The patience and incredible planning that preschool teachers undergo are nothing short of incredible. You’re hardworking, strategic, and keen on the tools and methods children need to grow.
Effective classroom management strategies will ensure children get the most out of the upcoming school year and that teachers feel organized and prepared for each class session.
7 Classroom Management Strategies for Preschool Teachers
This time of year is a flurry of activity with open house events and parent-teacher meetings. How you arrange your classroom, the supplies you stock, and the structure of daily activities will all dictate the school year ahead for you. Find time to focus on these classroom management strategies during your busy schedule.
- Optimize Your Classroom Layout
Your classroom’s physical space can make it easier to go from one activity to the next and keep children engaged. Some activities might require small groups, while others allow for independent play with peers.
Consider the flow of a typical day and arrange your classroom to meet those needs. Think about where children will line up, where they’ll place and retrieve their personal belongings, what the bathroom line will look like, and whether there are quiet spaces for children to read books and safe spaces for children to enjoy snacks in a clean environment.
As you think through your preschool activities, set up optimized spaces within your classroom for each phase of the day to give children the space they need to learn.
- Inventory Supplies and Materials
Children need art supplies and equipment to succeed. Keep tabs on what supplies and materials are available in your classroom. Monitor the status of your crayons and markers throughout the year. Does it seem like these materials are worn out and impacting a child’s ability to enjoy art time? Knowing what supplies you start the year with can help create a quick and easy inventory list never runs out.
Think through ideal preschool learning opportunities that don’t involve a complicated setup, such as a dramatic play bin. You can slide out this bin when the time is right and quickly put it back where it belongs when children are done.
Giving children the autonomy to go from one activity to the next will ensure that they learn and develop based on their age and abilities. Little ones love completing tasks on their own, which means having some activities with which they can do this will support their interests and development.
- Communicate Behavior Expectations to Students
Young children have so much to learn about behaving and interacting with their peers effectively. That’s expected. Undoubtedly, you’ll face meltdowns, trouble with sharing, and moments with large feelings.
The first few weeks of the school year might feel like organized chaos as children learn the flow of the day and what you expect from them. However, the chaos will slowly dissipate with the right tactics as children understand appropriate classroom behavior. But you can help children understand the behavior you want to see by setting boundaries and clear expectations.
Even in the most organized classroom, getting children to move from one activity to the next can be challenging. The best way to do it is to have a behavior management plan that tells teachers what to do when they encounter certain behavior. That way, children will receive consistent coaching from teachers from the first day they attend your center. Whether they are in the toddler room or the 3-year-old preschool room won’t matter. The expectations are the same, which helps them learn and grow as they graduate from one room to the next.
- Build a Visual Schedule
Children can adjust better when they know what to expect next. A visual schedule shows children the daily activities using pictures to help prepare them to go from activity to activity throughout the day.
Place the schedule in a prominent location in your classroom and point it out when there are a few minutes left in an activity to start preparing children for the next phase.
Within a few weeks, children will learn the sequence of the day and can anticipate what is to come, which will help make the day move smoothly. If you want to make it more interactive, you can invite children to remove the card for each activity as you complete it to show that the activity is done.
- Use Music When You Can
Integrating music into the school day will keep children engaged and having fun. Challenging activities, such as clean-up time, can be fun if you do it to music. And keeping children’s bodies moving can help them use all that incredible energy they have.
Sing about what you’re doing or turn on a song to guide children through an activity. This will reinforce what you expect from children and make challenging activities more fun.
- Set Up a Safe Space for Children to Calm Down
Preschool-aged children are learning how to interact with their peers. Up until this point, most children parallel play. But at preschool age, they’ll start engaging in play with others. While this is an exciting milestone, it can lead to many emotions and challenges.
Give children a safe space where they can go to quiet their minds and work through a problem. This is not an area designed for punishment but for uninterrupted and lower sensory moments when a child is overstimulated or overwhelmed.
Children might go to this space on their own when their emotions are complex, or you can guide them there during interpersonal challenges or issues with moving on to the next classroom activity. It’s a versatile space that helps children learn how to work through their emotions instead of punishing those feelings.
- Strategically Use Technology to Improve Your Day
Capturing the incredible developments, you see each day to share them with parents can be challenging when you’re managing a classroom filled with young children. Writing down notes takes time away from educating and guiding the children. But that’s where technology can be an incredible aid.
iCare Software provides leading lesson planning tools along with developmental milestone tracking. Plan your days carefully with lesson planning and allow teachers throughout your childcare center to review those lesson plans or share them across classrooms.
And as children accomplish new milestones, document those milestones with a few clicks. You can choose the milestone and apply it to all children who accomplished it today for batch processing to speed up the process. And you can import your state’s milestones or manually input your own.
Then parents can view these accomplishments from the childcare app and see the activities their child engaged with each day for automated communication between teachers and parents.
Set yourself up for success this school year by scheduling a demo of iCare Software now.