During learning centers is a great time of the day to place out engaging literacy center activities to help children build their letter knowledge and phonemic awareness. These activities need to be meaningful, hands on, flexible and be able to be completed by children independently.
Set out rich provocations with engaging materials that will draw children into each of the literacy centers to engage in their own learning. As you introduce and set out language and literacy provocations, you need to remember to scaffold children’s learning. Start out with name activities and then progress the activities along children’s learning domains.
How do you teach literacy activities?
Literacy is so much more than one thing, it's a combination of skills that get children to read and write. It is a combination of listening, speaking, reading and writing all rolled into one so it takes a combination of activities to prepare children for the task of reading.
What are some language and literacy activities for preschoolers?
Name Activities-A child’s name is the most important first word that a child will learn to recognize. The first letter of their name will be the first letter that they recognize as they shout out the words “Look T that is my name”.
Playdough Letter Cards- Not only is playdough fun but it is also a fun way for children to learn about forming their letters and building their fine motor skills.
Pinch and Cover Activities- These kinds of activities are a great way for children to begin to recognize and form letters while they build their fine motor skills.
Color the Room I Can Learn My Letters-This activity is by far one of my favorites. Color the room is a great way to get children up and moving around as they search around the classroom for different picture cards that begin with the same letter sound.
See how I have my color the room set up here.
Serving Up Flapjacks- If you have children that like to pretend to cook then they will enjoy playing this beginning sound and letter recognition game. Children will learn to serve up flapjacks by following an ordering ticket.
Find and Clip Cards-I love clipping task boxes because I can focus on one skill at a time. Matching letters, letters in their name, matching colors or even matching shapes.
Say Find Write Activities- I love having self check activities for the children to engage with during center time. This Say Find Write activity is a kid favorite but it’s also a teacher favorite.
Spin and Color- All children like to play games with spinners, that’s why this game is so engaging for them. It puts together two activities that children love to do, spin and color.
Pinch Find and Write- When you include a sensory bin with any activity children are going to dive right in and start learning. For this activity add letter or beginning sound picture cards into a sensory bin filled favorite filler. Have children use tongs or tweezers to pinch out cards.
Stamp and Write- All children love using stamps or stickers, sometimes you might find them in places that you wished they wouldn’t have stuck them, but just think they used their little fine motor skills to do it. Back to the peel stick and write activity. This activity is really simple to set up, all you need is a sheet of ABC stickers and a sheet of paper or you can grab the FREE PRINTABLE. Children pile stickers off of the sheet and place them on the sheet of paper, but they can’t stick another sticker until they have written the letter that they stuck.
Journal Writing Prompts- Journal prompt sheets are designed to actively engage your kiddos in the writing process to build their fine motor skills that will result in the progression of the penmanship skills.
Do you get the bad case of the hives every time you have to ring the bell for clean-up time?
I know that this transition time in the preschool classroom can be one of the most challenging parts of the preschool teachers day, but did you know that you can tame the chaos with just a few simple tips and tricks.
The first thing you need to remember about clean up time is that it begins with YOU! What do I mean by that?
It means that your classroom environment needs to be set up with children in mind. Your shelves need to have labels on them so that children know where to place items when it’s time to clean up. All toys need to have containers with labels of the items that go inside of each one. If there is no container then the shelf needs to have a clear picture of where that one item belongs.
At the beginning of the school year remember that less is more. Fewer things out on the shelves makes it easier for children to learn how to clean up.
Don’t have out your whole set of wooden blocks or it will be to overwhelming at the beginning of the school year when it’s time to put the block away. Gradually add items to centers as children become more proficient at the clean up process.
Now that your room is ready for all of your preschoolers to use and learn in, it’s time to think about what you want your clean-up time to look like.
How do you teach a preschoolers to clean up?
The key is to think about what clean up time looks like for you so that you can teach the children each of the steps in the clean up procedure. Knowing that you have a clear procedure of what is expected, it is time to teach children each of those steps and what it looks like. A good place to start introducing children to the concept of clean up time is during your morning meeting on the very first day of school. It’s never too early to start the process of what it should look like during clean-up time.
Teach the Clean Up Procedure- You could use a pocket chart visual for each of the steps
When adding new material for children to use, make sure that you introduce each of those items at your group meeting showing children how to use them and put them away. Once you have role modeled for them, choose some children to come up and practice the expectations of the new materials.
There will be times throughout the year that you will have to pull items from the shelves and remind them of their use or switch said item for something new that has been role modeled at a group meeting or small group setting.
Five tricks to get children to clean-up
Give a 5 Minute Warning- I like to walk around and give children a five minute warning. This allows children the time to wrap up what they are working on.
