Importance of Play
Did you know that children actually LEARN through play? Play is a very important part of our classroom. Skills like running, jumping, spinning, digging, hopping, and climbing are all important to help your child's brain grow. We use play experiences to embed practice on IEP goals, social skills, behavior strategies, communication, and academics. I am strongly committed to spending time outside on the playground where kids can practice gross motor skills that get their brains ready for learning in the preschool classroom and in their academic future. Each day, we also spend time in "learning centers" when children have time to choose activities to explore in the areas of writing, reading, science, math, fine motor skills, and dramatic play. Learning centers time is also when we create classroom projects through Project Based Learning activities. The kids choose their topics, materials, and steps to co-create something together. Teachers assist by providing materials for the kids to consider, guiding the research and project development, helping to determine appropriate strategies to accomplish their goals, and helping the kids evaluate their progress.
Behavior Philosophy and Rationale
I believe that student behavior is based on the classroom environment that I create and the supports I have in place to monitor and adjust. It’s my responsibility as the special education teacher to help students LEARN behavior. To do that, we model and reinforce behaviors that promote student success. We facilitate problem solving, coach, and practice the appropriate behavior. If behavior concerns arise, we reflect as a team and often change ourselves or the classroom environment so that we can achieve the behavior results we desire in the classroom.
Every student is different and we create behavior strategies as needed for each individual child. Behavior strategies and supports are designed based on each child’s individual motivation. Strategies and supports change regularly as each child grows and matures. As a classroom team of teachers and paraprofessionals, we decide how each student needs feedback based on their individual strengths and goals.
Misbehavior mistakes are opportunities for LEARNING. Preschool students deserve encouragement rather than punishment. When appropriate, we utilize natural consequences or assist students to understand the importance of appropriate behavior through discussion and authentic practice.
We have a “calm down” area where students sit to receive coaching, but this area is not used in a punitive way. The goal is for students to go to calm down, listen for coaching, and return to the situation to practice the appropriate behavior.
In our classroom, we use Universal Design for Learning to help all kids be successful. Stamps are one example of strategies used for all students. When students are successful, they often earn stamps or stickers. Sometimes, we use this strategy to “planned ignore” students who are not being successful with behavior choices by rewarding those who are demonstrating the appropriate behavior.
Behavior in our classroom is a positive experience. At the end of the day, everyone earns a high five for being at school. Overall, it’s MY JOB as the teacher to ensure that every day is a great day for every student in my classroom. When kids are at school practicing behavior, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing and having a “good” day—even if their behavior is not perfect.
Scholastic Big Day Family Space
Our curriculum, Scholastic Big Day, offers a Family Space that aligns with our classroom activities. You can login to that space here.
The username is: DrJess
The password is: Preschool
Please let me know if I can help you access these materials or improve your use of them at home!