Pre-K 3-year-olds HELP

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by mschristinam, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. mschristinam

    mschristinam New Member

    Sep 21, 2004
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    Sep 21, 2004

    I am a brandnew teacher who majored in education but did not go for teaching purposes so I did not student teach or get licensed. I decided what the heck and got a job teaching pre-k 3-year-olds. HELP, I have 21 CRAZY kids. :mad: THe management does not help me in any way w/ curriculum or what I should be teaching...thus I don't know what my day should look like. As of now it looks like this:
    8:30-9 Morning Snack (Fine-mandatory time)
    9-9:40 Morning Circle/Nursery Rhymes (DISASTER...too many kids)
    10-10:40 Rotate groups for Number Learning 1/2 learning 1/2 centers (Yikes)
    10:40-11:20 Rotate groups for Letter Learning 1/2 learning 1/2 centers (Yikes)
    11:20-11:30 Whole Group Movement/Dancing (Getting Worse)
    11:30-12 Lunch (fine-mandatory)
    12-2:30 Nap (Fine-mandatory)
    2:30-3 Snack (Fine-mandatory)
    3-4- I HAVE NO IDEA
    Soooo basically I need help. Does anyone teach this age group and have a great centers rotation they use? or curriculum that works? How much do I plan for the centers? Do I actually teach? Or do I facilitate? Any help would be amazing because I am stressed to the max. Teaching 21 kids w/ two aids seems like too much...I need to find a great way to divide the class into 3 groups without teaching a TON.
  3. Lauren

    Lauren Guest

    Sep 21, 2004


    I am an undergraduate Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) student at QUT, Australia and I also work two full days a week in an Early Childhood setting.

    When I work in the pre-kindergarten room (2 1/2-3 1/2 year olds) this is how the day follows...

    7-8:30 - All children play outside together (mixed ages)
    8:30-9:00 - First Group Time: Song/Story/Nursery Rhymes/Puppets (to try and settle them down some)
    9:00 TRANSITION to bathroom and morning tea - Very Important!!
    9ish Morning Tea
    9:20-9:30 (this is where the troubles start...) Book Corner Time (we try and have them look at pictures in books for ten minutes until their friends finish their morning tea
    9:30 - Sunscreen on and then Yay!! Time to go outside and play again!! (Much relief from teacher!) Group play in playground/sandpit/obstacle course (can set up some outdoors activities during this time) - Teachers have morning teas, assistant/s set up room inside
    10:00/10:15 - Time to go back inside and do planned experiences/group activities/home corner/block corner etc
    11:00 - Pack up time
    11:10 Second Group Time: Song/Story/Nursery Rhymes/Puppets/Dance (to try and settle them down some again)
    11:30 Lunch Time
    12:00-2:00/2:30 Rest Time, Children who aren't allowed to sleep are given a book to look through (National Geographics have great pictures!!) and then if other children wake up early make sure you have a quiet activity for them to participate in.
    2:30 - Pack up sheets, beds and quiet group activities
    2:55 - Back onto group mat and do a quick transition to the bathroom/arvo tea (optional)
    3:00 - Afternoon Tea
    3:30 - Sunscreen and then teacher's saving grace ... it's time to go outside again and play!!

    Let me know if you need the plan for an older/younger age group. It may be different through to how we do it here in AUstralia because we have such nice weather that we try and encourage to play outdoors more often.

    All the best, Take Care and God Bless,
  4. kteachdc

    kteachdc Rookie

    Oct 9, 2003
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    Sep 22, 2004


    The schedule is definitely working against you. I currently teach 3-year olds in a public school - here is our schedule:

    8:30-9 Snack time, limited centers (puzzles, writing, books are open for those not interested in snack)
    9-9:10 Morning meeting (3 year-olds are incapable of sitting for 40 minutes, even in active circles. Keep it as short as possible until later in the year. If you plan for 10 minutes and they start to fall apart at 5, end it. Save yourself the headache and the kids the wasted time)
    9-10 Center Time (we don't do rotations. I've found it's best for children to choose the areas they would like to work in and allow them to work there as long as they would like. You aren't going to get anywhere by forcing kids to do activities they aren't interested in and you're going to have some angry kids as well! We usually have the sensory table, easel, art area, house area, blocks, table toys, and the book area open - these are all of the areas in our room. We rotate activities every week, or when kids aren't showing an interest in the area)
    What do you mean by "letter learning"? It may be a bit early for structured instruction of letters.
    When do you go outside? This is VERY important.
    This schedule sounds VERY structured, which is going to be difficult with 4 year-olds, not to mention 3 year-olds. 3 year olds need opportunities to make choices in their activities. They are also really young for structured activities. You can guide children toward certain activities they need to work on, or try to come up with different ways to get children to practice the same skill. The surest way to get stubborn, unhappy kids is to allow for no choices throughout the day.

