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TAKING SMART RISKS
Preschoolers soak up new information and new experiences at a remarkable rate. Taking risks is an integral part of learning and they must be encouraged to explore their environment, inside and outside, where they will learn a great deal about their world and themselves.
Strategies To Prevent Bullying in the Classroom
Even in preschool, you have to make sure your classroom is not the setting for bullying behaviors: making mean faces, threatening, grabbing, pushing, or refusing to play with others. You should have an environment that supports respect and positive patterns of behaviors.
Many Languages, One Classroom
Teachers who work with families and children who are learning English while maintaining their native language are uniquely positioned to build a positive, inclusive, warm, and nurturing environment not only with the children but also with families.
I Feel Many Different Ways—Why?
As an educator, you, as well as your classroom, are key to help children understand that it’s okay to feel different ways. The purpose of this lesson plan is to help children express their feelings—whether they’re feeling happy, angry, silly, tired, or simply sad.
Chase Away the Boogeyman!
As an educator, you, as well as your classroom, are an essential resource for children who have experienced a traumatic event(s). The purpose of this lesson plan is to help teachers build a positive, caring environment that encourages children to communicate their feelings.
MAKING CLASS TIME COUNT
Every school day involves some organized activities, or structured play, such as art, cooking, story time, peer play activities, or nap time. Child-driven activities or free play, allow children to make up the activity and the rules as they go along, to create within their own boundaries, and often to be surprised by their own invention.
“Grandparents” in the Community
As a link to the cultural heritage and traditions of families, grandparents are important caregivers for children. Those children who are fortunate enough to interact regularly with their grandparents can reap the benefits of multigenerational bonding. Those children without regular access to grandparents in their lives can still benefit, as every community has senior citizens who may be missing their family and would love to reach out to others. This special type of bonding benefits both the children and the surrogate grandparent.
Family Portraits: Understanding Families of Divorce
Changes in family structure due to divorce and separation put children at risk for negative outcomes that can extend into adolescence, such as substance abuse, dropping out of school, risky sexual behavior, and depression. This lesson plan helps your students define what makes up a family and recognize and accept their own family structure to recognize themselves as part of a family structure, regardless of how many people are in it and where they live.
The Creative Classroom: Time and Space for Self-Expression
Self-expression through creative activities (e.g., art, dance, and play) provides children with opportunities to express their individuality in a variety of ways. Creative classroom activities can help children learn to manage their emotions, practice self-control, share and take turns, and consider other people’s feelings. This lesson plan focuses on providing children with varied opportunities for creative self-expression.
The Military Child in Your Classroom
The military child deals with unique stressors which can negatively affect the child’s behavioral and emotional health, academic performance, and relationships at home and in school. Schools and educators can foster a healthy and supportive environment to help the military child cope with the stresses of relocation or parental deployment. This lesson is designed to help children use tools of communication to express themselves and engage with their peers.
Choosing the Right Books in the Classroom
As educators you already understand that books can serve multiple purposes such as educating children, serving as an entertainment tool and helping children build self- confidence. Books can foster healthy brain development, build closeness with caregivers, and prevent early aggressive behaviors which are all known protective factors for risky behaviors such as substance abuse later on in life.
Building Self-Confidence in the Classroom
Teachers are some of the most powerful influences in a child’s life. As a teacher, you can help children increase their self-confidence as you provide them with a chance to build on their achievements and be successful in and out of your classroom.
Peer Pressure: Learning to Say “NO”
Peer pressure (influence that members of the same age group can have over each other) becomes a great risk to our children once they reach middle school. But, even young children can exert pressure on their classmates. The human need to belong is strong even in preschoolers and, already, they are becoming more concerned with what their friends think and do than what the adults in their lives think and do.
Obesity and Making Healthy Food Choices
Obesity in children can put them at risk for serious long- and short-term health disorders like hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea. This lesson plan provides some interesting and fun activities and tips that teachers can utilize in the classroom to help children learn about and choose healthier foods.
