Tip#3 Establish Classroom Rules
As a class, discuss what the rules of the classroom should be. Develop rules that foster respect, caring and community within the preschool classroom.
Again, make the expectations for behaviour clear at the beginning of the year. Continue to review and reinforce the rules. On a regular basis, ask the children if they believe the rules are being followed and whether or not you need to update them.
Post the class rules in a visible location in the classroom. It is easy to relax a bit as the year moves along. You dont have to be mean you just need to mean it. When you ask a child to stop doing something that they know is one of the classroom rules, but you dont follow through, you are telling them that it doesnt actually matter.
Example: Sit criss-cross apple sauce while on the carpet , raise our hands and wait until it is our turn to speak , keep our hands to ourselves .
Cater To Different Learning Styles
There are many types of learning styles that students may prefer. Be sure to create lesson plans that cater to various styles, so that students feel included and engaged in the activity. For example, if you create a learning activity that teaches students about shapes, consider using visual elements, like pictures of shapes, and auditory elements, like a song that teaches them about various shapes. Here are the three common learning styles that preschoolers may prefer:
Auditory: This learning style involves activities that allow students to listen, like hearing directions or listening to a lesson.
Kinesthetic: Learning that involves physical activities, like touching and feeling materials, is a kinesthetic learning style.
Visual: This learning style involves showing students visuals, or using visual aids, to teach students.
Gamify Personal Learning Plans
Motivate students on personal learning plans by gamifying those plans, as studies such as recent research from South Korea indicate this will continuously engage and incentivize them.
Consider gamification strategies such as:
- Adjusting your scoring system — Give experience points — along with traditional scores — on tests and assignments, setting a goal for the student to reach a certain amount of XP per unit. For example, if a student scores 60% on a quiz, give him or her 6,000 XP. You can also award XP for completing extra assignments, participating in class or anything else that shows effort to learn.
- Using stages — Refer to topics and units as stages. The former terms have clear connotations for you, but students may not see how they fit together. If theyre gamers, theyll understand that reaching the next stage requires overcoming precursory challenges. Emphasize this by framing certain tasks as prerequisites to reach the next learning stage.
If these strategies work especially well for individual students, you should see similar success by using them as class-wide student management techniques.
Tip #6 Celebrate With The Children
Try to have an occasional classroom party to acknowledge students hard work. This will help to keep them motivated to succeed. It is a known fact that having a pajama day at school is the best thing since sliced bread!
Get your preschoolers to come up with a list of special days that they could work towards earning every month or two. It is amazing what they will come up with!
Examples: Crazy hat day, pajama day, movie/popcorn day, or bring a game to school day. Consider having a student of the day who gets to bring something from home to share. This student could also be the daily greeter offering everyone a Hello! and high five or hug at the door.
Center Time Management Clips
Management during centers is so important for our little learners. No matter what system you use, its important for students to know the expectations for the classroom centers and center time. Our center time was an hour each day, which is a huge block of time for students to play and learn!
In my classroom, I have five centers: library, blocks, pretend, art, and discovery . Each center has a symbol and a color. The art center is red and the symbol is paint splatters. Each center can have three students at a time, which is why there are three clips on each center. Once the clips are gone, that center is full and the student needs to pick another center to go to.
At the beginning of the year, I teach about and introduce each center using books. I spend time during center time to introduce each center and the materials in each center. This sets the stage for the rest of the year because now students know the name of each center, what materials are in each center, and the expectations for each center! There are fewer problem behaviors and fewer students wandering around. If center time is not going well in your classroom, take a week and reintroduce each center. Trust me, its a game-changer!
Read all about how I manage and introduce each center in this Center Time Management Blog Post or watch the .
That was a ton of information so dont forget the handy handout that summarizes all my tips! Click below to download the FREE Classroom Management Handout HERE.
Offer Different Types Of Free Study Time
Provide a range of activities during free study time to appeal to students who struggle to process content in silence, individually.
You can do this by dividing your class into clearly-sectioned solo and team activities. In separate sections, consider:
- Providing audiobooks, which can play material relevant to your lessons
- Maintaining a designated quiet space for students to take notes and complete work
- Creating a station for challenging group games that teach or reinforce standards-aligned skills
- Allowing students to work in groups while taking notes and completing work, away from quiet zones
Moving Beyond Behavior Charts
One classroom management alternative to behavior charts is a 4 Cs approach, which asks teachers to adopt a system of belief that presumes good intent and to explicitly share that belief with preschoolers.
1. Compassionate curiosity: Compassionate curiosity is a practice that comes from trauma-informed teaching. It asks teachers to act as nonjudgmental investigators to better understand whats going on in the minds and lives of students. The more youre willing to recognize there are things you dont know about your students experience or what theyre feeling, the more able you are to see behavior as a reflection of those feelings.
To exercise compassionate curiosity, instead of reacting to behavior you can try pausing, asking caring questions like, Is there something important on your mind today? and then listening to the answers with your full attention.
Preschoolers may not always be able to fully verbalize the answer to your questions. In giving them your full attention, you will likely also observe nonverbal cues that can provide insight.
2. Collaboration: Compassionate curiosity leads well into building a collaborative classroom. Students who know youll be curious instead of furious are more likely to feel comfortable showing you who they are, what they know, and what they want to learn more about. Investing the time and effort to get to know who students are provides them with an incentive to invest in the classroom.
Collaboration can look like:
Build Up Excitement For Lesson Plans
You dont have to rely solely on the textbook when it comes to constructing lesson plans. Encourage the notion of giving out group work, fun videos, and games to help your students learn more about their lessons. Each student follows a different learning preference, so its best to promote activities that promote each learning style. This will help bring a more balanced form of learning for everyone to participate in and go beyond a purely-lecture relationship.
Another way to help them stay engaged is by giving them an outline beforehand about what to expect. Preface it by saying, Throughout the day, youll learn about and spin the topic in a fun light as much as possible. In the end, you can even give out what group activity will be held so theyll have that within their heads. This will help dissuade them to misbehave and keep them engaged and expectant over the topics to come.
Helpful Tips To Help You Manage A Preschool Classroom
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In a preschool classroom, it’s useful for students to have effective management to help them follow routines and complete tasks. Teachers may use a variety of techniques to influence their students’ behavior and create a positive environment. If you’re a preschool teacher, learning different classroom management techniques may help you provide valuable guidance to your students. In this article, we provide a list of preschool classroom management tips to help you lead your class.
Help Them Learn To Be Flexible
A lot of kindergarten classroom management time is spent getting kids into a routine. But what happens when the routine is interrupted? Fire drills, weather delays, school assemblies, guest speakers all of these things and more can disrupt a school routine in no time flat. How do you prepare your kiddos to deal with these disruptions?
One good way to is talk in advance about anything you can predict. Practice emergency drills in your classroom, before they need to participate school-wide. Try mixing up your routine on a fairly regular basis, too move counting practice from before lunch to the end of the day have storytime on the playground instead of the classroom carpet. Teach kids to roll with the punches, because life is definitely full of surprises.
Learn more:Pocket of Preschool
Classroom Management Tips And Tricks For Early Childhood
Lets chat about the hardest thing in the classroom. Classroom management. Implementing a behavior management system that has day-to-day structure and addresses challenging student behaviors is imperative for success. Creating a caring classroom environment with visual supports, classroom routines, intentionally teaching social skills, and effective planning are critical to effective classroom management. Then the learning can occur.
Here is a FREE handout with my top classroom management tips with tons of resources linked if you would like to learn more or grab a printable. Click Below to download the FREE Classroom Management Handout.