Preschool ESY

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by waterfall, May 28, 2011.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    May 28, 2011

    I just got a summer job as the lead teacher for preschool special needs students. I am very excited, however I admittedly have NO experience with preschool. Many of their goals are social things like "iniate play with peer 50% of the time" or "respond appropriately to greetings" and things like that. My friend who used to teach preschool (although this was regular ed.) said it's really all about socialization and that there are very little academic expectations. Do you think this is true? I found that a bit surprising especially with all the high level academic stuff that is expected of our kindergarteners. We don't have a preschool at my current school, so I really don't have any background to go off of. I'll be seeing the students for 3 hours in the morning. Basically I'm looking for any guidance as to how to set things up. What kind of routines do you have? Do the students do the same type of activities/routines daily? I'll have a few TA's, which is a relief...they'll probably know more about preschool than me going in, but I feel like as the lead teacher I can't just be constantly asking them what to do!
     
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  3. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    May 28, 2011

    Well, I don't know if it will help you to know...but, you have totally hit the crux of the situation with the all social/academic issue.

    I do believe much of what preschools are around to teach is social. After the preschool age is over, the focus goes totally to the academic side and the social is left to "work itself out". So I think that we at this stage set the scene for the later years. I also think that we do our best job creating future students when we remember that social skills do have merit.

    Right now I have a student who is working hard on learning to write his name. He is 3+ and in my classroom he is a bit late with the development of the fine motor skills needed. This isn't new to me, nor to most peers in the field, but he totally feels the pressure to perform from his other peers. He is breaking down in tears learning how to form the letters. We are working on ways to work hard, without stress. Without this "social" skill getting worked out, he will be finding it difficult to work on hard issues later in life (perhaps).

    All that said....I don't run my classroom in just a play format. We do have science, reading areas, math time and block play, manipulitives, art and so on. We work on these issues in order to set the tone for later life, however, we do place a high focus on social even within these items. Did that make any sense?
     
  4. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    May 28, 2011

    Art should be process based, it's the process not the finished final product. (think painting with fly swatters, or race cars, versus hand print turkeys, or jackolantern's that all look exactly the same.)

    What types of disabilities do your preschoolers have?

    I would use the boardmaker 30 day free trial that is on Mayor johnson's website to make and print a visual schedule for the three hours, labels, rule sheets for group time, outside, etc. and mini schedules, task schedules, what we do when we get to school (arrival), etc. You can also look on boardmaker share's website for activities, and things that are already made that you may be able to use. You can print these activities by using the boardmaker 30 day free trial to open them and print them. http://prekese.dadeschools.net/BMD/activityspecific.html

    An example schedule could be:
    Arrival
    Morning group: greetings, and sing a song, go over daily center activities
    Center time: different centers, change out every week, or every 2 weeks so students don't get board. base center activities on themes.
    Snack time: work on manners, saying please and thank you, etc.
    Bathroom time
    Outside/gym/large motor time
    Story time/saying goodbye for day
    Get stuff/dismissal
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    May 28, 2011

    WaProvider, I didn't mean to imply that I don't think socialization is importat. I was just saying, I don't really have any experience with that type of stuff at all. In general, I teach 2nd-5th graders in a pull out model, meaning they're being pulled out with me to work on specific academic skills. My friend told me that the preschoolers aren't even expected to know all the letters when they leave. I was just surprised by that because the K students are expected to read 40 wpm by the end of the year- what a big jump! What kinds of specific activities do you do that help work on the social skills? Do you tie the social/academic stuff together or do you have specific "play based" times and "academic" times?

    teacher12345- In my state the only thing preschoolers will be classified in is "preschooler with a disability" so it's really hard to say since their previous teachers couldn't put them into disability categories. I suspect that these students will have low cognitve skills if they are already "labeled" in preschool. I know I also have 3 TA's for I believe only 6-8 students, so that's got to tell you something. We do have a seperate "cog needs" program for students with severe disabilities, so these students were not "low" enough to qualify for that program, but I would bet their needs are fairly severe as far as learning disabilities go. We do have boardmaker at my school so I know what you're talking about there. I have used it to make picture schedules for students before. Thanks for posting your schedule- that looks like something I could handle. What types of things do you work on for centers? I assume with so many TA's I could just have each of us running some type of center...how often do students rotate and do they do each center every day or no?

