Just thinking about it gives me chills.
I used to wake up DREADING the day, and praying the class caught a case of pink-eye...or chicken pox...
Luckily for me, our preschool had enrolled in a Quality First program funded by First Things First of Arizona. First Things First is a God-send to the preschool community! They provide invaluable resources and funding that we otherwise would suffer without! Check out there website here.
Quality First hooked us up with a coach, and the coach hooked us up with another program called Smart Support. Smart Support, in turn, gave us a consultant to come and observe the classroom. We had several meetings about what behavior we wanted to address, and the Smart Support consultant helped me learn more about transitions, classroom visuals, teaching friendship skills, teaching about feelings, and "calm-down" techniques.
If you have never heard of the following website, please check it out! It has some great resources, including scripted stories, a solution kit, classroom visuals, etc...
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
I realized that the kids were never to blame...seven out of control crazies meant that I needed to breathe, roll up my sleeves, and change my outlook on classroom management.
Things that I have learned so far:
- If you want a class that will follow directions, respect each other, and be able to self regulate, you need to control the environment.
|Contact paper over visuals to keep them from getting damaged by curious little hands.|
Classroom visuals are a great for making a classroom more organized and welcoming for a young child. They help make the environment a safe, predictable place. There are many ways to make use of them in your classroom:
- Art Displays (which are a source of pride for children. They are even better when they don't look like everyone else's!)
- Picture Schedule
|An example of a picture schedule. You can substitute the computer generated images with real photographs of classroom activities.|
- Classroom Rules
- Photo Albums
- Labels, labels, labels!
|The foot prints help children know where to stand for line-up time. This helps make them familiar with colors, and is a apart of the daily routine.|
- You, as a teacher, do NOT need to be in control at all times...
Yes, because we need to let children make decisions about where they will play, what they will create, and how they will do it. I started keeping all classroom centers open. I let children take toys from one center to another. I put out more art supplies to be available at all times.
No, it doesn't mean that children have free rein of the classroom.
They still have to follow rules, respect each other, and keep a clean classroom. They still have to wash their hands, and make safe choices. The teacher doesn't fade into oblivion, but rather, the role of "teacher" changes into that of a facilitator of early learning.
My circle time has changed dramatically. It's been cut short to 15 minutes--sometimes longer and sometimes shorter, depending on interest level. I stopped sitting in a chair, and joined them on the floor. I don't try to "teach." We sing songs, read stories, play games, and just talk.
I still make time for "teachable" moments, and make use of open-ended comments/ questions. I still act as a resource for comfort in times of need, information in times of new discoveries, and affirmation in times of doubt.
Isn't that why we became teachers in the first place?