February 20, 2023

15 Effective Preschool Classroom Management Strategies

By B&SC Blog Team

15 Effective Preschool Classroom Management Strategies

Teaching preschoolers can be an incredibly fulfilling career, but it does have its challenges. When you’re in charge of teaching a classroom full of preschool kids, it’s important to know how to maintain a good learning environment. This helps your students focus on what they’re doing and learning while also making it easier for you to hold their attention. Having the right environment can also help students feel safe and encourage them to do their best.

You can expect problems to occur from time to time, such as conflicts between students or students having a hard time accomplishing certain tasks. Knowing how to manage your classroom through different strategies can help you successfully handle these challenges and prevent problems from occurring.

Preschool Classroom Management Tips

From teaching methods and organization to behavior management and conflict resolution, the following tips can help you manage your preschool classroom.

1. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful and effective way to help preschoolers learn how they should behave in class. This involves giving them a reward for positive behavior. When you do this, you’re building a connection between good behavior and rewards. This encourages kids to keep behaving in a positive manner. For example, you can add a sticker on a chart each time a student displays good behavior. When they earn a certain number of stickers or fill up a row on the chart, give them a reward for their behavior. Positive reinforcement works by rewarding good behaviors rather than punishing bad behaviors.

2. Assign Class Jobs or Roles

Giving preschool students jobs or roles to perform can help them feel like they’re contributing while also teaching them responsibility. Examples of class jobs or roles these kids can handle include class librarian, paper monitor, door holder, hall monitor, mailboxes, and clean-up monitor. Use a job chart to keep track of which students have which jobs, and change these up from time to time so that every student has a chance to participate. Changing jobs also gives students the opportunity to handle different roles throughout the year.

3. Plan Fun, Short Break Activities

Preschool kids love learning, but their brains need a break from time to time. Otherwise, they might start to feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Adding short, fun breaks throughout the day is a great way to give their brains a rest from learning every so often. You can plan different break activities, such as singing a song, playing a quick game, doing a few exercises for physical activity, or having them do a DIY activity. These breaks help preschool kids feel refreshed and ready to get back to learning.

4. Include Calm-Down Activities or Space

Preschoolers tend to have a lot of energy, so it’s important to provide them with a space or activities to help them calm down. You might use this space or an activity when your students need to calm down at the end of the day before getting ready to leave or after running around outside during recess. Having a space or activities to calm down also helps when students are feeling angry or upset. Consider setting up a space in your classroom where students can go to calm down. Or provide activities they can do that encourage relaxation. For example, you might have students sit while you read a fun book to them or give them coloring books to color.

5. Use Kid-Friendly Labels

To help keep your classroom organized and make it easy for students to find items, place kid-friendly labels on bins and other containers, as well as shelves. Use colorful labels with bold print that they can easily notice. You might also want to label different areas of your classroom with kid-friendly labels, so your students will know where to go throughout the day, depending on which activity they’re doing. Keep in mind that preschool students who are just learning to read might need help understanding these labels at first. Consider putting images on them to act as a visual guide.

6. Split Up Your Class into Smaller Groups

Putting students into smaller groups comes in handy for certain activities. When students are in smaller groups, they can work together on a learning activity, which helps them work on cooperating with others. Arrange chairs and tables or desks into groups, then use labels or stickers to help students know where to go, depending on which group they’re in. Consider switching up groups from time to time to give them a chance to work with different students throughout the year.

7. Come Up with Routines

Having a routine helps preschool kids feel secure, which can help reduce anxiety and stress in your classroom. Routines also help your students learn what is expected of them and what they should be doing at any given time. When coming up with a classroom routine, make sure the times for each activity are appropriate for preschoolers. For example, avoid having them spend too much time doing one activity, since they can become bored or distracted. Go over your classroom routine with your students at the beginning of the year, so that they’re able to learn it.

8. Create Class Schedules They Understand

Visual class schedules with images are a great way for preschool students to see what they’re supposed to be doing. Create class schedules that catch students’ attention, and place these in one or more areas where students can easily see them. For example, you might hang a class schedule in the front of the room or put a schedule in each small group area. Having images on these schedules can help students understand what they should be doing and when they should be doing it.

9. Mark Spots in Class

Preschool students might have a hard time figuring out where they’re supposed to go for different activities during the day. Clearly mark different spots or areas in your classroom, so that your students will be able to know where they should be. For example, you might use lines on the floor to mark waiting lines where students line up for lunch, recess, or other activities. Other markings you might use include circle time spots, table time spots, and different centers for learning activities, such as reading or math.

10. Take Feedback from Your Students

When it comes to improving classroom management, your students can provide valuable input. Talk to your preschoolers about issues that come up or ask for their opinions on activities, schedules, and other elements of your classroom. Hearing what works and what doesn’t work for your students can help you make improvements as needed. For example, you might adjust your class schedule if an activity seems too long for them. Keep student feedback in mind when coming up with lesson plans as well, so that you can modify those when needed.

11. Allow Students to Express Themselves

Preschool students should feel comfortable expressing themselves and talking about how they’re feeling. This can help you handle conflicts or other problems that make students upset or angry in the classroom. Encourage your students to express their feelings in an appropriate way, such as creatively through art or music. You might allow them to sit in a safe space until they feel calmer.

12. Set and Model Expectations

Your students look to you for guidance when it comes to their behavior. It’s important to set expectations for your students and model those expectations for them. Practice kindness, sharing, and other positive behaviors, so that your students learn to follow your example. You might also set and model expectations, such as being patient, listening to others, and showing respect.

13. Practice Empathy

Preschool can be stressful for students at times. Keep in mind that preschool might be the first time that students are in a setting with a group of other kids for a few or more hours a day. Practice empathy as your students learn to adjust to being preschoolers or deal with new situations that might be stressful or upsetting for them. Having empathy and understanding can help your students feel calmer and more at ease in your classroom.

14. Leverage Your Personal Strengths

When it comes to managing your classroom, think about your personal strengths. Use those strengths as part of your strategies for classroom management. For example, if you’re highly artistic, make use of those skills when labeling your classroom or coming up with creative activities for students to do. If you excel at communicating with others, put your communication skills to use when handling conflicts between students.

15. Remember – Every Kid Is Different

While your classroom management strategies can be effective, keep in mind that every student is different. You might find that you need to adjust your approach to classroom management for certain students based on their personality or other factors. Be flexible enough to recognize when to make adjustments for your students, whether you’re coming up with lesson plans or creating classroom activities.

Start Your Early Childhood Educational Journey Today

If you’re eager to start working on your career path in early childhood education, consider Bryant and Stratton College. We offer education degree programs and diplomas to help prepare you, such as the Early Childhood Care and Development Diploma and Early Childhood Education Associate of Applied Science Degree. Our degree programs and diplomas are designed to help you gain the skills and knowledge needed for a rewarding career in early childhood.

Request more information to find your program and learn more about our admissions process

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