    Mostly, I'm just looking for what a typical day would be like or what kinds of activities you would do. As I said, I really know nothing about how a preschool is run. Is it best to have a daily routine where students do the same types of activies every day? Can anyone else tell me what a typical day would look like in your classroom? What kinds of activities do you daily? Any other tips for working with preschoolers? I don't know if it matters, but this program is 3 hours a day 3 days a week for 6 weeks. I would bet there is probably some type of "snack" time, but I don't think we'll be eating lunch or anything. These are students who will be going into kindergarten in the fall. I know I'm asking a ton of questions, sorry! Any information at all would be appreciated- I want to go in as prepared as possible. I've also never worked with TA's before, so I'm a little nervous about that. I'd feel comfortable having a TA in my current position because I know exactly what I'm doing, haha, and I'd feel comfortable directing them in what to do. I'm a little nervous about being "in charge" of these other people that probably know more about preschool than I do!
     
  6. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    May 28, 2011

    Hi! I teach an inclusive preschool in a public school setting. Currently, I have 3 students on IEPs and 17 regular ed students. We are full day, so a little more than you need, but here is what our day looks like...

    8:30 - Arrival. The students wash hands, sign in and do their "work" boxes. (I can explain more about these, but basically it is a box with a specific task tailored to the student's need - fine motor activity, letter matching, etc.) After this, they can get a puzzle or manipulative to play with.
    9:00 - Morning Meeting. Runs pretty similar each day, greeting, looking at the day's schedule, calendar, weather
    9:30 - Large Motor Time (aka Recess)
    10:00 - Language Arts. We do a skill like letter recognition, rhyming game, etc. and then read a related story.
    10:30 - Art. Like the above poster said, very process oriented. Give them lots of choices of materials.
    11:00 - Lunch, Recess, Rest Time
    12:00 - "Social" studies (usually a cooperative game, acting out social situations with puppets, PBIS, something like that.)
    12:30 - Math in small groups
    The rest of our day is snack, recess and a special.

    With my sped kiddos, they have specific goals they are working on, very similar to what you mentioned like initiating play. I try to work these in through the day, but might also pull a small group to work on a skill like patterning if it is on the IEP. I don't ever work with them alone, because regardless, they always need social skills too, and the other kids can benefit from a smaller group with them. I keep their checklists on clipboards and progress monitor every two weeks.

    We do a TON of social skills work with everybody. We talk a lot about being kind. I do social stories with specific kids who need them, but sometimes with the whole group as well. They get lots of praise for doing things that make other people's "hearts happy." I just got the book "The Peaceful Classroom" and I am excited to use the activities in it - lots of games and such to teach how to get along.

    As for specific curriculum-type things, we do Handwriting Without Tears, but I don't stress out if they can't write their name at the end of the year. We do our best, and they will do it when they are developmentally ready. We talk about letters constantly, but again, I don't test them to see if they know them all when the year is out. I'm far more concerned with whether they can function in a group, line up, keep their hands to themselves, listen to a story, engage themselves in play and make friends.

    Whew! Sorry for the novel! Hope it helps, though.
     
  7. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    May 28, 2011

    My classes are for typically developing children, with a few special needs kids sprinkled in but here is my schedule - we always do things in the same order but times vary:

    9:00 - Arrival - free play
    9:30 - Morning Meeting
    9:45 - Centers
    10:45 - Music and Movement
    11:00 - Snack
    11:15 - Outside play
    11:50 - Wrap it up

    I also believe social and emotional skills are most important, but we we do a lot of process-oriented art, manipulatives, small motor stuff and lots of emergent literacy, math and science activities.

    Make it fun!
     
  8. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    May 28, 2011

    This is my preschool web site: www.mindgardenpreschool.com

    I give a lot of information abouot my daily structure and lessons on the site. I have been teaching 3 year-olds this year, but I think it would be helpful information for you as far as general classroom setup and routines. Just remember, times aren't important but structure is. If they are having fun with play-doh, don't stop them because it is 9:30 and time for circle. It can wait. What is important is that they have the same structure of routines so they always know what to expect. It helps immensely with transitions.

    Basically, most of the children's time should be free play. You will want to arrange the centers and move items around to work on different skills, and you will probably want to do circle and one structured activity a day. Over the school year you will want to work on various concepts to prepare them for elementary school not the least of which is functioning in a school-like atmosphere and socializing with others. If you can, talk to one of the local kindergarten teachers to get an idea of what they want children to know coming into K ,and slowly work over those kinds of concepts throughout the year. Keep it fun and hands-on as much as possible, make sure art is about process not product, and find ways to integrate learning into everyday routine. For example, we count to 20 when I am ready for the children to get off the swings so a new group can get on, or we will line up to go outside (against numbers on the wall) by rhyming. I say, "what rhymes with cat." and I will tell those that say a rhyming word which number to line up at.

