Start With Focus and Turn Down the Noise
by Susan Bennett
Start your preschool classes with focus, so students are ready to learn.
Preschoolers become distracted and disengaged when they have to wait in the classroom for other students to arrive. Create a separate waiting area for them, with quiet activities (puzzles, for example) to do while they wait. These should be activities that students will gladly stop when class starts.
When it’s almost time for class, gather the children and have them enter the classroom together. Lead them to the spot where your first activity always begins—for example, a line to sit on or an area near the music equipment.
Having preschoolers enter the classroom together and go to a consistent starting place is a great way to start off with focus. It signals that class has begun and that it’s going to be amazing!
Reduce competing noises in preschool classes. Preschoolers are easily overstimulated if there are too many sounds at once, such as the teacher calling out instructions while music with lyrics plays at high volume.
Too much noise can exhaust, distract, and confuse your preschoolers. You’ll know they’re overstimulated when they “check out,” stare blankly, become grouchy, or cry. They need to be able to focus on one thing at a time.
To avoid overstimulation, turn music off when you are giving instructions, turn music volume down in general, and use music without vocals for most activities.
If you use action songs with vocals that describe the movements children should do—“bend low,” “reach high,” “walk on tiptoe”—let students hear the actions clearly without the competing noise of your voice calling instructions.
You’ll find that reducing competitive noise allows children to listen and respond better—which creates a more energized and joyful class.
Creator of Magnificent Moving Kidz, Susan Bennett has a BSED in dance and an MFA in performing arts, and teaches at Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance.