Lesson plan developed by Aurora Tollestrup BS Ed.
* Lesson plan objective and assessment can be adapted to use this activity with preschoolers.
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*Note: Consider items carefully as some may present a choking hazard for some students. Always supervise young children closely.
Note: Please provide appropriate supervision to the children in your care when completing all activities. You will need to decide what types of activities are safe for the children in your care. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when providing art and sensory experiences for children. Toddlers require special caution, only use non-toxic materials, and do not allow toddlers to put things in their mouths that are a choking hazard.
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Student-Led Childcare Programs
Childcare programs can use student-led learning to support their current program in several simple ways. One suggestion is to allow children to help decide what kind of activity centers they have at their disposal. Perhaps at recess a group of children are often sifting through sand looking for “treasure.” An observant teacher may use that interest that the children show to create a sand table activity center in the classroom, complete with sifting baskets, shovels, and pretend pieces of gold.
Another option is to adjust the dramatic play areas based upon what the children are interested in. Do they enjoy a specific book during circle time that could easily be translated to a dramatic play center? Perhaps a recent field trip to the zoo has inspired a zookeeper themed dramatic play center. Likewise, a probing question from a child about a recent dentist appointment may instigate a lesson or activity about dental health.
A very simple way to include student-led learning in a child care program is to observe the way the children play and interact together. If they all seem to be interested in pretending to ride horses at recess time, you can include a book at circle time about horses. From there the children may be curious about what horses eat and where they live which may then turn into an interest in farm animals. Adapting the learning and activities to follow the student’s lead isn’t losing control of the classroom, but is using their interests to guide their learning to meet the standards that the teacher or center determines.