Large group activities in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 7, 2010

in Classroom Management, large group activities, The Value of Play

Having all the children work together as a large group can prove to be a very positive experience.

Together we communicate and create!

Together we cooperate and collaborate!

We explore...

We compare....

We work independently...

And we share!

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1 Karen Nemeth July 7, 2010 at 1:28 am

Hi! You know, usually I advise against large group activities in classrooms with multiple languages, but I can see the value of these examples. I’m really glad you shared these. The problem with different languages in a whole group lesson in preschool is that the teacher can’t connect with each individual child to be sure what they are learning from the experience and the children who speak other languages get ‘lost in the sauce’. But, that’s a concern when teachers try to force whole group teacher-directed lessons on the class. When children can share in a big art project like the example here, this would give the children plenty of time to explore, to observe each other’s discoveries and to chatter with each other for some great home language experiences. These examples give me some new thoughts about how a big art experience lets diverse children ‘explore, collaborate, communicate and create’!

2 Deborah J. Stewart July 7, 2010 at 1:38 am

Thank you Karen for your thoughtful comments. I share your concern about finding the right approach to whole group activities. I enjoyed watching both classes as they relaxed and played together. In a sense, this was not about the art as much as it was about spending time together and sharing a common experience in the process. I hope others will read your comment above – I appreciate your thoughts immensely.

3 Anna July 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

I try to do at least one large group art activity for every unit we cover. The kids love working with each other on a big project and the language that goes on is awesome!

4 Teacher Tom July 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

I see large group activities as the most important thing we do at our school. Learning to work together, to learn from one another, to be able to say “Look what we did,” rather than “Look what I did,” is why we educate children in groups. I’ve found that large group activities tend accelerate learning in a way that one-on-one or small group activities simply can’t.

Thanks for this post, Deborah!

5 Deborah J. Stewart July 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Thank you Tom – I always value your perspective. I too find large group to provide many benefits. I think it is all in the approach. I also find that when all the children sit together doing something interesting and engaging, they will spend more time at it.

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