    Is your schedule set by your school, or do you have the ability to change it? Also, when do you go outside????
  5. pennyr

    pennyr Guest

    Sep 22, 2004

    I hope this helps

    Dear Fellow 3's teacher,
    I have been teaching 3's for 7 years now. They are much different than the 4's I taught before. Fortunately in my school the director is very supportive. I have 14 children and one assistant. We do 3 different centers and put about 5 in each center. Last year I had a rough class and had to have 5 centers with only 3 in a center. You could probably get away with 4 centers and put 5 in each (hopefully one is out each day). I dissagree with one of the responses above that says that the children shouldn't be forced to play with things that don't interest them. Centers help the children to try different things that they may not have wanted to before. Many times teaching them about something that they wouldn't necessarily have tried without them. It also helps the passive child get a chance to play, which without centers they tend to get pushed out of playing with something someone else more aggressive likes to play with. I have a laminated card in each center( each a different color) with velcro on the back. On the card are 4-5 pieces of velcro that their name cards are stuck on. I chose the groups based on the children and they are different each day. In your case you may want to use bingo markers to mark their hands to show what color group they are in. The first week in centers are just alot of monitoring and redirecting. But after that things get much better.
    My school only goes from 9:00 - 12:30 so I can only help you up to there.
    9:00- 9:30 Color/watercoloring sheets and freeplay
    9:30- 9:45 Circle time (3's can't handle much more than that)Calendar, Pledge, Weather, and morning prayer time.
    9:45-10:45 Centers - 1. housekeeping/dress up 2. Transportation/ pretend play (little people ect.) 3. thematic play (toys, puzzles, manipulatives that go with our themes) 4. Art ( have your assistant do the art activity with them) 5. blocks and puzzles
    10:45 - 11:10 lunch
    11:15- 11:45 playground(which we haven't seen this year because of all the storms, rain and hurricanes) 3's and 4's need playground time
    11:45 - 12:00 music, fingerplays, dance etc.
    12:00 - 12:10 Story time
    12:15- 12:30 get ready for dismissal

    You could probably put in another circle later in the day. several shorter circle times seem to be more productive than one long one.

    When we move from center to center we play cleanup music to straighten up our center and when the music goes off they know to line up in their center. We have colored tape on the floor to mark the centers. They learn real quickly that they need to stay in their area until it's time to move. Some do take a little longer, but the ones who get it will keep them in check.

    I hope this can be helpful to you, another thing is to make sure that you are teaching them to be independant. When my children come in they hang up their own backpacks in their spot and get their folders out. We have only been in school for about 2 1/2 weeks so far and they are all doing this quite well. Make sure you praise them for being such big boys and girls when they accomplish independence. It then becomes contagious, they all want to be praised and told how big they are becoming.
  6. M&M

    M&M Rookie

    Sep 22, 2004
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    Sep 22, 2004

    Cut down on your circle time. Usually no longer then 10-15 minutes. Three year olds can't sit much longer. Then give them free time to play with different things in the classroom. If you can and have help work with 4 children at a time in small group.
  7. mkavg5

    mkavg5 Guest

    Sep 22, 2004


    Wow! Sounds Like You Need Help! I've Been Doing 3's For Over 6 Years And This Schedule Has Always Worked For Me:

