“She looks like her own little self,” said my aunt. Several relatives observed my baby niece and commented on whether she looked like her mother or father. My aunt declared that this baby looked like her own unique self.
Not only is each preschooler unique in the way she or he looks, but each preschooler is unique in his development. Each develops at his own rate. Though each preschooler is unique, there are some broad characteristics that are common to preschoolers in general.
Preschoolers are active and curious. Do you see these characteristics in your preschoolers? How do we teach preschoolers best because of these characteristics?
It almost goes without saying that preschoolers are active. From the small baby waving her arms and legs to the kindergartner who runs and climbs, it seems that preschoolers are always on the move. We can provide activities that encourage preschoolers to move as part of their learning.
- Provide space for preschoolers to move.
- Plan activities in which preschoolers use large muscles, such as kicking a soccer ball at a goal or building with large blocks.
- Provide activities in which preschoolers move objects: puzzles or matching games.
- Sing a movement song.
- During the story, have preschoolers make a movement when they hear a certain word.
Preschoolers are curious and want to know how things work. They are inquisitive with lots of questions. Use their curiosity by helping them explore things for themselves.
- Encourage preschoolers to ask questions.
- Allow preschoolers to investigate their own answers.
- Ask preschoolers open ended questions, such as “How did that work?”
- Provide materials that encourage preschoolers to investigate more than one way to use the materials.
- Allow preschoolers to repeat an activity to see how it happened.
Joye Smith is the national WMU preschool ministry consultant.
This article first appeared in June-July-August 2023 Mission Friends Leader. Each quarter of Mission Friends Leader, the curriculum piece for preschool missions discipleship, provides practical information on working with preschoolers, achieving effective teaching and learning opportunities, and growth and development of preschoolers.