Counting children in preschool should really count

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on March 10, 2011

in Classroom Management, Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers

Often times teachers only think of counting their students when they are headed out on a field trip or going outdoors to play. But getting into the habit of counting children should start even when you are in the classroom all day!

Here are a few tips for keeping safe track of your students…

  • Keep a folder or clipboard with a checklist of names of each of your students on it.
  • Before leaving one room to go to another, look at each child’s face as you count him or her and place a check mark beside his or her name.
  • Count the total number of children before leaving one location to go to another and before returning from one location to go to another.
  • Walk backwards and face the children as you lead them from one place to another so you can make sure no child decides to stop and fix a shoe or runs off for any reason at all.
  • If you have more than one teacher, place one teacher at the front of the line and another teacher at the back of the line – keep all the children between the two of you.


  • If you are going on a field trip, be sure to bring your master checklist of names and know exactly how many students and adults you have going on the trip.
  • Recruit extra adult volunteers to help you keep a low child to adult ratio.
  • Assign each adult a specific number of children and give each adult a checklist with the names on it that they will be in charge of.
  • Count the number of children before leaving any building and before getting on the bus or in a car and count often all throughout your trip.

We have all heard the stories of a child who was left behind on a field trip, left on a bus, or a child who walked out of a childcare building and was found walking in the middle of the road – I read that in the news.

Don’t take counting children lightly…

Count, Count, and Count again – a child’s life just may count on it!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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