In our last blog, we covered basic things to look for when choosing an early learning program including researching programs that interest you and assessing the curriculum to see if it fits best with your child. Once you find an early childhood education program that fits your criteria, you may want to observe the how the teacher interacts with the classroom.
What does the teacher exhibit?
You, as the caregiver or parent, know your child the best — what they respond to and how they interact. The manner in which your child interacts with the teacher can influence their overall success in the classroom. While it may not be possible to have your child with you during your visit, watch and observe how the instructor interacts with the other kids in the classroom.
Is the instructor freely giving praise, encouragement, and support? And, are they asking prompting questions to evoke curiosity and awaken an attempt to learn new skills? As the teacher is moving from activity to activity take note of the attention and energy the teacher displays.
Some other things to review in the teacher/classroom dynamic include:
- What does the structure look like? Are the children able to pick and choose activities, or is the environment more structured and defined?
- Is the teacher helpful? Do they strike a balance of learning opportunities yet offer guided assistance?
- Does the teacher foster an environment that allows the children to teach and help each other?
- Is the curriculum being presented by the teacher being thoroughly explained and methodically taught in an age-appropriate aspect?
- Is the teacher giving both girls and boys the same space to engage in the activities?
- Is problem solving being taught?
- Does the teacher participate in the activities?
In each classroom you visit, observe the adult to child ratio. This will give you an indication of the type of interaction the teacher will have with each student. If the ratio of students is higher, carefully watch how the instructor handles the classroom. Are they able to command and take control of the room? Or, does the classroom seem chaotic and disorganized?
Toddlers and preschoolers in early childhood education are in need assistance in balancing their needs as individuals to those needs of the group, so having a teacher who can provide guidance and structure is central to their development.
When assessing classroom management look for the following things:
- Realistic expectations are being upheld.
- Boundaries are being set and established with the teacher and the kids.
- Respect is being displayed — from both the teacher and children.
- A balance of structured and unstructured activities are planned.
When individual boundaries, encouragement, and support are given to the child in within the group, this is when they can begin to feel like they’re in a safe space and can begin to cooperate within the structure of a group.
ABC Learning Academy
At ABC Learning Academy, our early childhood education programs for toddlers and preschoolers foster exploration and discovery, while developing social skills.
Contact us for a tour or give us a call for more information!