Early childhood development is a growing need and a trending topic in the education world. As it should be! Early childhood education, often referred to as “Pre-K 3,” and Pre-K 4,” is building the foundation for young learners and preparing them for a much different kind of Kindergarten, than many of us experienced as children.
Having spoken with several pre-school directors and early childhood development specialists, there seems to be a general theme when discussing what the first few weeks of school looks like. Preparation is key; however, controlled chaos is to be expected.
Pre-school programs educate three and four-year olds. Studies show that this age group learns best with multi-sensory toys and educational tools. Vendors could easily include some multi-sensory items with their pre-school curriculum. Additionally, they could include access to online tools, such as worksheets that could be downloaded, and printed as well. Simple “extras” like this, make a pre-school teacher’s life much easier.
Parents are entrusting early childhood development professionals with the education and overall well being of their very small child. Transitions can be difficult in the first few weeks of pre-school. A pre-school teacher is not only trying to teach a small child how to adjust to a new environment, but they also might be dealing with class sizes increasing, decreasing, or even teacher assistants being moved around to accommodate certain students and their needs. In the midst of these changes, it’s crucial for a pre-school teacher to feel confident with their curriculum, lesson plans, and let’s be honest…feeling appreciated goes a long way too!
So, what does a pre-school teacher need for the first few weeks of school? They need set lesson plans, accompanied by simple but fun activities for their new students to engage with and learn to love learning. They also need support. Support can come in a variety of forms spanning from learning tools for their students (worksheets, videos, manipulatives, etc), to a teacher appreciation discount, and anything in between. Early childhood teachers are often retired elementary school teachers with years of experience behind them. However, it doesn’t matter if they’ve taught for four years or forty years, they will always need support.
As the demands of early childhood education continue to increase, so should our level of support for pre-k educators. Pre-school teachers are often overlooked, however, they’re doing some big things for some little people.