Rhythm and Rhyme
Poems are great pre-reading and early reading tools. Children can be engaged in the sounds of the words that build important reading skills.
Holiday Giving From the Classroom
The holidays are a time for giving, but for many young children it may be all about receiving. It is never too early to learn about giving of yourself and your time and the value of volunteerism to helping others. Even very young children can participate in activities that will benefit others, improve their sense of self-worth, and provide them with an understanding of their responsibility to the community—all excellent protective factors.
Rules and Consequences in the Classroom
A classroom full of children can sometimes mean that one or two children may display unacceptable behavior during the day. The behaviors displayed may be different in each case. How can you work with the children to set a stage for what is acceptable behavior?
Water Safety Checklist
Children love to play in water, but water-related activities carry with them several hazards. Help families recognize the hazards and learn how to safeguard their children in and out of the home.
Storytelling in the Classroom
Storytelling is not the same as reading aloud because it requires greater interaction between the teller and the listener. Therefore, storytelling is a great tool for improving children’s communication skills, as well as developing language skills, comprehension, and self-awareness. (Reading and Communication Skills)
Teaching with Nature
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cites many studies that show how important it is for children to connect with nature
Building Blocks and Healthy Snacks
Use Building Blocks to help children play games, sing songs, and work together to find and switch to snacks that are good for them.
TV and Teaching
Characters from television programs seem very real to young students. Take advantage of their enthusiasm for these characters by using them in your language development and literacy lessons.
Games in the Classroom: A Teaching Resource
Building a collection of games for the classroom means choosing and storing the best board games. It also requires tracking the most effective online games and keeping a catalog of the group games that your students love best.
Good Hygiene: A Healthy Smile
Taking proper care of teeth and gums is important to maintaining a healthy body, as well as guaranteeing a beautiful smile. But, the culprit that leads to tooth decay—plaque—is not visible to the naked eye and can only be removed by careful brushing of the teeth for two minutes each time. The activity below will model for students just how much time and effort must be put into brushing to remove plaque completely.
Tracking Physical Fitness
Children need to exercise to build strong bones and muscles, have a healthy weight, and be alert during the day and sleep well at night. Over the past four decades, children have become increasingly sedentary and that lack of physical movement is showing up in medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Guide younger children to learn how to care for others by showing them how helping another person is valued. Follow the steps below to provide a school or community project to help young children learn how to share with, and care for, others.
Poems of Respect
Speaking respectfully is a key social lesson that all young children learn, usually by example.
Circle of Friends
The school setting presents a perfect opportunity to observe children’s social development and to help children learn to make new friends.
Teaching Students To Follow Directions
When your students learn to follow directions, they progress more easily in every area of the curriculum. To help children learn to follow directions successfully, it’s important to help them focus and listen carefully.
School Manners and Student Behavior
In “Good Manners,” a report to parents from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, resources say that lack of manners is a growing problem in classrooms and on playgrounds.
Young children often do not understand their changing feelings. You can help them cope with childhood fears and anxiety or worries by helping them learn to talk about and express their feelings.
Classroom Quilt of Cultures
Sharing cultural traditions and talking about cultural diversity in the classroom helps young children grow socially and broaden their viewpoints. They will begin to understand what they share among themselves within their own culture. And, they will begin to appreciate the similarities among cultures, leading to less prejudice and stereotyping in school.
The Classroom Library
According to Scholastic’s Classroom Libraries Work: Research & Results, building and maintaining an area where students are free to browse, read, and talk about books helps students attain reading skills and improves reading achievement.
Building Blocks: Your Prevention Tool
As children grow up, they are exposed to many things that may either increase their risk for, or protect them from, drug abuse and other risky behaviors. Protective factors are any circumstances that promote healthy behaviors and decrease the chance that a child will engage in risky behaviors, now or in the future
Be Prepared With Emergency Supplies
Being prepared is key to staying safe during any kind of emergency. Help young children know the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency by determining what’s needed in an Emergency Supplies Kit.
