Easy Way to Plan Preschool Programs
Plan your preschool or toddler program in minutes with this simple method. Our ABC Method can help you sort and compile activities that will be available for scheduling when you need them.
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As early learning teachers and parents your day is occupied with teaching, supervising, nurturing, and playing! This commitment is only possible with careful planning and organization..
Planning can be an exciting part of your weekly or monthly routine, but it can also be time consuming. Choosing and organizing activities for your early learning program require a generous potion of your time. Any steps you can take to make your job easier are a bonus.
It is my hope that the ABC Method will make compiling and planning daily activities easy and stress-free.
A.B.C method for planning preschool programs
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.
No two early learning programs will be the same, even with similar activities. How programs are chosen. scheduled and delivered will vary according to teaching styles, early learning environments, time restraints, and ages, interests, and skill levels of the children.
It's the response and engagement of the children in your care that turn any activity into a positive, hands-on learning experience. But teachers and parents will agree that activities promoting learning through play are best for early learners.
Key components of an early learning program are reflected in the the letters A.B.C. used to name our planning method.
A = Activity B = Book C = Craft
These general categories support early childhood development with everyday activities. Each experience provides early learners with new or familiar experiences, in independent play and in small or large group settings.
Activities can be sorted with this simple chart.
If you want to use this chart multiple times. place it under a transparent plastic cover that can be printed on with a wipe-off marker.
Classroom teachers may have a weekly planner made available where activities are inserted according to a daily schedule. This will supplement or replace the ABC printable chart offered above.
Here are the categories explained in more detail.
Activities can be gross motor, such as indoor bowling, or fine motor, such as sorting shape cutouts on the felt board.
They can be teacher-led, such as reading a book during circle time, or child-led, planting seeds during hands-on small activities.
Activities may be introduced one on one or in a small or large group setting.
Include at least one or two titles daily. Even with a scheduled book reading at circle time, other opportunities may occur throughout the day when reading is welcome and appropriate.
While story time generally takes the form of a traditional book, explore creative story telling methods such as a puppet show or role-play.
For example, story time can be extended by role-playing The Three Bears after reading the book together.
Arts and crafts sessions provide opportunities to imagine and create with a wide variety of art supplies and mediums.
Include basic materials like paper and paint, glitter and glue, crayons and markers, as well as ribbon, yarn or stickers for more sensory and fine motor art opportunities. Provide other mediums such as play dough, kinetic sand, and modeling clay for more creative play options.
Balance craft tutorials with process art experiences to engage kids in a variety of creative opportunities.
How to use the A.B.C. Method to plan programs
The ABC method makes program planning easy with just two steps!
Step 1. Compile content.
- Create original content.
- Visit libraries.
- Purchase written material.
- Search online.
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, or store on your mobile device. Add later to your resource file.
Sort content by theme or topic. Themes or topics provide platforms for organizing and 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'. You can sort by learning skill such as fine motor or gross motor, math or literacy, sensory or pretend play.
This sample spread sheet shows how you can create thematic units and store content.
You can add columns to separate entries in the Activity section into gross motor and small group activities, or label each entry with skill category such as fine motor, sensory or math, or special events like field trips. The categories you create will depend on your preferences and range of activities offered.
- You can also add links or sources, lyrics to songs, instructions for games.
- You might like to add a column for comments, to alter or improve an activity in the future.
Continue adding relevant content to your selected categories as you find or create activities.
Here are links to some of the activities we've used in the spread sheet.
Step 2. Plan a week of activities in minutes!
- Choose a theme or topic.
- Select activities from the category in your storage file.
- Add activities to a simple chart or planner.
Early learning teachers and homeschooling parents can use the ABC method to organize the activities they've chosen for the week. This will show them at a glance the various learning skills that are being supported through everyday play.
Following is an example of how apple activities listed in the spread sheet are inserted into a planner using the ABC Method. This chart is editable for your convenience.
These are some of the activities used in the ABC planner.
Song (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!
- 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.
- Alternately, ask "Who's on number 3?"
- Place several apples of different colors on the table. Cover with a cloth.
- Reach under the cloth to remove one apple without participants seeing which one is removed.
- Uncover the remaining apples. Guess which one is missing.
This is just a sample of what you can do with the ABC Method of program planning. It's designed to be an easy way to jump start the planning process. Let the ABC Method help you build content and organize activities so you can look forward to spending more time stacking blocks, planting seeds, and painting pictures.
Make every day an amazing hands-on learning adventure for you and the kids!
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