6 tips to restart your preschool

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

After the pandemic and lockdowns, many preschools feel the pain to get up to speed again. The previous working methods seem outdated. A fresh start is needed, but the task is overwhelming and time is scarce. You need a systematic approach to get a lift for your teacher, children, and parents.

Take some time with your team to define or review your goals, values, and teaching methods in written form...

1. Learning goals & guidelines

This is an important, theoretical part of the curriculum. Pay attention to the quality of research you use and also to the accuracy of learning goals. Keep in mind that it is not necessary for children to accomplish a set of learning goals in a specific order, but at their own individual pace as we all are unique learners. Discuss these topics:

  • Key elements of the national early learning standards
  • Relevant and up-to-date research on childhood development
  • Learning goals for children in each learning area
  • Description of the group of children (needs, strengths, interests...)
  • Introduction of the educators

2. Values, ethos & teaching

As much as children learn from teachers, teachers learn from children. In this section of the curriculum, discuss the values and ethos of your preschool or early learning center. Open up how you communicate with the children and families, what type of behavior and cooperation you value, how you plan the activities, and what drives your work community.

For example, Finland's National Core curriculum for ECEC defines values as follows:

  • The intrinsic value of childhood
  • Growth as a human being
  • Rights of the child
  • Equity, equality, and diversity
  • Diversity of families
  • Healthy and sustainable way of living.

Discuss and define the values that you stand behind and list them clearly in your curriculum along with the other important framework:

  • Underlying values, ethos
  • Communication styles with children and families
  • Teaching styles
  • Planning of activities

3. Learning environments

Imagine yourself as a child and look at the classroom from different perspectives: What can the child see and reach?

According to Resilient Educator, the classroom environment for preschoolers should be a safe, creative landscape that enhances the learning process.

That is true.

The learning environment should be all that and more. It should be designed for children - and with children! The classroom is a typical learning environment. Imagine yourself as a child and look at the classroom from different perspectives: What can the child see and reach? What interests the child in the room? Are there possibilities for creative play and visual arts? How about ball games or resting?

In Finland, we think that learning does not only happen inside classrooms, but the entire city can actually be the learning environment! Therefore, think about the environments you can incorporate into learning and add them to the curriculum. Libraries, forests, beaches, museums, football fields, neighborhoods... Learning can happen anywhere, both in the built environment and in nature.

  • Ask the children what kind of classroom would they like to have
  • Ask the children where they would like to visit outside the classroom
  • Introduce ways to incorporate both indoor and outdoor activities into the schedule
  • Provide information on supplies and materials considered developmentally appropriate for preschool classrooms
  • Think about the details inside your classroom: alternative seating, interesting displays on children's level, toys and materials available, a place for resting and reading a book...

4. Projects based on learning areas

After the completion of the base curriculum framework, teachers can work toward planning their individual lesson projects based on the areas of learning.

The early year's foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development, and care of your child from birth to 5 years old in the UK. Their learning areas are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social, and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

The learning areas can and should be mixed inside an activity. Young children learn best through play. The teacher should therefore find out the children’s interests and incorporate those into the learning activities and play. For example, if children are into dinosaurs, sessions about dinosaurs may offer children information about history, animals, and nature while enriching the child’s vocabulary. You can also imagine being dinosaurs and painting their giant footprints!

Young children learn best through play. The teacher should therefore find out the children’s interests and incorporate those in the learning activities and play.

5. Have fun with it

Resilient Educator puts it nicely: The goal is to make the most out of those early years and to foster a lifetime love of learning. To accomplish that, children should above all: have a good time. If you have fun creating the curriculum, there’s a good chance children will have fun too!


6. Assessment and development

Last but surely not least is Assessment! Each year as the group of children - and possibly also educators - change, also the curriculum should be edited. Read it through carefully and make it fit the group of children: what are their interests this year, how does your learning environment look like this year, what are the educators' strengths, and so on.....

Get going!

Once you have done the background work and defined your curriculum, Kindiedays Portfolio solution is a great tool to support the whole learning process.

If you want a jump start to set up a Finnish Experience preschool, you will benefit from Kindiedays Premium where a full set of learning objectives derived from the Finnish curriculum is preinstalled. A complete set of holistic Lesson Plans in also included.

Happy learning!

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