After teaching, and directing preschool for a combination of over 35 years, Mikki Rainney has learned a thing or two about how to be a fantastic preschool teacher. She has compiled a few simple tips to turn yourself from a good teacher into an amazing teacher.
Give the difficult children more of your heart.
When preschoolers hit, and when toddlers bite it can make your relationship with those children strained. Instead of allowing the actions of that child to receive negative attention, punishments, or consequences make that child your very best friend. Turn it into your daily mission to give them as much attention as you can. Make them your helper, give them jobs and responsibility. Be mindful that this child doesn’t stand out amongt the group, while allowing them to feel special
When we get the root of behavior problems we can work collaboratively to find solutions and coping strategies.
Turn your classroom into your personal paradise.
Since you spend the majority of your day here, take ownership over your space and make it comfortable and cozy. If you enjoy nature bring live plants into the room. If you love the color blue, drape sheer blue fabric from the ceiling. Use the tiny artists in your class to make wall-quality masterpieces. Give yourself a comfortable spot to sit and relax. When your space is comfortable and functional you will be happier. Your happiness will make your students enjoy the space more too. While designing your paradise keep in mind that your room should be a yes environment for your students. The majority of what they can reach should be for them.
Make your classroom a place you want to be.
Modify behaviors instead of altering the environment.
Don’t sacrifice the paradise you just built. Instead of blocking sections of your room or removing centers, teach the children what areas are for them and when. Teach them to only go in the bathroom when it’s their turn. Let them realize the natural consequence of throwing toys outside of the baby gate- they don’t have them anymore. Use redirection when the children are not making good choices. Minimizing the toys in the classroom can make your children better engage with each option. Rotate the toys frequently to keep the environment interesting.
Keep in mind that the environment is the third teacher, so let your classroom facilitate further learning.
Open up honest communication with everyone.
An important part of happiness is being able to speak freely with the people around you. In any given day you are communicating with parents, students, co-workers, directors, and everyone else who uses your campus. Talk to these people honestly. If we talk about the positives it makes it so much easier to deliver the negatives. Tell the parents a cute story about their child, ask them about their weekend or plans for the week. Talk to the children about your feelings, hobbies, and interests. Let your directors feel a genuine connection with you, they will understand you better and work hard to meet your personal needs. Work through your struggles remembering that it is easier to solve problems right away.
Always remember that no one has telepathy, so voice your success and struggles out loud so everyone can celebrate or problem solve with you.
We hope that these simple tips are easy to implement in your own classroom. We hope that you find the tools you need to be the very best preschool teacher you can be. When you find the tools that work you will be happy. When you are happy you can provide a loving, educational, and fun environment for your students.