Each photo below will take you to a great craft recipe that you will want to hang onto!
Building independent doers and thinkers is one of the goals of early childhood education. Snack time is a terrific time to let children learn to do things all by themselves.
We always start off by washing our hands!
Have the children get into the practice of washing hands first and while they are washing hands, set out napkins and cups at one end of a table or on a low shelf. Have the children go and get their own napkin and cup then sit at the snack table.
These children have had lots of practice standing in line and waiting for their turn to pick up a cup and napkin all by themselves.
Once the children sit at the table, they open their napkin big and wide and set their cup on the table. In some classrooms, the children then wait for all of their friends to be seated. The teacher then uses the familiar finger play:
Open-Shut them and give a little clap!
Open-Shut them and lay them in your lap!
This gets all the children to quiet down and helps to start off snack at a moderately low noise level. This also allows the teacher to demonstrate any serving skills the children will need to know and to demonstrate talking with each other using a soft conversational tone rather then shouting to be heard.
The teacher then sets the snack on the table with the appropriate serving utensils and allows the children to serve their own snack. The children then pass the serving dishes to their neighbor. These children have become extremely proficient in manipulating the various types of serving tools. It takes practice to do this well but it doesn’t take long before the students will amaze you with their abilities.
The children are also able to pour their own juice. The teachers fill a pitcher only a quarter of the way full so that the pitcher isn’t too heavy for the children to manage. As needed, the teachers refill the pitcher with more juice. What you don’t see in the photo is the full pitcher of juice sitting on the counter that the teacher uses to refill the student pitchers.
Once the children have served themselves, they are allowed to go right on into eating their snack.
The teachers then sit with the children to role model good manners at the table and to promote polite conversations between the children. The children are much more successful in having a positive snack time experience when the teachers join them rather then run around the classroom doing other things during snack time.
Once snack time is over, the children throw away their own trash and join the teacher on the carpet for a few minutes of after snack story time and singing.
Check out this fun little snack time song!
Available on Amazon
I am fixing this so please check back – the links do work but I have to update pictures!
Here are a few wonderful ideas posted on what you can do with lids in your preschool classroom…
Just click on each picture to see the blog post!
I am fixing this so please check back – the links do work but I have to update pictures!
These are some darling ideas I found online for birds activities you can do with your preschoolers!
Click on each picture to see the Blog Post!
Here is an excellent collection of earth day activities you may want to check out! Click on each picture to see the blog post!
Available on Amazon
I have been preparing for the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) conference that will be held this weekend in downtown Indianapolis.
I will be presenting on:
Friday, April 9th, – 3:15 to 4:30 pm.
I will also be at a presenters booth on:
Friday, April 9th – Booth #114 – Time: 9:00-11:00 am
Saturday, April 10th – Booth #118 – Time: 12:30-2:30
I will be presenting a session on simple music for the preschool classroom. Most of the music and finger plays, but not all, will be ones I have written. I am a strong advocate for using music in the preschool classroom. Music paves the way for so many aspects in the learning environment from classroom management, entertainment, to education.
To prepare for this occasion, I completed my first children’s CD and it finally arrived in the mail today. What fun to open it all up and see all that work nicely set before me.
Click here to learn how you can purchase a copy of my new CD!
There are three key elements that teachers should include in the process of setting boundaries and expectations for young children…
Explain, Rehearse, and Reinforce
These are not my words but the words of K. R. Victor. According to Victor (2001):
Victor’s words reflect my own views of guiding young children to meet expectations only I have used a little bit different terminology.
Let’s take a minute to look at Victor’s ideas…
Helping children understand expectations should be a part of the planning process in the early childhood classroom. Young children need boundaries and guidelines that are age appropriate, reasonable, flexible, and understandable. Guidelines and boundaries are based on teacher expectations as well. In order for children to understand teacher expectations, the teacher needs to include time for teaching expectations in the planning process.
Even for the youngest preschooler, there can be an assumption that the child should already know better. For example, when a preschooler throws a napkin on the floor rather than in the trash, an adult might think that this child just doesn’t care or isn’t a good listener. Instead throwing the napkin in the trash needs to be looked as an expectation to be learned.
It is important to get into the practice of explaining expectations. Children need to be taught what is expected in simple, meaningful, and understandable terms. Just as we plan our lessons to teach the ABC’s or 123″s, we need to devise a plan for teaching expectations rather than just assuming the children should get the idea.
