I'm at home losing my mind right now. This is a teacher's worst nightmare. This is so unfair on so many levels. I HATE YOU CORONA VIRUS!! Every single teacher I know is rallying right now; we are all trying to find ways to take our lessons and implement them online. This is a daunting task for many of us who understand a large part of preschool is hands-on activities and social-emotional learning while interacting with peers. How the hell do I replicate that on the internet!?
The new is coming at us fast, so we are trying to keep up. We are dealing with the heartbreak of having our students taken away from us. Those of us who own our businesses are deciding what it means for us going forward. We are watching the rally cries from our professional colleagues from around the US, and waiting to see the fate in which our government deals us.
All I want to do is run my business. All I want to do is teach. All I want to do is be with my children and support my families.
As teachers, I'd like to think of each of us as researchers. We will survive this because the moment we were told NO. We got to work; we started looking for a way around this; we did not take no for an answer. We started researching; we started teaching ourselves new skills. We are finding our way. We are a resilient profession!
I am looking around at my fellow professionals at all levels, and I am proud of them. I appreciate them. These are the people raising our nation's children, helping me to raise my own children, and I see real badasses, true heroes! These are the people teaching my children by modeling hard work and persistence for my children to see! That is a superpower!
I say keep going, you have got this, I am with you, and we are fighting together! Get out there and share your best work, build upon other teachers' toolboxes! Our students need us.
Abby Lazarus, M.Ed.
ECE professional, Advocate. Preschool Owner/Teacher. Bachelors in Child Development. Masters in Early Childhood Studies. Current Doctoral Student.
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Preschoolers need to have consistency between home and school. Right now, with many quarantined within their homes, not able to leave and attend class, these students must continue to do this work at home. Many preschoolers will be registering for Kindergarten in the coming weeks.
As an ECE professional who teaches preschoolers, I already worry about those who leave me in may, graduate preschool, but don't start Kindergarten until the fall. The summer slide is real. I don't want that even earlier in the year for my students.
Here are some of the things preschoolers are working on at school to help prepare them for Kindergarten(and the rest of their lives);
Counting- Once they master 0-10, start working up by tens. When they learn 0-100, start working on skip counting, meaning counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's to 100.
Sorting by color, shape, and size
Identifying their letters (not in order), once they master upper and lower cases, work on letter sounds. When they have learned this begin working on High-Frequency Sight Words
They need to be read to every day, several times a day, throughout the day. Don't just read and be done. They need to talk about the parts of the book and what happened in the book, extend their learning through questions about the book.
Shapes- Not just what we would consider basic shapes; they should know, circle, heart, star, square, rhombus, trapezoid, octagon, hexagon, pentagon, oval, rectangle, semi-circle, triangle, and crescent
Big body play, gross motor skills, fine motor skills
Preschools also need to begin learning independence when it comes to life skills. Dressing one's self, cleaning up after themselves, brushing their teeth, getting there own snack, and peeling or opening it. It's time to STOP doing EVERYTHING for them and encouraging them to do it on their own. Show them and then let them take over. How will they learn if everything is done for them? If you don't, we end up with kids who believe everything should be done for them. Kids who think they can't.
And most important of all, FREE PLAY! Kids need to run around, use their imaginations, and be given a chance to make their own choices. It's OK to play; they NEED to play. They need to learn to occupy themselves and play alone. There is value in playing with others but also in being able to be alone. They need that skill of self conversation. Quiet time for their minds, so that they can be creative.
Abby Lazarus, M.Ed.
Preschool Owner/Teacher. Bachelors in Child Development. Masters in Early Childhood Studies. Current ECE Doctoral student, with over 15 years in the ECE field.
Word of the day in the preschool classroom
Two months ago, we were sitting around eating lunch, waiting on our students for the next class to arrive. When I remembered a thought, I have during the middle of the night ( when I was laying there NOT sleeping) I wanted to increase the vocabulary of our students, introduce them to new words, I thought we could do this with a word of the day. When I remember this, we tried to decide on a fun word we could start with. We, for fun, decided to ask Amazon's Alexa. Boy!, does she have a dark sense of humor! She suggested defenestration. If you are not sure what that means, it is "to throw someone or something out a third-story window." It gave us a good laugh, but we were not about to teach that to a bunch of preschoolers!
We asked her for another word; this time, she came up with Brobdingnagian. Meaning, something or someone of colossal size, humongous. We went with this word because it was fun and a bit ridiculous to say. THEY LOVED IT!! It was a great way to start the word of the day. Not only did the kids find it great, but the parents were also thrilled. We even asked them through our social media account to help us find some fun new words to introduce to the kids.
This has been great for all of us involved. Now, we aren't perfect. We don't do a new word EVERYDAY. Honestly, sometimes things just don't go our way, and we have to wait to introduce a day's word on another day because time has passed us by or the kids have gone nuts, and we are barely holding things together.
We write the word of the day on our big whiteboard just inside the door so that parents can step in and see what the word is for the day and continue to use it at home.
Bring something new and simple to your classroom! Increase your students' vocabulary and have fun with it!
There is no magic age to begin writing with your preschoolers. Children will show you the signs; it is your job to know the signs. They need to demonstrate readiness and desire. We want to make writing fun. We also want to make it relevant to them., as teachers, we usually begin with the student's name. Beginning with their name helps them to start to recognize letter names.
At this age, we are still seeing them develop; they're fine motor skills that are necessary for holding writing utensils for more extended amounts of time. We can increase student writing skills through planned fine motor activities and experiences, such as play with clay, legos, stringing beads on pipe cleaners, and using scissors.
When young children are learning to write, we often use the term emergent writing. For more information on emergent writing, I suggest you read the following article by NAEYC.
Here are the signs you need to know to support your preschoolers who are ready to write:
Things to keep in mind:
Starting to teach writing to early can discourage writing and be harmful to the student. If it is too hard for them, they will form this stigma about writing, and it could deter them from wanting to write even as they grow older and have become ready.
Letter reversals are typical until about the age of 7.
Writing is not easy. Be a writing role model. Write often and let them watch your movements.
Articles I have found helpful in the past when researching supportive writing techniques:
Abby Lazarus, M.Ed.
Current Doctoral Student. Masters in Early Childhood Studies. Bachelors in Child Development. ECE professional for 15 years.