Early Childhood Education is an important time for children. They learn so many things at that age. Erin Custer has worked for many years with preschool and Transitional Kindergarten students. She says that young children learn through play and engagement. In this informative episode, you will learn great practices for teachers and parents to help young children learn and thrive.
Erin started her education at Cal State Long Beach. She wanted to be a teacher and got her degree in early childhood education. She worked at a preschool and then studied at National University to get her multiple subject credential.
Follow Erin on Instagram: www.instagram.com @classroomsandcats
She started working at an early childhood education center where she taught Transitional Kindergarten and has now been working in a school for 6 years.
Learning through Play
Erin says it took a couple years for her to talk to administration and parents to get them on board with the idea of learning though play.
As a full time TK classroom, the students are there all day.
Her lesson plans use “morning tubs.” They have Legos to build with that show a pattern and kids can then build something to match the pictures.
There is a creation station with supplies for them to get creative.
They give suggestions for things kids can create.
Teachers guide their learning, but kids get to decide what to do and how to learn. It’s important for kids to have the opportunity to decide.
It’s a lot of hands on because kids learn when they’re engaged.
Providing the opportunity for them to get engaged makes it fun. “My main goal was to bring fun back into the classroom,” Erin says.
We offer dramatic play for them to act out things they see in the community.
They get to talk to each other, share, and other skills.
Developmentally, they are truly learning.
Reading and writing comes later.
Early education is the stepping stone for children to become confident in their abilities.
Learning and Preparing
They follow Preschool learning foundation and CA common core standards so they are introduced to the standards they will see in Kindergarten.
They use manipulatives and hands on learning to prepare them for what will come in Kindergarten.
The kids walk away understanding what is being taught, and prepared for their further education.
Lessons Learned in Teaching
1. Be Flexible
Sometimes as a teacher, you plan an amazing lesson but it just doesn’t go well, so you always need a backup plan to keep them engaged.
2. It’s okay to ask other teachers for help
Teachers sometimes try to do it themselves. Ask for help. Share lesson plans. When we all work together for the good of the child, teachers can connect and the children get the benefit. Teachers usually say yes. Don’t’ be afraid to ask for help because we all need it.
Preparing Your Kids for School
When preparing your kids for school, don’t focus on the academics. They will learn those things at school.
Parents can build self-confidence in their child.
When children are confident in their abilities, they are successful. that can be tough for parents sometimes.
Ensure that your child knows that they are capable.
Let them know they might fail, and that’s okay, they will be successful in the long run.
Tell your kids that they are great, they are strong, they are smart.
Parents can know that their child will be well taken care of and loved in their school experience.
Tips for Parents
Let your kids be little.
Let them play.
Let them look at books and make up stories.
It doesn’t always have to be structured; kids are always learning.
Don’t rush them.
This is such a precious time.
Let them be little.
Let them get dirty and make mistakes because that is the best way they are going to learn.