    I hope that helps!
     
  9. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    May 28, 2011

    Way to go Sam I Am......you took the words right out of my mouth. Our Schedual....on paper isn't really that different than anyone else, however like samiam said, if they are thinking and talking I let things run into each other. That doesn't mean we skip circle. Just sometimes it is 5 min later than other times. As far as how do I set up social times, I make sure that several kids fit in a center. Meaning not only that there is enough supplies, but that there ONLY so many that they have to share. Share means converse and not wrestle. We play many board games for math time, again working in groups.

    I will think about how to put this into words...it is looking like a harder thing that I can do right now? I don't know why?
     
  10. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    May 28, 2011

    I will admit to not really doing lesson plans anymore. No one asks me for them, no one ever looked at them so why bother? I do general outlines of my months and weeks but everything can change so quickly in preschool that half the time they weren't valid anyway. I find it more helpful to be reflective of what worked and didn't and keep notes for myself.

    I guess the point of this post is that when you are planning, most every "subject" is integrated together. I have a very hard time with traditional lesson plans that think there should be a "reading" activity, "math" activity, science "activity, etc.

    How do I categorize what we are doing? For example, we counted plastic worms into "nests" with chopsticks to simulate birds' beaks. Was this math, or science, or fine motor, or social and emotional skills when they had to learn to take turns and not poke each other with the chopsticks, or language development because they were talking about different birds they had seen, or ????

    Does anyone else feel this way? Am I terrible?
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    May 29, 2011

    Thank you so much everyone for the input! This thread is really helpful! I think I at least have a decent idea of what my schedule would look like now.

    @scmom- I think on my lesson plans for this job, I would just put the time and the activity- I wouldn't necessarily need to classify it as "math" or "science" or whatever. I don't think anyone will be collecting mine either- I find for lp's its important to do what works for you. They're meant to guide your teaching, so you should put whatever you need for yourself. Usually my current lesson plans just follow a template of what groups I see and what time, and then I put a few bullet points about what I'll be doing with them. If I know its a testing week or something, I don't bother writing any. Really, whatever works for you.
     
  12. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    May 29, 2011

    I taught Pre-K ESY for two years and then they started making it harder for kids to qualify. Now we have to prove the kids either have 6 weeks of regression after a break period or be in a time of "critical" skill development.

    I teach a 2.5 hour preschool that is mixed special ed and general ed.

    Our day is: 9:00 - 9:10 arrival and sign-in or table toys.
    9:10 - 9:20 circle time (message, singing, announcements, schedule)
    9:20 - 9:30 - journals / dictations
    9:30 - 10:00 gross motor
    10:00 - 11:00 self-selected centers (small groups happen in this time too to target IEP goals)- centers include housekeeping, blocks, puzzles, art, easels, writing, reading, computers)
    11:00 - 11:15 - read aloud
    11:15 - 11:25 prepare for dismissal.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 29, 2011

    waterfall---when I worked with our preschool program for students with special needs, the morning and dismissal were the hardest times. Most of these students were not used to leaving their parent and would spend upwards of 30 minutes crying or not letting mom leave. We had a few students who wouldn't stop crying for most of the day.

    So we began everyday with an engaging activity that parents could do with their child and slowly leave the classroom.

    Not sure if you'll have this experience, but something to brace yourself.

    Another tip: have a schedule that is magnetic or velcro that the students can take down pieces or move pieces as you complete activities. Very visual and helped many of my students make it through the day.
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    May 29, 2011

    No, you aren't terrible. I feel this same way, however, I found that the web style lesson plan let me find a way to meld the things I was doing with areas better than the other organizers. I take those items like the bird/worm/nest/beak and I put in in all the areas! I write it out once and then make a symbol to refer to on the other lines.

    Someday when the lesson plans are meaningful to you again, try a different format. Until then, just know you are probably making a fine lp right in your brain!
     
  15. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    May 31, 2011

    Here's mine...

    8:30 arrival, table work (coloring/drawing/table toys/etc)
    8:45ish: music and movement (gross motor/get the wiggles out, sometimes I read a story here sometimes it's later)
    9ish: stations (usually we rotate between 3 centers, I run one and my TAs each run one, sometimes my SLP also pulls groups)
    9:30ish: circle- greetings, calendar, book, discussion, etc
    9:45ish: snack
    10ish: free choice centers
    11:00 dimissal
     

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