    6:15-8:00 Arrival/free Play
    8:00-8:30 Breakfast
    (8:30 Begins Preschool)
    8:30-8:45 Book Time
    8:45-9:00 Circle Time (calendar,weather,helperchart,introduce Lesson With A Song Or Book Related To The Weekly Theme Or Even A Fingerplay) This Needs To Be Fun And Make The Kids Want To Participate!! Introduce Name Recognition,and Letters Here
    9:00-9:45 Centers -these Are Geared To The Theme. You Can Make An Apple Stand For Sept. And Have The Kids Use A Pretend Cash Register And Buy And Sell Apples. Dont Forget Play Money And Plenty Of Apple Picking Baskets!
    9:45-9:55 Wash Hands And Potty
    9:55-10:15 Snack (when Done They Get A Book)
    10:15 Remind Potty Again And Wash Snack Hands
    10:25-11:15 Outside And Large Motor Gruop Play
    11:15-11:25 Wash Hands
    11:25-11:50 Lunch -then They Get A Book Put It On Their Naptime Cots,go Potty,washup,lay On Their Cots
    11:50-12:10 Finish Potyy Etc
    12:10-12:30 Storytime
    12:30-2:30 Nap Time
    2:30 Wakeup
    2:50 Snack
    2:50 -5:45 Afternoon Activities That Include Centers Again,outside Play And Games
  8. kteachdc

    kteachdc Rookie

    Oct 9, 2003
    Likes Received:

    Sep 23, 2004


    I wanted to clarify about center time. Before we start we have a morning meeting where the teacher discusses all of the possibilities for centers that morining. Then we ask the children to think and decide what they would like to work on. Then we ask children what they would like to do. If one area is really popular, we will start a "list" so everyone can have a turn that would like one, however we do close the area so a limited number of children are in the area. The other children can choose another area to play in until their turn. Often they become engrossed in their play and forget they wanted a turn until we call their name! I think that having groups and rotating centers is difficult for two reasons. 1) children have a limited time to explore in an area. cutting them off when they are really engrossed is not really beneficial for them...they should work with something until they are finished. Also, children who have NO interest in an area should not have to stay in an area. They are going to be upset and interrupt other children who are interested. 2) with groups, you're going to be spending so much time with whining and keeping kids in their areas that you won't have much time to engage with children while they are working. It is a lot easier for your sanity and for the children's enjoyment of school if you give students as many small choices as possible. One way to do this is to not send them to centers and then disrupt their play to "change" centers. That would make me grumpy! Allowing them to choose areas and choose when to leave is freeing for the kids, but also leads to happier, calmer, and more engaged children.
  9. mschristinam

    mschristinam New Member

    Sep 21, 2004
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    Sep 24, 2004

    Its me again!

    Ok, with all your help I have forged a new and I must say pretty good schedule. I have cut down circle time tremendously. Here is my new schedule and I think it reallllly works. However is still have questions...
    8:15-8:30 Morning Snack
    8:30-9 Play-Doh or Writing/Drawing in Journals
    9-9:30 Morning Circle/Story Time...Broken Into Two Groups of 10 kids. So for 15 minutes one group will do Calandar, ABCs, Weather and 1 story. The other group will do numbers, shapes, colors and 1 story. Then we switch.
    9:30-45 Music/Movement/Nursery Rhymes
    9:45-10:45 Rotate 3 groups through 3 assigned centers.
    10:45-11 Quiet Reading and Potty Time
    11-11:30 Outside Play/Gross Motor
    11:30-12 Lunch
    12-2:30/3 Wake-Up/Potty
    3-3:15 Snack
    3:15-4 Crafts: 3 groups do same acitivties/crafts in different rooms

    Ok, so separation and small groups is the way to go when you have 21 kids! But I still am not sure what to do about my curriculum I need help! Currently, in my centers the learning is teacher directed. In one center, say art we will do a specific craft. In Dramatic Play, we will learn a song that has actions associated with it. So, they are not really learning whatever they want in centers b/c they arre nuts. If we don't have a teacher or aid in each center directing an activity they go crazzzy and wreck the center. HELP! I have so much planning to do for each day this way...what do ya'll do?
  10. mindylulu

    mindylulu Guest

    Sep 24, 2004

    Head Start Teacher

    I'm a Head Start teacher, I have 17-3,4, & 5 yr olds in my class. I understand what you are going through. There is one teacher and a teacher assistant in the classroom. We have the classroom set up into 7 major centers (Math/Science, Pretend & Learn, Construction (blocks), Manipulatives, Creative Arts, Library, ABC/Writing, & Computer). The children have nametags for themselves. Each Center has a certain number of kids that can go into that center. During Free Play (Centers) they have a FREE choice of which center they would like to go to. We have the number & hooks for the children to hang their nametags on in each center. (Ex: 4 w/four large dots w/a hook on each dot). If the hooks are full then the children know they have to choose another center to go to until someone comes out of that center. At a table, the teacher /teacher assistant will sit down and do a small group activity that is planned for the day. Children may come over to the activity or may not -it is not mandatory because eventually each child will join you if it sounds interesting to them. The children will eventually rotate themselves into each center before center time is up. The child that would like to go to another center has to clean up their toys before they can move to another center though.
  11. bijansmom

    bijansmom Companion

    Oct 3, 2002
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    Sep 25, 2004

