New classroom of children

Okay, maybe I should have posted this a few weeks ago; bad timing on my part. Many preschools are starting this week; those that are academic year. And one issue that always needs to be addressed is this: How do I set up the classroom before I know the children?

How do you make sure that there is enough interesting things to do for everyone, but that's not overwhelming? How can I make sure that each child has something that they are interested in so that they will be less apt to cry when mom leaves the room? How can I get them interested in something? Not only that, but how do I get ALL 24 INTERESTED IN SOMETHING?

It's not an easy task. It's daunting! You have no idea who these children are. But, you do know one thing: each classroom has "one of those" children. Translate "one of those" children into:

One of those who loves cars
One of those who loves dinosaurs
One of those who loves dress up
One of those who loves puzzles
One of those who reads books all day long
One of those who is active
One of those who is quiet
One of those who need one on one
One of those who needs to touch; is very tactile
One of those who hates to get messy
One of those who........(fill in the blank)

So, set up something for everyone. Make sure you have books about cars, dinosaurs, princesses, etc...

Put out farm and jungle animals in the block area; along with the large cars.

At the art center, do car painting, have crayons, markers, paintbrushes. Have it all!

In the sensory table put in birdseed and spoons, cups, small funnels. Add some small treasures like buttons, jewels, or other items to find in the birdseed.

Put some shaving cream on the table with table building blocks and small cars.

Make sure to have princess dresses in dramatic play; plenty of baby dolls and play food in housekeeping; and stuffed animals all around.

Even though you don't know the children, you know the children. There may be one that doesn't fit the mold, but when he or she comes in, take out what he likes.

If possible, poll the parents before hand. Have a questionnaire that gets filled out by the parents while they are enrolling that asks what they are interested in. What is their favorite thing to play with? What is their favorite food?

Make sure there is something for everyone. Will there still be a lot of crying? Yes! But having something for everyone will make the first day much more likely to be a success. Make sure to have everything available that first week. After that, then start to fine tune the curriculum accordingly.

For those of you who run a year round program and have children starting one at a time randomly throughout the year, make sure to have something special for that new child on their first day. This goes for children new to the center as well as those who are transitioning from the younger classrooms. Make them want to come back. Make each child feel like you did everything just for him or her. They will all want to come back because here they feel special.

No comments: