Help new to teaching pre-schoolers!

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aerialriver

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May 4, 2009
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I am going to start helping at first then maybe teaching pre-school gymnastics. It is a 45 minute class and she needs the helps due to the number of kids and the fact that they are getting out of control. My job will be more to police them then to teach them at first. How do you go about that? I am not a parents and I don't know how gym parents expect their kids will be treated. If they act up how do you get them back in control? Any help would be wonderful!

Thank you,
Aerialriver
 
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aerialriver

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May 4, 2009
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How do you expect your little ones ages 3-5 to be treated at gym?

I am going to be helping with a pre-school gym class. I do not have children so I am at a loss :) They are asking me to do it mainly because the class is so large and the kids are out of control. My job will be to police them more than anything else. How does your gym do this? What is helpful to do when a child is acting up? What would you want me to do for your child if they are acting out? I just really need some ideas here! Any help would be great!

Aerialriver
 

bogwoppit

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In our 3-5 groups the parents stay and if their kid is acting up they are expected to step in and deal with them.

Keeping the ratio down, lots of stations and circuits, standing in line is a challenge for little ones. When moving around the gym make a train and move together, this makes it fun and keeps those little ones safe from the vault and tumling areas. Even makie the woo woo sounds as you go!

If the kids are occupied then they tend to be less trouble. Stickers or stamps on the hand for great behaviour is always a winner with that age group. Praise them and cheer their efforts. Positive reinforcement is huge and they will love to see what you can do as well.

Good luck, this age group is so much fun and they will very quickly become attatched to you and you will become someone very special very quickly. Ask any parent on here about their gymnasts early coaches and most of them will tell you just how special those coaches were to their little ones. You will learn quickly and it always becomes easier when you get to know the little ones.
 

canadiangymmom

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Jun 26, 2006
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Ontario, Canada
I didn't have one in gym this young, but spent 5 years volunteering weekly in a kindergarten class. From my experience, one of the best ways to keep the less focussed kids on task, is to notice and praise the ones who are. And for the children who aren't on task as often, look for any positive behaviours you can find, and offer LOTS of praise and recognition. Most kids this age want to please the special adults in their lives.

Good luck with your young little gymnasts, and congrats to your gym for recognizing the need for additional support, and providing it! Just having an extra set of hands will go a long way towards restoring order to your group.
 
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dannolynn

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hey aerial, i posted something to you on the "this week i accomplished post"
 

ginnymac

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Jun 26, 2008
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The best way to run preschool classes (in my opinion) is to do circuits or stations. They move from one to another and spend very minimal time in line. Jump on the hoops, roll down a wedge, hop to the mat, etc...have one station that needs to be spotted (more if you have more instructors) but let the other activities be independent.

When you must have them wait (for example to teach something the first time) I'd recommend using a visual cue. Carpet squares, spots and hulahoops all work well for this. Each child can sit or stand on their own one of these and it gives them a place to stay and provides a space that is their own so that they are not bothering another child.

Have a command phrase like "FREEZE" that they know and respond to. Practice "freezing" in many ways and at different times.

Good luck, be patient and stay positive. Ratios in this type of class should not get so large that the class is out of control. I love preschoolers!!!
 

Shan126

New Member
May 25, 2009
31
Kids tend to wander off or act up if they get bored. Keep the class fun while still maintaining authority is probably the best advice. They should understand that it is okay to have controlled fun, but if they misbehave there will be repercussions. Give warnings at first, if bad behavior continues let them know you might have to talk with mom/dad but you hope they will behave so you don;t have to (at this point they will probably stop) and lastly speak to the parents if their kids behavior is effecting others. Being honest with the parents and asking what discipline they would like you to use (such as sitting out for a few minutes) will be appreciated and you will know the parents are ok with it too. Giving positive reinforcement will help the kids stay on track and feel like they want to keep trying hard to impress you. I also find catch phrases like "1,2,3 eyes on me" or "freeze, hands on knees" helpful when sitting for directions. When moving from one place to the other pretend to be a train, plane, or animal and make the noises as you "fly" or "crawl" or "hop" over to the next area. - Goodluck!
 