Take pictures of their creations- (turn pictures into books that can be found around the classroom). After the bell rings take time to walk around and take pictures of children’s work. This helps children feel like their hard work has been validated and they are more willing to clean up when the bell rings. During prep time print pictures and turn those pictures into center books. Children will use the pictures that were taken in the block center to try and reconstruct one of their past structures. Also children will be drawn to the classroom book of writing projects where they can practice and improve on their skill. Encourage all children to come to centers so they too can have their picture taken.
Clean Up Song for transition time- Clean up songs are a fun way to get the whole group involved together cleaning up as they sing and clean together.
Make a Game of It- When you have hesitant cleaner uppers make a game out of cleaning up and pretty soon you will have others in there helping. Not only that but the child that was hesitant will want to participate in the clean up game. I say that is a win-win for all.
How do I keep my preschool class clean?
Remember that you are their first role model in teaching preschoolers to clean up. When you have a well organized classroom that you take pride in, children are always there to rise to the occasion and take care of their classroom because you have shown them and taught them to care for their belongings, to care for one another and that they belong to the classroom community.
Why is clean up time important?
It is a great way to teach preschool children about responsibility and shows them the importance of helping others. It is important for children to understand that it might not be their mess, but helping others is the right thing to do and that their friends appreciate teamwork. When children learn to help one another it forms a dynamic classroom community where every child feels like a valuable member of their community. I mean isn’t that what every teacher strives to have in their classroom?
Clean Up Activities for Preschoolers
There are a lot of clean up activities for preschoolers that adults don’t have to do. Like cleaning up after themselves at the sensory table. Children can also be responsible for cleaning up their own paint items that they used at the easel so that they can be ready for the next child.
Clean Up Time Preschool
No hives here with these tried and true clean-up tips and tricks you will have a smooth sailing transition that will leave everyone happy.
As a preschool teacher planning for the school year can be a daunting task but if you plan out the school year it will help to relieve some of that unneeded anxiety that last minute planning can cause.
If you would rather watch the video version of this video I have you covered.
To make things a little simpler this year I created a FREE school year plan template to help your planning for next school year.
Why would you want to create a school year plan template?
Before I started mapping out the school year I would sit down on a Friday afternoon and try my best to figure out what to do for the following week. Did you catch the word TRY, ya well that never happened and I would end up planning through the weekend and missing out on valuable family time. That’s why I started creating this valuable resource for myself and my team. In the good old days I would use a thousand sticky notes and take up the kitchen table for weeks, but those days are over because I finally figured out how to do this planning process with a digital yearly planning template.
Steps to take for your school year plan and activities.
Planning for a successful academic year plan for school
I feel the most important part of the planning process is the second step which is where you think about and plan out all the themes for each month and mapping out the year. The important thing is to remember to find themes that you know children will be interested in. This is where the brain dump activity comes in handy for this process.
I know you are thinking she is going to plan out all of her weekly lesson plans. So let me put that to rest. I like to plan out my weekly lesson plan ideas a month in advance. What I include in my weekly lesson plans are the daily circle time activities, small group activities and learning center enrichments. I’m always referring back to the school year planning template that guides my planning process throughout each month. Without the school year plan template I would be a hot mess trying to figure out what to plan for next, and that would trigger my anxiety to the next level which isn’t good for anybody. That’s why I can’t live without my school year plan template.
Pre-plan and prep
Now it’s time for the fun stuff. Hunting and gathering items to enhance each of the learning centers based on the themes. Here is what I like to do to help streamline the planning process.
Booklist- I like to make two different booklists. One list with all of my personal books for each theme. (hardcopies and kindle) The second list is a list of books that I can borrow from the local library, which also includes the libby app for borrowing e-books for each theme.
Project Wish lists- Determine projects and sensory play activities that you will do for each of the themes. Come up with an item list, this list will come in handy when it’s time to collect the materials. A lot of times materials that you can use on projects are items that can be found around the home. You know the saying trash to treasure that is my motto for many of my child created activities and a lot of these items can be gathered from children’s families and or friends.
Delegate: Oftentimes parents and family members want to have a way to help out in the classroom and if you know what and how they can help it will relieve a little or a lot of stress. By determining what can be done by others in advance it gives you and the families plenty of time to hunt, gather and prepare for activities.
For example if you have your library list ready to give to a child’s family member they are usually more than happy to run to the library to pick up and drop off library books for the classroom.
Teachers always have a million things to do on any given day, but when prepared it’s simple to delegate simple tasks to others to help carry the workload.
Keep it Organized: The plus side of planning ahead is working smarter not harder. That’s why I like to keep everything in one place. Trello Boards are my go to organization tool that helps me do just that. This system allows me to have a sticky note free work zone and my organizational system can go with me wherever I go.
Grab your FREE school year plan template and start planning for next year. Your teacher self will thank you for an anxiety free school year.