Are the children in your classroom dancing on the tables, turning cartwheels across the carpet, running up and down the hall and tossing crayons at each other? We certainly hope not. However, if you don’t keep your game face on, this type of out of control behavior can easily happen under your watch. Keep your classroom from turning into bedlam with these simple tips.
• Plan for transitions. When children are forced to sit with nothing to do, they’ll find ways to entertain themselves. You don’t want this to happen. A child’s idea of appropriate entertainment will be much different from yours. Don’t leave transition times to chance. Plan simple activities that require little to no clean up time. Fidget toys, manipulatives, books, puzzles and coloring sheets are all viable options.
• Have a plan B. Following a schedule is essential to keeping your preschool classroom orderly. However, young children aren’t as predictable as your schedule. This is why it’s important to have a backup plan. If you read a story at circle time and several children start to disrupt, this is a sign that it’s time to move on to plan B. If you try to force the kids to sit still while you finish reading, you’ll lose control of the entire class.
• Partner children according to the way they behave. When you partner children up for small group activities, consider their temperaments and how each of them behaves. Kids feed off of each others’ energy. If you put three rambunctious children in the block area together, you’re asking for trouble. You’ll have fewer behavior problems if you partner a rambunctious child with two mild tempered children.
• Prepare materials in advance. If kids have to wait around for you to cut out patterns, or roundup materials for the next activity, they’re going to misbehave. Remember, all it takes is one or two children to get antsy before the others follow. Prevent mayhem in the classroom by having all of your materials for the day’s activities prepped and ready to go.
• Be confident in your abilities. Children can read body language. If preschoolers sense you’re not confident in your abilities as a teacher, you’re dead meat. Stand tall and let the kids know (in a nice way) who’s boss.
If you don’t manage your classroom properly, you’ll become the victim of an out of control group of children. You can avoid chaos by staying prepared, being flexible, grouping kids according to their behavior, planning ahead, and oozing confidence.
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