This week's guest blog post is written by Rebecca Nicholls a PreK- Grade 4 Education major at California University of Pennsylvania. We met online and at a few conferences I know you are going to love this post all about her experience in the preschool over summer! ☀
Where is your favorite place to spend your summer as a preservice teacher on break?
Mine is in the preschool room at the daycare where I work. Here, my days are full of sunshine, laughter, play, hugs, and learning- yes learning, even when preschool class is not in session. The summer learning that occurs through play and arises naturally through conversation is preparing my daycare class to shine in preschool this September.
Ensure success for your child this upcoming school year by following these 5 tips:
1. Keep a consistent routine
Set up and follow a daily schedule that mimics a typical preschool schedule. Allow children to practice routines such as eating snack at the same time each day, cleaning up toys before leaving an area, and gathering at the ABC rug for story time. This way, classroom transitions that were once dreaded will become a breeze in the fall.
2. Read, read, read!
Provide ample opportunities for children to explore reading through books and environmental print. Though many 3- and 4- year olds will not yet be reading independently, it is still important to have a classroom library that children can openly engage with. Additionally, teachers can model good reading habits through read-alouds each day.
In March, I challenged myself to spread literacy into the homes of the children I work with. With the help and permission of my director, I set up a bookshelf in the learning center full of donated children’s books that can be taken home. Now, the children can extend their love of reading and learning to their own homes and families all summer long!
3. Engage children with a theme
A summer-long theme is just what it took to motivate my daycare class to keep their brains sharp this summer. Themes allow children to dive deeper and deeper into one area of study and really embody the learning that is occurring.
This summer, our students dove deep into the ocean through read-alouds of Rainbow Fish books by Marcus Pfister, jellyfish crafts, octopus counting activities, seashell observations, and more. Other fun themes include outer space, jungle, owls, superheroes, and camping. No matter the theme, learning is sure to follow!
4. Go outside
Take advantage of the warm weather and sunshine by going on walks, playing at the playground, or taking class field trips. Not only does going outside let kids burn off energy and practice gross motor skills, but it also offers countless opportunities to learn. On the playground, children practice social skills such as waiting in line and sharing with others. Children develop writing skills as they draw with chalk on the sidewalk, or sharpen number skills as they recite their numbers during a game of hopscotch.
5. Build relationships
At the end of the day, the children in your care are there for a reason- to feel safe, loved, and valued. In order to learn, children need a role model that encourages them to try new things and promotes a growth mindset along the way. Be sure to recognize their strengths and praise little victories. Those brief displays of positive behavior or perseverance at a hard task will become more frequent if the child is recognized for them. All children want to make their teacher proud of them, and that starts with knowing the child in your care.
I’d love to hear how you keep learning “afloat” in your home or classroom during the summer. Feel free to share your ideas below or connect with me on Instagram!
Rebecca Nicholls is a PreK- Grade 4 Education major at California University of Pennsylvania. She is active on campus through leadership roles in the local chapter of Student PSEA, the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi, and Cal U’s Career and Professional Development Center. Rebecca works to inspire the next generation of learners as an Assistant Group Supervisor at EUM Early Learning Center.
Professional Instagram: @rnicholls_edu
Friends, remember you have the EduMagic in YOU!