Trying to engage a room of preschoolers is like herding cats. Every little one has his own idea of what fun looks like and it is usually different from yours! Try these quick tips for preschool classroom management and share own ideas.
1. Be extremely prepared. In preschool world, downtime is the enemy. While you pause to look for crayons your three-year olds may try to take over the world. Before class begins make sure that you have all of your materials ready and know your lesson inside and out. Whatever you do, don’t sit and read a lesson to a group of preschooler and expect to engage them. Those kids will be under the tables and eating the soap.
2. Use a consistent attention-getting cue. Train your class that we you use a certain cue, they are to prepare to listen. It may be counting to three or clapping in a pattern or repeating words after you. Preschoolers are pretty easily trained, you just have to be consistent. Do the same thing every time. Kids this age like routine and establishing cues like this can help your lesson run much more smoothly.
3. Teach with enthusiasm. If you watch a popular preschool show there are no monotone voices or bland personalities. You don’t have to be the Imagination Movers, but you have the opportunity to make the Bible come alive. You are telling the greatest story of all time. Take every opportunity to make the Word come alive as best as you can.
4. Involve the children. Kids will remember the story better if they are involved in your teaching. Have them make appropriate sound effects, repeat key phrases, or act out related motions. The more repetition you can include the better! The more kids are involved the less trouble they can cause, but more importantly the more the truth will stick in their heart.
5. Keep it short and use variety. Preschoolers have extremely short attention spans. Basically they can focus for one minute per year of their age. Expecting a four-year old to sit patiently for a fifteen minute lecture on the Old Testament. Less is more for little ones. Give them one short, amazing story with one simple point to remember.
6. Give the scraggly children a role. So what do you do with that one kid who just won’t take part? Look for ways to involve her. You might ask her to hold your picture or prop. Call her by name or ask her to sit right by you. Sometimes these preschoolers just need a bit of extra attention. Be consistent, love them anyway and share God’s love through your patience as much as you can.