Early Childhood Lesson Plans and Programs

When children enter an early education program, it is an important moment in their lives because it's their first experience with a school setting. Early education teachers should make learning as enjoyable as possible through the use of hands-on activities and kinesthetic learning. Keep reading for information about lesson plans and programs that are designed for young children.

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Early Childhood Programs

Early childhood programs prepare students for elementary school by teaching basic cognitive, language and social skills. These skills are the foundation for succeeding in school. Young children are learning each day by exploring and discovering the world around them. Early education programs should help foster this natural curiosity for learning through fun games and activities.

Language and Listening Skills

Early childhood programs help kids build and develop language skills, such as vocabulary and verbal communication, which are important for literacy success. Through the use of role-playing, reading books and discussions about many different topics, children build the background knowledge they need to learn to read.

Children also learn how to listen and follow directions through simple, daily activities. The ability to pay attention to what the teacher is saying is a behavior that's expected of elementary students. Listening also helps kids build vocabulary, comprehension and fluency, which are building blocks for learning literacy skills.

Basic Number and Letter Recognition

Students are taught the letters of the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes through games, worksheets and activities. Becoming familiar with these basic reading and math concepts will help students build a solid foundation for elementary school. The key is for children to understand the difference between number and letter symbols.

Fine Motor Skills

Developing fine motor skills is another important concept taught in early education programs. Writing, coloring, cutting and gluing are all skills that students in elementary school use daily. Through crafts, art projects and writing activities, kids develop the muscles needed for fine motor skill development. Students with poor fine motor skills may struggle in school because they will not have the ability to write legibly or perform other functions needed in daily school activities.

Lesson Plans for Young Children

Young children have short attention spans; therefore, quick and fun activities will hold their attention and allow them to learn. When explaining the directions for games and activities, be sure to make your explanations simple and easy to understand. Complex directions may confuse young children. Lessons should be interactive so that children can move around and use their senses to learn.

Green, Yellow and Red

Before school starts, hide a few items in the room. Next, call on a student to go out of the room for one minute (give her a timer so she knows when to come back in). Show the rest of the kids the hiding place of one of the items. When the student comes back into the room, tell the other students to help her find the object by saying 'green' when she's very close to where it is hidden, 'yellow' when she is somewhat close and 'red' when she's not near it at all. Have her go around the room trying to find the object with the guidance of her classmates. Keep playing the game using different students as 'finders' until all the objects are found.

Goldfish Grab

Get some fish-shaped crackers. Next, have each child make a 2-dimensional fishbowl out of construction paper. You may need to use a fishbowl template that the kids can cut out. Then, have each child grab a handful of crackers and glue them into their bowl.

Once all the crackers are all glued to the bowl, have the students count their crackers and write the number on top of their bowls. When everyone is done, ask the children to line up and try to put their goldfish projects in numerical order. Have a discussion about who has the most, who has the least and who has the same amount of goldfish crackers.

Pushpin Design

Help build fine motor skills with this fun activity. Using a large sheet of paper, draw a picture with a thick, black outline. If there is a holiday coming up, try to find a template with that theme. For example, if it is Valentine's Day, find a template of a giant heart. Next, give each child a pushpin (this requires careful adult supervision) and put the paper on the carpeted floor.

Have the kids to use the pushpins to poke holes along the thick black lines. The holes should be about a 1/2 inch apart. When everyone is done, hold the picture they made up to window. The light will shine through the holes and it will look very pretty.

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