I’ve been a preschool teacher since 2007, four years to be exact, and handling preschoolers is still a long shot to learn for me. One thing I learned is that, patience and more of it is the best key to keep up with them in the classroom. I’m not that veteran yet but I want to share these strategies I’ve experimented that were effective for keeping my pupils far from throwing tantrums. But these will not always be applicable or effective for as children of different culture need different strategies as well. Yet, I’m sure that with Filipino preschoolers,
I learned these strategies and were based purely on my own experiences with handling different Nursery classes for the past 4 years. I’d like to share it because I know that these will be helpful for those who are planning to be teachers/teacher aid, or teachers already, or parents and guardians, if necessary.
Strategies for Keeping Up with Preschoolers in the Classroom
- Be friendly and always wear a smile – I think that this strategy is just necessary and we teachers, parents, and guardians need to learn how to be friendly with preschoolers. In their young age, according to Psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan, they become able to think about feelings and interacting with others; they develop the ability to feel intimate connections with others; and most of all they learn to read the intentions and expectations of others. And so with this in mind, we must learn how to interact with them at all times so that they’ll be able to develop intimate relationship with us and begin to learn that they can trust us. Children know just how good and bad giving out a smile can be. So never be selfish with your smile and give the best friendship that a preschooler needs.
- Affirm preschoolers of how good or talented they are – Preschoolers have different talents and these are easily discovered in each one of them. You will see that some are good in drawing, coloring, writing, reading, painting, dancing, singing, etc. These qualities come out of them so naturally for they were born having it. Though some do learn skills that are developed and becoming excellent as time goes by. And so, we need to affirm them of how good they are with their work because some of them don’t realize that they have the talent. They need to hear it from older people.
- Yet, since not everybody has the same talent as classmates or playmates have in academic sense, figure out what it is in them that’s unique. I have this one pupil who is slowly keeping up with studies. She hardly could write her name and couldn’t recognize particular objects/pictures (such as grapes and kettle) for a whole 3 weeks of our first semester. I volunteered tutoring her for an hour after her afternoon nap every day for 2 months. Thank God that she did well little by little. She may not be very good with academics but she’s very kind and helpful. I discovered these traits in her when she was trying to help out whenever her classmates couldn’t open their lunch boxes by themselves and that she would volunteer to open it for them. Since she has stronger hands and looks really dependable, she never missed on helping me with little things such as erasing the board or fixing crayons, pencils and books. I love it about her and I would always tell her just how good, helpful and kind she is. She may come from a poor family but I’m confident that this girl’s future will shine. I saw her every smile whenever I praised her.
- Let Them Learn from their Own Mistakes – This could be very tricky but let me be clear that having them learn from their own mistakes is important. But of course, guidance is highly necessary. Since every child has his/her own personality, having to face their own mistakes and them dealing with it comes in different ways as well. There are children who could just move forward that easily without having regrets and there are who blame themselves for having done so. Knowing a child’s personality is our priority especially in this kind of situations. If they make a mistake, talking with them like an adult but saying simple words to the best of their understanding is needed. I’m sure that if not all of them listens at the moment, they’ll realize that what we said to them is right. I always believe that what adults say matters and is planted in their young minds till they grow old. There will always be times that they’d remember and that will be a permanent life lesson for them.
- Be wise on handling tantrums – Oh, this is the most difficult part for me. A child throwing tantrums sometimes could just make me give up especially when in my early days in this career. But then, I had to deal with it because there will always be situations like this. One time, there was this 3 year old girl who would not listen to me nor finish doing her artworks. Whenever I tried talking to her, she would crawl under the table and stay there for as long as she wanted. That’s cute for me at first but then, it occurred many times. There I learned that she didn’t want to be doing artwork without her tweety bird pencil and crayons! Good idea! I had to ask her mother to buy these for her so that I could get her with that. And it worked! Glad that tweety bird was on the rescue! Though of course, she was not the only one who threw tantrums in the class and so I did many other strategies on what to do with the other kids as well.
- Laugh and play with them – Children’s social development starts during toddler years. But it is developed more in preschool years because they are exposed to having more kids around in their same age. Normally, not everybody in my nursery class make friends on the first few weeks of school. Only some will show friendly gestures that soon and most are just quiet and very observing. But they’ll be fine anyway and soon be chatting and playing with each other. As a teacher, I learned that on the first days of classes, it should be the quiet ones that I need to give more of my attention. Because mostly, these kids are not allowed to play outside when they’re home and so interacting with other kids for them takes time. I usually would mix them or facilitate games that will make them mingle with each other and have fun. It’s fun looking at them and I really play with them and look like one little preschool too so that I could easily gain their trust and that they’d treat me as their friend.
I love kids really. And they are the most beautiful gifts from God for me. They may sometimes hit our string and could make us really angry to our very core, that’s a fact. But they will always be a blessing. I wonder how dull the world would be without having kids around.