Responsibility in the Classroom
One of the most important lessons a child learns in preschool and kindergarten is responsible behavior: following rules, finishing tasks, and accepting consequences.
To Tell the Truth
Young children identify with characters they “know” through reading and the media. Use these characters to help students define and discuss honesty.
Outdoor activities are a great way to promote exercise for a healthy lifestyle, but make sure your students are aware of the need for sun safety. Use these classroom activities to help children avoid sunburn now and the risk of skin cancer later.
Laughter relieves stress, promotes better health, increases intelligence, and builds social bridges. According to KidsHealth, children laugh about 200 times each day; adults laugh only 15 to 18 times. Make yourself and your classroom healthier and happier by making sure that humor is part of your daily classroom activities.
Playground Safety at School
It’s summer and playground safety at your preschool is most important. Setting playground rules and monitoring children as they play isn’t enough to ensure your students’ safety on the playground. You and your class should check to make sure your school’s playground equipment, and the area surrounding it, are also “child safe.”
Calm in the Classroom
The classroom is humming with activity when, suddenly, you hear shouting. Students quickly begin accusing each other: "He said, he did" or "She said, she did." Help your students practice and use the simple strategies of conflict resolution to help keep your classroom calmer.
Now, We Teach Six Rs
We all know about “Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic” in the classroom. Now, add “Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce” to help students learn to take care of the environment. Try some of these classroom tips and projects to model responsible behaviors for the latest Three Rs.
Fire Alarms for Fire Safety
One of the most important times for children to follow rules is during evacuation drills. Knowing fire safety rules and routes to follow helps calm young students’ fears in case of an emergency.
Reading With Building Blocks
It’s always fun to find and use new tools to get children reading. Here are some tips for using characters, content, and components from Building Blocks to help introduce and reinforce basic reading and pre-reading skills.
Coping With Change
Change, whether planned or unexpected, is hard for young children to understand and accept. When change happens because of a disaster or other crisis, loss adds even greater anxiety in children.
Sleep and Energy
Sleep studies show that sleep deprivation problems can start with children as young as toddlers. Lack of sleep can make it difficult for young children to concentrate in school and can cause them to have problems working and playing with their peers. See if focusing on sleep can help your students do their best in school.
The Model of Fitness
One of the most important steps in staying fit is physical activity. Work with Building Blocks to help children and their families achieve fitness goals.
Size-Wise: Healthy Eating Habits
Many parents and grandparents were raised with the adage "clean your plate." That's good advice only if the plate isn't too full. How can we help children develop healthy eating habits?
4 Steps to Road Safety
Students learn about rules at home and at school. But perhaps the most important rules we follow every day are the rules of the road.
Teaching Child Safety
The classroom is a safe place to help young children think about staying safe. Discussing child safety doesn't have to be scary. Before you start, though, make sure the children know that you don't expect anything bad will happen to them; you just want them to know how to be safe.
Teaching Media Literacy
Although it may seem a bit silly to worry about "current events" with preschoolers, our national obsession with 24-hour news coverage and constant visual reminders of disastrous events in the news pretty much guarantee that even young children are exposed to the news.
Making friends is a key element of social and emotional development in the primary and pre-primary curriculum. In “Aggression and Cooperation: Helping Young Children Develop Constructive Strategies,” Dr. Jan Jewett, project coordinator for the Center for Supportive Education at Washington State University, stresses cooperative play and dramatic role play in social interactions to help children work and play together constructively.
Modeling Good Eating
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans (PDF) recommends that we eat more fruits and vegetables, choosing at least a cup of fruit a day and a variety of vegetables—dark, green, and leafy vegetables; orange vegetables; beans; and peas.
We all have a set of classroom rules that students help create and follow. Each of these rules makes the classroom run more smoothly and helps children feel safer in the classroom. One particular rule may help children better understand the concept of rules.