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Teaching Preschool or Daycare: Planning For Success

written by: Carole Bruzzano • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 8/2/2012

Smart planning is a key to a successful school year even in the preschool and daycare years. Carefully chosen activities and efficient classroom setup support achievement. Use this guide to find information to make this year with your students a social and academic learning success.

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    Starting At An Early Age

    Teaching daycare and preschool makes you, the teacher, a critical person in a child's life. These formative years impress in the students' young minds whether they can succeed in the academic environment.

    To ensure academic success, proper planning is needed. Teaching interpersonal skills, basic letter and number skills, and applying these skills throughout the school year is the recipe for success. Use this table of contents to find the resources to plan for your successful school year or implement lessons and ideas into your existing plan.

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    The Toddler Classroom

    Early childhood education teachers require knowledge of their students' development stage. Knowing about the general needs of this age group greatly influences the day-to-day decisions regarding instruction and environment.

    Read the articles presented here to ensure preparation for your early childhood group of students. Preparation serves as one of the most proactive steps to take for ensuring a successful school year with your young students.

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    Sharing Lessons

    At this young age, students learn to share with others. The daycare and preschool class setting is the perfect opportunity for teaching children to share. The focus on self at this young age may lead to struggles between students during the school day. However, proactive planning includes teaching good habits early.

    Use the lessons here to conduct read-alouds with your students and follow up with activities to put sharing into practice. Alternatively, try the interactive activities that follow the story-based sharing lessons presented here. It's never too early to teach positive interpersonal skills and habits.

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    Manners Lessons

    Breakfast, snack and lunchtime do not have to be a challenge. Keep the proactive attitude this school year; use table time to teach manners. Other opportunities for teaching manners can be used throughout the school day. Teach and then model. Seeing is believing for these little minds. Teachers' actions greatly affect students' learning at this young age.

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    Making Friends Lessons

    Your young students may have little time outside of the classroom to interact with their same-aged peers. Utilize this time to teach students how to make and keep friends.

    This section offers fun lessons to use in your classroom. Use these lessons to teach and to explore the idea of making friends. Be sure to model the behaviors taught and recognize students who are using positive social skills with their peers. Students are sure to remember what you did and said when making friends with their classmates.

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    Alphabet Skills

    Your students learn to identify letters by sight and sound in the early daycare and preschool years. Use the activities presented here to support and encourage students' mastery of sight and sound recognition. They are sure to master the basics with these engaging, age-appropriate activities.

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    Teaching Students Their Names

    The first words students are able to recognize is usually their names. Use these activities to assist students with recognizing and writing their names as they learn to identify and recognize sounds for the letters of the alphabet.

    Use the last activity in this section, "Writing after Name Recognition," once your students are able to recognize and identify their own written names.

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    Number Skills

    Numbers are fun! Use the lessons in this section to teach students the basic identification of numbers and skills such as counting and differentiating between big and small. Students are sure to enjoy these activities while mastering the number basics with these fun activities.

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    Health and Body Lessons

    Just as important as social skills, letter recognition, and number sense is students' awareness of personal hygiene and the body. Keep your students alert to staying germ free. Use the lessons here to minimize the spread of germs. Also included are early childhood lessons on body parts. It's a perfect introduction to health and science in the early preschool years.

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    Transitioning Between Activities

    Lessons and activities throughout the school day usually determine the extent to which a teacher feels confident in achieving the learning and social goals set out for the students for the day. Transitioning between activities often disrupts the flow of segments if it isn't done properly for this age group. Use the following ideas for ensuring your transitions are smooth from start to finish, and be certain your day equals a job well done!

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    Preparing Students For Their School Career

    The daycare and preschool years serve as important life experiences for a child. These are the years that set a positive or a negative impression in a child's mind regarding education, the classroom environment, and learning. Using age-appropriate activities in an environment designed for this young age group increases the chances that impressions will be lasting and positive.

    Make the most of each day with proactive planning, patience and smart age-appropriate activities. A positive impression of learning is sure to stay with them as they venture out of the preschool years and into their elementary education.