Preschoolers are traditionally between the ages of 4 and 5. When a young child embarks on the first leg of his educational journey, he may be scared, excited, ready to explore or all of the above. Preschool teachers are expected to approach simple concepts, such as the difference between night and day, while making learning fun for their kids. At this age, students want to sing, visualise, play and create. Use these things to teach preschoolers new ideas.
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Preschoolers love to sing songs. Songs with short, catchy, rhyming sentences work well, just as many children's books are written for easy reading and memorisation. Write your own song about night and day, describing how the sun rises, how it stays in the sky all day, slowly sets and rises again the next day. Make the sun and moon into characters with personalities to draw in your preschoolers. Teach the song to preschoolers line by line until they memorise each line and can piece them together. Repetition is helpful in memorising concepts, so sing the song with them once at the beginning and end of the day. Encourage preschoolers to go home and teach the song to their parents so that they can sing it before bed at night.
Preschoolers learn through visual and tactile experiences. Engage your students in a daily, hands-on activity that will teach them about night and day, such as growing a plant in the classroom. Take them through each step, from planting the seeds to observing the length and size of the stems and flowers with a weekly measurement. Describe the importance of the sun in the daytime and how the plant grows as it sits in its pot through day and night. This activity will also teach preschoolers about time and growth, and how these things occur as we rise, go about our day and go back to sleep at night.
Whether it is day or night, a preschooler will want to play. Facilitate shadow tag to help your preschoolers learn about day and night. When the sun is high in the sky around noon, take your students out to the play yard for shadow tag. One child is "it," while the others run around to avoid being tagged. To tag someone new, the child who is "it" must step in another child's shadow. After your preschoolers have burnt off some energy, return to the classroom and explain why bodies create shadows and how this reflects the light from the sun.
One way to gauge a preschooler's thoughts and knowledge on a topic is to let her reproduce a concept creatively. Get out the coloured pens, paints and paper and ask your preschoolers to make two drawings, one for day and one for night. At the bottom of each drawing, have them list three things they do during the day and three things they do at night. To wrap up the activity, have preschoolers present the drawings to the class and discuss them.
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