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Why Start Now?
While many people are not aware of it, preschool is actually the perfect time and place to start building the self-esteem of a young child! In today's world it is never too early to instill in them the power of a positive attitude and the importance of having self confidence. Here is a look at some different ways to build self-esteem preschool teachers can use in their classroom.
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Show Them Their Strengths
One of the first things teachers should do is to look for each child's strengths and praise them when appropriate! Their strengths do not have to be big accomplishments but can be as small as seeing that a child has a giving personality or that they show promise in a certain area such as music or art.
While it may not seem as though they are paying attention, children of this age will soak up that praise and will become more confident in other areas of their life as they get older. They will begin to identify themselves in a positive way in the areas for which they are praised, and it will just encourage them to grow in other parts of their lives.
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Children of this age group often have a hard time paying attention or it may take several times for them to catch onto something. For example while one preschooler may have no problem learning their ABC's, another preschooler may not learn them as quickly. This can be the cause of frustration not only for the teacher but for the preschooler as well.
Instead of giving into the frustration, teachers should be encouraging. Smile at the preschooler and be sure to let them know they can succeed and that they are doing a great job trying. Encouraging the child is imperative as it will help give them the strength to keep trying till they do succeed. When they are finally accomplish something, teachers should be sure to praise them thoroughly.
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One of the most common yet biggest mistakes that will get in the way of building self-esteem occurs when a preschooler is compared to someone else. It is easy to compare their work, actions or other developments to those of their classmates, but this should be avoided. No two children are alike!
When a preschooler is compared to one of his or her peers it makes them feel as though they are not "good enough." Even at this early age, preschoolers will begin to do their own comparisons and notice the difference between themselves and their classmates. Instead of comparing the child to his or her classmates praise them on their own individuality and what makes them special. This will teach the child that they have their own unique attributes and encourage them to view themselves in a positive light.
Have a class activity that focuses on each child's special qualities.
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Be the Role Model
Last but not least, one of the best ways to help build up a child's confidence and boost their self-esteem is by being a good role model. When a child sees a person such as their teacher, parent, aunt or uncle showing confidence and being happy in their own skin, it encourages them to be happy with themselves as well. Kids this age love to mimic adults and really take in all that they see and feel. By being a good role model and acting comfortable and proud of one's self, the child will see this and learn that they too, can have the same confidence and strength to be their own person as they grow.
Lorcher, Trent. How to Improve Self-Esteem, in Bright Hub Education, at http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/3543.aspx
Edwards, Laurie, Self Esteen, in Education.com, at http://www.education.com/magazine/article/preschool-self-esteem/