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Preschool Teacher Resources books

TYC contributors Louis Mark Romei, Holly Seplocha, and Laura Colker answered the question: "What's your advice for a new preschool teacher?" as part of a Q&A on Back to School Strategies. Together they shared 10 tips.

Your first teaching job is both exciting and scary. You will have some great days and some will be more challenging. Just like children we learn from our experiences. There are so many tips for new teachers. Here are ours:

Teaching Young Children

Each issue provides useful, research-based ideas and activities that preschool teachers, educators, and PreK teachers can use in their classrooms.

1. Be prepared and organized. This means having materials ready for whole group and small group activities as well as for centers. It also means being prepared for mishaps like spills, accidents, and runny noses. It means keeping sanitation and safety in mind: washing your hands and theirs on arrival and throughout the day; cleaning and sanitizing tables for meals; having tissues and gloves handy; locking up poisons and anything that says to keep out of reach of children.

2. Establish a regular routine and schedule. Keep whole group gatherings short. Remember that children have varied attention spans and learn through play and active engagement. Read every day. Limit transitions. Balance active and quiet times as well as child initiated and adult facilitated time. Classroom management is often an issue for new teachers. Many discipline situations can be corrected by examining your schedule and environment to prevent problems before they occur. While it's important to have a consistent routine, it’s also important to be flexible. If children aren’t interested or acting up, change plans. Develop a partnership with your assistant. She or he can make your job easier or more difficult. Discuss your role and theirs as well as expectations for each part of the schedule at the start of the year. Address problems when they are small and don’t save them inside and grumble.

3. Be an explorer. See things as fresh and new. Children will pick up on your enthusiasm. Expand your interests.

Ask open-ended questions (I wonder what will happen if…how did you do/make that?). Respect children’s ideas, feelings and thoughts. Have fun. You chose this profession for a reason. Enjoy each day. Don’t worry if something doesn't’t work out as planned. Reflect and learn from your experiences.

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