Young children are unique creatures who love nothing more than to experience everything from tactile, hands-on items to feeling the wind in their faces as they jump off a wall. They are all about hiding under blankets to see what happens if they walk through the house like a ghost or playing safari and taking pictures with their imaginary camera.
Pre-K teaching strategies include playtime and helping
Play is so vital to the growth and development of children that early childhood education must be geared around structured play and providing the necessary elements of exploration as part of necessary pre-K teaching strategies within the school system.
Education of parents is also very important. It is not uncommon for parents to get frustrated by the constant attitude of play and they ask their children kindly to “grow up.” Until they are seven years old, playtime is how children learn. If they are not having fun, they are not learning or retaining necessary information for their early childhood education.
One aspect of the pre-K teaching strategies that teachers should consider more fully is the fact that children can also find meaningful work within the play structure of early childhood education.
A world of “work” for preschoolers
Providing a nurturing atmosphere in which children can flourish includes allowing them to enter the world of “real work” such as picking up toys, feeding pets and doing simple meal preparation tasks with family supervision. If they are watching adults and siblings work diligently, children will eagerly engage in work as well. Helping activities are a crucial part of early childhood education.
Limiting children from these “work” activities can hinder their developmental progress. Allowing them to explore the satisfaction of accomplishing goals and assisting in the projects that keep a household running smoothly gives them more opportunities to feel the value of their participation and also teaches them how to have a good work ethic. This is invaluable growth and learning time.
Helping activities that help young children develop skills
The following are tasks that children, with appropriate supervision, can accomplish in the home:
Even young children recognize the value of food. They enjoy watching it be prepared and even though they may be too young to prepare it themselves, there are certain tasks a child can claim responsibility for in helping with a meal. Helping shop for food that will be prepared, putting things in the cart, or being allowed to choose a side dish to helps children understand healthy choices as well as where food comes from and how it grows.
From the time a child learns to walk, they are capable of helping to pick up their toys and put them away. In addition, children as young as two can help set the table with napkins and silverware or clear their spot after a meal. During laundry time, and children are excited to run from room to room putting away clean clothes. Dusting is a fun way to swoosh a rag on furniture. There are many ways to keep children occupied and learning while adults finish housework.
Giving a child seeds and helping them plant and care for their own garden is a way to instill wonder and excitement about nature and the science of the world.
Caring for pets
A child learns responsibility and empathy when caring for classroom or household pets. Keeping them watered, fed and walked allows children to take pride in their work.
Helping with younger kids
If a child is no longer the youngest in the family, they can learn how to help their parents with siblings by fetching needed items like diapers, bottles, and rags to clean up a mess. Learning to share and play games that appeal to the younger child also build good character.
Supervising young children during structured play
Appropriate supervision for younger children in preparation for early childhood education is necessary for these pre-K teaching strategies to work.
- Set appropriate goals
- Make sure the activities are safe
- Be sure the child has valuable work, not just busy work
- Be patient even when a task is taking longer with a “helper”