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dannolynn

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the train thing is very helpful! we would use a jump rope sometimes, and all of the kids would hold onto it.
 

coachmolly

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Jan 18, 2009
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I taught some pre-school classes over the summer and was a miserable failure at it. But, the girl I work with has done it for years and does a really great job so I'll pass along some of her ideas.
She uses the 3 strikes and your out policy. Basically, if a kid is misbehaving in any way (running away, not following directions, etc.) she will count to 3 and give them a chance to get back in line or back on task. If she gets to 3, they get one strike. If they get up to 3 strikes, they have a time out. Usually we have one teacher who just goes to sit with them in time out, explain to them what they did wrong, why it was wrong, that kind of stuff. Of course, if the kid is fighting, hitting, or doing something else especially bad the consequences can be more immediate than giving them all 3 chances.
To get their attention she will say things like "If you're listening, touch your nose!" and then will repeat that with a different body part until everyone (or almost everyone) has caught on and seems to be listening.
And just demand respect from them from the beginning, you are the adult and an authority figure and you need to make them treat you that way. That's where I went wrong. I don't have a very commanding voice or presence and from that the kids knew they could get away with anything with me. I also felt bad about giving punishments because I was afraid the parents would be mad so I basically just gave a lot of empty threats that I think the kids picked up on. So you don't need to be mean or yell or anything, just be firm enough so they know you are in charge and they need to listen to you.
Good luck! I hope you do better than I did!
 

bogwoppit

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I merged the two threads as it will be more useful to have the answers together.
 

CreateMagic

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If the class is large (sounds like it is) see if you can break them into two groups, no larger than six per instructor. Give your group two "stations" at a time; stay at one, and be sure you are very close to and can easily see the other station. Kids that age developmentally cannot remember more than one or two things at a time. If you have a larger obstacle course, try to focus on one main skill and think of the other points along the course as a way to get around and back to you without getting lost. Not that what you have them do along the way isn't important--walking across a floor beam, bear walking through cones, or tuck jumping into a series of hula hoops for example--but it should be something that doesn't require remembering a whole bunch of little points and corrections and skills and directions (a large, empty section of floor along the way that you may use to practice handstands with older kids is now an invitation to wander to those super cool balance beams two feet over). Always station yourself to where you can see every child easily.

When you are talking to the kids, try to get down to their level. Literally. Kneel down, look them in the eyes. Watch your voice level, and when possible, speak softly. The best way to keep a group under control is to gain their trust...they'll want to please you and you'll have more luck with other strategies you implement.

Rhyme. Use songs. Add sound effects. On the tramp, "freeze, bend your knees" is a good way to help the kids remember how to stop. Someone mentioned using "1 2 3, eyes on me!" to get their attention. You can add onto that--have them respond back, "1, 2, eyes on you!" and have them point to you. Or try a clapping rhythm: x x xxx (ok, that's difficult to explain in writing!!) You do it, then they repeat it. Or "if you can hear me, touch your nose. If you can hear me touch your head. If you can hear me, cover your mouth" or some version of that. All these things can help you get a groups attention without ever having to raise your voice.

Praise, praise, praise. Kids inately want to please you. If a child is misbehaving, point out children who are doing good things. "I like the way Susie is stretching like a big girl. I like how Jeremy is using good listening ears. Look how well Anna is standing in line for her turn!" Typically, the misbehaver will fall into place quickly--(s)he is not getting attention and wants yours now.

I'll keep thinking. I know I have some great articles around somewhere too that I'll look for.
 

gymdog

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Be really specific, but as simply as possible. And repeat every time. For example, EVERY time I have my classes walk from one part of class to the other, I repeat "we're only walking on the carpet" (i.e. don't get on any equipment). When we do warm up in the beginning, I constantly repeat that we are only running on the carpet. This gives them a guide.

Another tip someone else recently gave me is if a child has trouble waiting their turn and doesn't seem to understand the concept of the line or taking turns, you need to make it simpler and turn it into something like "don't let your body touch hers" or "don't go on the mat until she is over there." If they don't yet understand they need to wait, which some of the 3 year olds don't, saying "it's so and so's turn" doesn't really mean that much.

Some kids you need to just keep with you. It's inevitable. Some kids require near constant correction. Just stay cheerful and don't let things go by. The gym is overwhelming for some kids and it can be a lot to ask for them to remember everything, listen, not touch things, etc.
 
Feb 18, 2009
131
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"If yoou hear me clap once"

I teach a dance class,to make kids listen I will whisper "if you hear me clap once", then twice, then 5 times to see if they are really listening.
 
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