1) Know the developmental level of your students - 1 and 4 year olds learn very differently
2) Know how to increase their vocabulary - books, books, books and talking to them constantly without using "baby" language
3) Read up on their emotional levels too - there's a reason the two year old believes standing directly in front of the TV is a fantastic idea.
4) Have something planned for them to do.and then live by the moment when necessary...if everyone's having a bad or good day then switch gears and do it. Even high school teachers are expected to do it.respond to children
5) Do provide some structure during the day...routines It doesn't mean that you'll never be able to change things but don't reinvent the wheel every day
6) Be huggable to every child and high five's are more than welcome ... parent substitute, please
7) Talk to the parents in advance...keep them updated A lot of parents are so crazy with stress they'll do whatever you are doing. Letting them know what's expected of them in advance relives the stress and make you appear to be the good guy in their lives (ie Don't tell them that need diapers, wipes and a change of clothes for tomorrow morning at 6pm on Thursday...when you could have given them a heads up on Tuesday.)
8) Go in there with the idea that you are the caregiver for their child and they are paying you for it. Try to interrupt their day very, very seldom for behavior problems.
9) It gets better..your first day is likely to be CRAZY the second week gets much better and by two months you'll feel like a pro
Wow. Elisabeth S had some great ideas!!
One thing I can add to that is: Be excited about what you are doing! My 5 yr old's Kindergarten Teacher is excited about teaching a new set of kids this year, and it, in turn, got us excited about the school year starting.
Have fun--let the kids see the kid side of you--be patient--be creative--be adaptable--be flexible--remember they are only children and this is your opportunity to teach them sooo many new things. You are helping form their personalities and moral system and preparing them for a life long love of school and learning!
Learn as many preschool songs as you can, and sing them with the kids, often!
I used songs for transitions - clean up song, lining up chant, walking in a line down the hall song, welcome song, goodbye song, handwashing song. You name it, we had it. Just make stuff up. Change the words to the tunes the kids already know. Ask coworkers for their songs.
Elizabeth nailed a lot of ideas on the head. I'd like to add to it a little.
--Have Parent Education Nights. Once you're settled into the school year, find a group of parents, have some pop, juice and snacks, then discuss what topics would interest them. Research those topics and think about how to present them and discuss them to parents in an hour time period. Some topics we did that were successes included personality types. Parents would figure out their children's personality type then have to figure out their own. A lot of parents saw why they often had trouble dealing with their children--they were simply 2 different types of personalities and they learned how to make some adjustments while dealing with their kid. Another hot topic was letting the parents come in and work in the classroom.
--Structure. This is the most important thing. Make sure you know exactly what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. Make sure everything is set up before the class starts. When a child senses you're thinking through your next step too much, they see it as you don't know what to do next, so they might as well goof off since you have nothing else coming up. ALWAYS plan for more time than you need in case the time you do plan for goes more quickly. As time goes on, this will be easier since you can just think in a split second, "I can continue with this lesson I gave last year." It's harder the first year or so.
--Practical Life. Teach the children how to do things they will do at home. Teach them how to zip up their own coat on a coat hanger. Teach them how to wash tables. Teach them washing dishes. Have a floor sweeper so they can clean up their messes. Have child size brooms, mops, and other cleaning supplies. Teach them how to set the table. Teach them how to make their own snacks. Children at this age LOVE this stuff. I think my mom got upset when I left preschool because I did not want to do the dishes or vacuum the floor any more. LOL
An important thing with that is to not rush them through the process. If they want to spend an hour washing 1 bowl, let them.
But parents are always suprised when they see their children starting to take SOME responsibility at home to clean.
There are but a few simple concepts to enable you to be an effective teacher in a preschool.
1. To be child focused - listen to the children, they will provide you with endless information, to guide you in the next step as to what they can learn. Know each child individually, and teach them according to their abiltiy and learning style, whether it be auditory, visual or kinaesthetically.
2.To be constantly working on your own professional development - no matter how much you think you know, and how effective you are as a teacher, there is always more that you can learn. Use the internet to search for new ideas, take inservice training, develop a network of people in the industry to bounce ideas/knowledge off.
3. To work hard to develop a cohesive environment - work hard to develop strong relationships with the staff you work with to present a united and consistent approach to the way you endeavour to teach the children.
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