Lesson Plans for Preschool

Young child playing at ease in a squatting pos...
Young child playing at ease in a squatting position (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Shane Huh Calibo

You've finished the research. You've got your templates. You've incorporated the age-appropriate standards. And you've even included practical games to illustrate each concept in a practical way.

So why doesn't little Rita seem to get it?

Well, to state it truthfully: Little Rita is not "standard". Nor is Carter, Ashley, or Josh.

Because every toddler has her own incredibly one-of-a-kind personality, diversions, ability levels and learning skills, your lesson plan could be misfiring by not taking into account these vital learning dynamics.

You're instructing with the correct syllabus, but it's based on averages and common denominators in the child population. And Rita is not a common denominator. She might be strong in one area and weak in the next. She may well be captivated for an hour when you read her a story, but she can't seem to listen carefully for more than 3 minutes when you pull out the abacus.

It will take more time than usual to adapt your academic curriculum to all of Rita's various concerns and idiosyncrasies, but in the end it is all worth it! You know that she is enthralled by puppies, and she begs to go see them any time you drive by the pet store.

She takes off her shoes and socks so fast and so frequently that you've taken to calling her your "barefoot princess." She's viewed "Spy Kids" 20 times, talks by speaking into her secret agent Mickey Mouse watch, and dashes around the house with your sunglasses and a flashlight.

You've also noticed that she has a fairly short attention span and seems to glaze over when you start counting and discussing numbers. And you've seen her spell out easy words like "big" and "bat" with her letter blocks, at the same time as singing the alphabet song.

This is all very vital information to allow for as you educate her. Already you have the data to try some somewhat unconventional instruction:

•Count her little barefoot toes on one foot, and then on the other. Then ask her to do the same. Then count all her toes and ask her to do the same.
•Provide her some paper and colored pencils and ask her to draw a puppy with eight spots on it.
•Put on your sunglasses and a hat, call it your Secret Agent Hat, and in a Secret Agent-style whisper, ask her to search for objects around the house that start with the letter "A."

Well done! You have now made studying much easier for Rita because you made it exciting - for HER.

But to really nail it, take it one step further: Start!Begin to proactively OBSERVE, LISTEN, and ASSESS each time you can. This will allow you to establish other unique qualities such as her sensitivity level, strengths, and weaknesses, along with her social and cognitive levels.

Remember how her eyes welled up when she answered "five" to the 2 2 problem? What does that indicate about her personality and sensitivity? It's not uncommon for a child's learning gift to shut down for at least a few minutes after what she may believe to be a painful failure. So maybe, just maybe, our reaction and interaction technique is what's holding the child back!

Instead of saying that the answer is four, not five, how about simply asking her to draw it out on a piece of paper so that she can find out by herself that she fell short? Now EVERYONE can have an A-ha moment - and learn and retain that math lesson at the same time.

Don't stop observing and evaluating all of your child's behaviors, and be truthful with what's in front of you. One of the chief mistakes we make as parents and teachers is generalizing a child's capabilities based on a few incidents.

"Rita's a great speller", "Rita's shy", or "Rita doesn't like math" are harmful declarations not only because Rita may actually overhear you saying them, but even worse, YOU may actually begin to believe them!

No youngster deserves to start hearing self-fulfilling prophesies this early in life.

The main idea is to employ your continuous observation skills to show you how to relay concepts while keeping your child both intrigued and challenged.

Your child is a learning sponge, soaking up data every minute of every day. She is also a vibrant human being whose skill levels, interests and character are changing all the time. So keep hearing and watching her for clues on how to adjust your lesson plans to meet her shifting needs.

And always keep in mind: Just because she loathed adding does not mean she won't ADORE subtracting!

For more information read " Lesson plans for preschool " FREE Guide.

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