For example: I once had a group of children who would not lay on their cot without kicking their feet in the air. This got to be something that was funny to them and going around cot to cot was simply not effective. As soon as I got one set of feet out of the air, another set of feet popped up. It was like playing the gopher game!
So I decided to plan a lesson on laying down on the cot. My assistant and I took out a kid’s cot and while my assistant gave me simple directions, I laid down on the cot and put my feet down. When my assistant would turn away – I dramatically kicked my feet up in the air. All the children laughed and then my assistant turned around and acted all surprised. She then explained to me why it was very important to keep my feet down and told me how she would be so proud of me if I could remember this rule. So when she turned her back again, I snuggled in with a blanket and bear and went to sleep. My assistant turned around again and gave me huge props for being such a big helper and good listener. The children loved this little play:)
After explaining an expectation to the child, the next step in the process is to rehearse the expectation. The child or children must then practice what was just explained.
For example: The teacher explains how to throw a napkin in the trash; then demonstrates how to throw a napkin in the trash; then lets the child take a turn throwing the napkin in the trash. This allow the teacher to evaluate the child’s understanding of the expectation.
In the cot example above, my assistant and I had each of the children come and show us how to lay down on the cot all snuggly. We made a huge deal out of everyone as they eagerly showed us they understood the expectation.
Once an expectation has been explained and rehearsed, now the expectation can be reinforced. To reinforce an expectation, the teacher can…
Remind the child: “Don’t forget to throw that napkin in the trash can!”
Redirect the child: “Should we put the napkin in the trash can or just leave it on the floor?”
Praise the child: “I noticed you threw the napkin in the trash can all by yourself! That was awesome!”
In the cot example, we carried our message into naptime through a positive and praiseworthy approach. The children found it more appealing to show us how they could keep those legs down. We reinforced the positive results by stating over and over, “you look so peaceful and cuddly on your cot” or “I am so proud of how you remember exactly what to do.
Back to Planning
When you see that an expectation is just not being met then this is sign to start back at the planning stage.
Perhaps time has gone by and the expectation has not been reinforced effectively or perhaps the child just wasn’t developmentally ready to grasp the expectation. It could be that the expectation was simply not age appropriate. Regardless of the reason, when a child is not demonstrating an understanding of an expectation, then it is time to start the process all over again: Explain, Rehearse, Reinforce!
Victor, K. R. (2001) Identifying effective behavior management in the early childhood classroom. B.R.E. Practical Bible College.
There are lots of techniques teachers use to capture the attention of preschoolers.
When needing to get the attention of only one child or a small group of children playing together, it is always more effective just to walk over, bend down close and speak warmly to them. What doesn’t work well? Yelling across the room. Kids learn to tune this out pretty quickly.
I always say if you don’t have eye contact then you really don’t have the child’s attention. If I need the children to stop and listen to my words for a few seconds, I will use a creative technique to get their attention first (which will be described below) and then pause to get eye contact. I might say, “Eyes on me so I can see you listening” and then wait again for just a second.
Waiting too long
I don’t want to exasperate the situation by waiting too long for every student to stop and put their eyes on me. Waiting too long is like putting out fires. The minute you get one set of eyes, you will lose another. So go with the majority of eyes on you and move onto what it is you needed in the first place.
The child that just wont look at me
For this child, I often will walk over while talking to all the other children and gently take his or her hand and have them walk with me while I continue talking to everyone else. I avoid shouting or coming down on the child in front of everyone else. No need for humiliation and the truth is, shouting or harshness really isn’t all that effective – it just creates stress and stress leads to a unhappy learning environment.
The observant child
Have you ever watched an adult lecture a child and just by observing you start to feel uncomfortable? When you decided to come down on one child, the rest of the children may very well feel like they are being punished too. Children are sensitive to your body language, tone of voice, and choice of words whether or not they are target of your frustration. I had one little girl tell me, “I don’t like preschool…. my teacher yells at Nathan…”
It is better and more effective to walk over, make eye contact, and gently address concerns with a child or small group of children personally than to punish the entire class by making a loud scene.
Here are some great suggestions from my fans on Facebook!
I recently posted a request for suggestions on Facebook and here are some of the responses that I found to be extremely creative.