Does your homeschool group have a class for preschoolers? Are you planning to teach preschool?
We had our first homeschool group experience when my girls were in preschool and kindergarten (7 years ago).
After observing for a bit, I volunteered to teach preschool…and I loved it!
Preschoolers are amazing and fascinating!
These seven tips are based on what worked for my preschool class. You can use them to start confidently teaching your own class.
#1 Preschoolers Need Consistency
A consistent routine helps build comfort and confidence in preschoolers.
Always start, end, and transition all activities in the same way.
#2 Starting the Class
Help preschoolers get comfortable in the classroom while mom goes to another class.
It’s important to have an independent activity that preschoolers can focus on as soon as they enter the room.
Choose puzzles, sensory tubs, or morning baskets to get hands and minds busy. Be consistent and always have these set at the table and ready to go.
I like to take attendance and greet everyone during this time.
Moving from one activity to another is challenging for preschoolers. They will need help with transitions!
Plan to show, teach, practice, practice, and practice again.
Create a routine for transitions:
First, get their attention (choose one and stick with it).
- Shake a rattle
- Ring a bell
- Blow a train whistle
- Play the harmonica
- Clap your hands
Next, give directions.
- Use clear, simple language
- Songs are helpful (Daniel Tiger has a song for everything–cleaning up, washing hands, flushing the toilet, and more)
Finally, help preschoolers succeed.
- Use encouraging words
- Model what you want to see
How much time do you have? Break it into small chunks (10-15 minutes).
Consider displaying your schedule with pictures and simple words, so preschoolers and helpers can see what is next.
A Sample Preschool Schedule
Our homeschool group meets on Friday mornings for opening, three hours of classes, and lunch. Sometimes we have afternoon classes too.
Here’s how we break up our preschool time:
- Getting Started
- morning boxes, puzzles, or sensory tubs
- Calendar Time
- featuring a shape, color, and letter of the day
- Table Time
- activities featuring today’s shape, color, and letter
- Story Time
- story and activities related to our theme
- Free Choice Play
- blocks, toys, books, playdough, art supplies
- Bathroom & Handwashing
- Gym (indoor/outdoor depending on weather)
- Drinks, Bathroom & Handwashing
- Sensory Boxes
- Music & Movement
- singing, music games, marching, puppets
- Free Choice Play
- Line-up and join our families for closing assembly
#5 Keep Safety in Mind
Always have two or more adults in the classroom.
Allergy Awareness! Keep a list of known allergies and share it with all adult helpers. Check the list often. If in doubt, ask the parent!
Ask parents, “Is there anything you’d like me to know about your child?”
Know emergency procedures for fire and weather-related emergencies.
#6 Stick to a Theme
Use a theme to focus your preschool time.
Choose stories, art, music, games, and sensory tubs that go with your theme.
#7 Share Responsibility
Avoid homeschool burnout and exhaustion by not doing it all!
Find out what your helpers are good at and ask them to use their skills to:
- Plan & prepare snacks
- Do Crafts (precut pieces, make samples, shop for materials, give directions) like these stress-free preschool crafts
- Read aloud
- Lead songs
- Make playdough
- Lead gym games
- Put on a puppet show
- Clean the room
Having a preschool team is the best!
Go Teach Preschool!
Getting started is the hardest part! Once you start, it will get easier and you will be the one with tips for newbies.
You may even discover that you love teaching preschool at your homeschool group!
As you read this, I’m attempting to teach a puppet class. I’ll have to let you know how that goes!