    I, personally, would cut sown on the amount of orgsanized 'instruction' time. 3's need more 'free play' -- with a teacher floating from small group to small group. I teach 3s, 4s, and 5s in a multiage classroom. Althoughm this year the majority of them are 3 -- let me tell you , what a difference from last year when I had mostly 4s and 5s. I conduct my cicrle all together and keep it to a short 10 minutes. I will increase it as time goes on -- this also includes a story and/or flannel board -- maximum 20minutes --at the very most. They physically can't sit longer.

    Here is my half -day schedule:

    9:00-10:15 Center Choice -- I have all the cinters mentionned except for computers. During centers, I have my T.A. set up at, what we call, the Project Table -- she can have up tp 6 kiddos doing a craft or project. We leave a chair or two open incase someone from the open court 'needs' to be seperated from his/her friends -- so I may say "Let's go do a project and then you can come back to the blocks" -- removing those who may need a break but not in a way that is demeaning to them.

    During Open Centers, we also have snack which is set up as a center (with a teacher at the snack table of course)

    10:15- 10:20 Clean up and get into circle.

    10:20-10:30 Circle Time -- Good morning song, Talk about what we did this morning --quick weather -- have not introduced calender yet.

    10:30-10:35 Line up to go out -- may use color game to line up or other fun technique

    10:35-11:15 Gross motor - outdoor play - includes small group activities -- playing ball, bubbles, parachute --

    11:15-11:20 pack up sand toys and lione up to come in

    11:20 -11:30 Come in for a quiet story -- in circle -- I find that the story tuime AFTER playing outside is more effective.

    11:30 Closure and good-bye.
  12. Melodieweeks

    Melodieweeks Guest

    Sep 25, 2004

    Coming to the resuce

    I have been teaching 3 year olds for 9 years. I think I can help you. Your group times are too long. Two 10 min. A.M. group times would work. It also has to be a mix of music w/ action movement, finger plays, book, puppets, and most of all interactive. You have to keep the children interested by asking them questions and allowing them to answer. Do not except these 3 year old to raise their hands. Also you need to break up the class into 4 groups for your activity and center time. 5 to 6 children at the activity table at any one time. Small groups are always better. You can try to use a daily center chart and rotate your children to different centers every day. This however takes plenty of management and you have to stay consistant. I can give you more detailed advice if this sounds helpful to you. -Melodie
  13. beckyeduk8er

    beckyeduk8er Comrade

    Jun 20, 2004
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    Sep 27, 2004

    I have taugh 3's for 5 years and through trail and error found what works best for me.

    You might find it helpful to model exactly what you want play in the centers to be and EXACTlY how you want the centers cleaned up. For example in the block center-demonstrate how blocks can be used on the floor, the table to make towers, roads, ect. "Blocks are for builidng". I like to take pics of my classes cool things they build and put the pictures in a binder in the block center for insperations. I also model how to clean up. I do this modeling with small groups and we do each center. I have the children in the group practice what is expected before I "open" the center for free play. If I spend time doing this in the beging my center run so much better. I also agree that choice centers work so much better than rotation centers. If you are forcing them to stay in a center once they are no longer interested you will see behavior problems.
  14. debbie

    debbie Rookie

    Oct 13, 2004
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    Oct 15, 2004

    i think you are expecting too much from this age group. I agree with the comments saying more free play, less group time, and lots of outdoor time. they are simply not capable (for the most part) of structured activity for prolonged times. Keep your group time very active.. more do less listen. For example, if you are reading a book make it a book where they can respond loudly in predictable parts; this age group needs to be actively involved. they will definately trash set up centers. Keep it simple. Sensory activities are a major thing for this group check out books such as mudworks. these kinds of things will keep them focused for much longer period. Expect mess. I have found however that these kids are completely capable of tidying up. Make it fun. Who knows who to dothis?
    Where do you think this goes? they love to demonstrate their knowledge. Good luck.

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