8 Tips: How To Teach The Next Generation of Preschoolers

How will we teach the next generation of preschoolers? Are we prepared?

I am truly blessed to observe early care classes and see that so many children are safe, happy, healthy and ready to learn. Early Care Professionals like you give your all to the children in your care, making sure every child has the life skills needed to succeed.

But there is one thing that I hear all too often…“Children have changed!”

And my response to that is, “Are you changing with the children?”

The truth is we have incredible educators teaching our youngest learners that are from a totally different generation. Many providers had limited access to technology as they were growing. They may be technologically savvy now but many can’t relate to how our babies are growing up. New resources are developing at their fingertips. If a child wants to hear a song, we reach for our cellphones.

technology in preschool classroms

My 2-year-old granddaughter knows how to play her favorite children’s songs on YouTube without any help. Of course, she remains supervised and we set limits! But what used to take hours of teaching finger play now only takes a moment of our day. Everything is immediate gratification and that is hard to understand if you were taught patience is a virtue.

Here are things you can begin to consider to make your preschool classroom relatable to the next generation.

Teach children self-care skills

Children are living a fast-paced life with little time for them to be bored. Teach children how to do deep breathing individually or as a group. Have children take in a deep breath through their nose and fill their belly with air, hold it for 2 seconds, and then have them release it through their mouth so that they sound like a snake. This can be done in a car seat in Mom’s car on the way to dance or in the Early Care Van on the way to or from school.

Teach tolerance

Although technology lends itself to being exposed to others’ opinions and thoughts, it doesn’t allow for teaching tolerance of those opinions. Encourage children to take their time to listen to what is being said and respect differences in people and opinions. Take time out to teach children about other cultures and celebrating when something is different. The best way to teach tolerance is by being a role model for the child or children in your care.

things to add to your preschool curriculum

Teach soft skills

Technology doesn’t always equal effective and quality communication. It can also cause isolation with little actual face to face interactions. Teaching soft skills, such as empathy, negotiation, and time management will be very important in developing the whole child.

Be flexible in methods of learning and give quick feedback

Children’s attention spans have never been long but the need for immediate feedback has become a common practice. Providing children with quick feedback and through a method they can understand is vital to keeping communication open. No child is the same, some children may have to see something before they pick up a skill while others have to hear it more than once, make sure you are providing different feedback to meet each child’s need.

Assess children’s development

Research is saying that too much screen time will delay a child’s development. One of the most important is that of physical activity and gross motor development. When a child is looking at a screen, they most likely are not moving. With preschool age obesity being at an all-time high, every lost opportunity for movement counts. Add a simple assessment to your program to track children’s development. You can contact Patricia Koon at ChildSavers, 804-591-3919 for age-appropriate assessment tools.

screen time on phones, tablets, tv, and computers effect child development

Maintain a reasonable amount of time for whole group and circle time

A four-year-old has a hard time keeping an attention span for 30 mins. Try having smaller group sizes and other opportunities for circle time type activities in different methods throughout the day. Maybe “weather” is done on the playground or during centers.

Allow opportunities for creativity

Throw out the teacher made crafts and encourage children to use their imagination. I remember putting some recycled materials in front of my child once to see what he could create. The first question was, “what does it do?” The second question was, “what am I supposed to do with it?” It took a minute to really get the imagination going but before we knew it, he was building a car wash for his toy cars to go through for a wash.

It was very detailed down to tiny brushes and strips of paper but it had one very unique feature. There was a secret compartment that the car went in to be coated in a secret paint that would keep it clean forever. He not only used his imagination but also problem-solving skills.

encourage creativity in preschool

Don’t fall into the trap of using more screen time just because it is what they want

Maintain your limits and use screen time intentionally. Maybe instead of TV time, you use that allotted screen time to see what the weather is across the world and predict your own extended weather forecast!

Janet Burke is the Director of Child Development Services at ChildSavers, a nonprofit organization that believes that all children can be safe, happy, healthy and ready to learn. She manages six core programs that support this belief; Child Care Aware of Central Virginia, Child Development Training, Child Development Associate Certificate Program, Virginia Quality Central Region, Voluntary Registration for the Central Region and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Janet joined ChildSavers in 1992 where she has worked as a trainer, supervisor, coordinator, program manager and director.

She has been a Master Rater and Master Trainer for Virginia’s Quality and Rating Improvement System since 2007 where she was trained in the first cohort of trainers.  Along with 36 years of experience of working in early care and with early care professionals, she has a Certificate in Early Childhood and a Certificate in Supervisory and Leadership and has taken many other child development and business classes over the years. This includes being trained by the authors for CLASS, Environmental Rating Scale, Here, Now and Down the Road, MyTeachingPartner and DECA.  She holds current certifications.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top