Easy Way to Plan Preschool Programs
Planning programs for your preschool or kindergarten can be an exciting part of your weekly or monthly routine, but it can also be time consuming. Our ABC Method can help you sort and compile activities that will be available for scheduling when you need them.
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There are so many wonderful options available for kids activities. From stacking blocks and planting seeds, to sorting shapes and painting with spools, parents and teachers can provide amazing opportunities for learning through play.
But scheduling activities and preparing a program require a generous potion of your time. This ABC Method is an easy way to jump start the planning process.
What is the ABC Method
A = Activity B = Book C = Craft
The name of our planning method reflects key components of an early learning program. These are the teacher-led scheduled activities that provide children with new or familiar experiences in small group settings.
While the planned activities are initially teacher-led, it its the positive response and engagement of the children in your care that turn any activity into a fun, hands-on learning opportunity.
Activity: fine motor or gross motor activities
Activities can be gross motor, such as indoor bowling, or fine motor, such as sorting shapes. They are introduced one on one or in a small group setting with hands-on participation.
Book: traditional and creative story telling
Reading a traditional book at story time can be a familiar and calming part of your daily routine. It is an opportunity to introduce or augment a theme, and may be extended with a related activity, such as role-playing The Three Bears after reading the book together.
Telling stories can also be done in other ways, such as puppet shows or charades.
Craft: creativity with arts and crafts
Arts and crafts sessions provide hands-on opportunities to imagine and create with paper and crayons, glitter and glue, and other materials such as play dough and paint.
Balance craft tutorials with process art experiences to engage kids creativity along with fine motor and language skills.
The ABC method makes program planning easier in two steps!
1. Compile content from various sources:
- create original content
- visit libraries
- purchase written material
- search online
2. Plan a program:
- access activities from compiled content to schedule in a daily/weekly planner
1. Use the ABC method to build content!
Create a storage system that is easy to use. Retain information in a digital spreadsheet or Google doc, or as a hard copy in a 3-ring binder. Keep a small notebook with you to jot down ideas anytime of day to be added later to your resource file.
Sort content by theme. Themes provide platforms for sorting content. You can start with broad categories such as 'seasons' and 'animals', then become more specific with sub-categories such as 'leaves' and 'dinosaurs'.
Here is an example of how to build content:
A = activity
- Science: cut open an apple to find the star and seeds; weigh apples; sort by color
- Song: Way Up High in a Tree (gross motor movements)
- Game: hot potato with an apple; takeaway (small group)
- Freeze game (gross motor)
B = book
- 10 Apples Up on Top
- Apple Farmer Annie
- Fancy Nancy
C = craft
- apple 'star' painting
- lacing apples
- apple stencils
You can separate activities into ‘gross motor’ and ‘small group’ activities, or include a category for special events, field trips or snack options.
The categories you make will depend on your preferences and range of activities offered.
This sample chart shows how you can create thematic units and store content.
You can also add links or sources, and even a column for comments to edit or improve the activity in the future.
Continue adding relevant content to your selected categories as you find or create activities.
2. Use the ABC method to plan a program in minutes!
Following are two days of an 'Apple' unit illustrating the ABC Method.
Activities are chosen from the content compiled in the table above.
Apple Theme - Monday
- Song with actions: (tune: I love You, You Love Me)
Way up high, in a tree, Five red apples smiled at me. So I shook that tree as hard as I could, Down came the apples – mmm, mmm good!
- Sort apples by color and size.
- Sesame Street Down on the Farm
- Apple prints:
Apple Theme - Tuesday
- Freeze game: place numbered cardboard apple shapes on the floor. Play music while kids walk in the spaces between the apples. When the music stops, each participant jumps on an apple and calls out the number. Place the apples on the floor and continue play.
- Play the ‘Takeaway Game’ with a number of apples in different colors.
- Little Mouse and the Big Red Apple by A.H. Benjamin
- Apple puzzle:
This is just a sample of what you can do with the ABC Method of program planning.
As early learning teachers and parents you are both educator and care giver. Your day is occupied with preparing, supervising, teaching, and playing! It is my hope that the ABC Method will make scheduling of daily activities easy and stress-free.
No two early learning programs will be the same, even with similar activities. How programs are scheduled and delivered will vary according to teaching styles, early learning environment, and, of course, the spontaneous, creative responses from the children!
Use the ABC Method to build content, plan programs, and make every day an amazing hands-on learning adventure for you and the kids.
Books with amazing content!
Follow our Curriculum Pinterest board for more thematic units and planning options.