Last week’s camp was filled with preschool aged children ranging from 3-5 years of age. In the past, I have only worked with children this age for an hour at time while teaching ballet. In this camp, we spent 3 hours each afternoon with the students, which at times was challenging for me. It felt exhausting to give constant attention to 14 preschoolers for such an extended period. The two teaching artists that I assisted, Donna and Jazmin, are education students and provided some useful language and teaching techniques that I am excited to do further research about.
One of those strategies is called positive redirection in which the teacher explicitly gives instructions to a student who is making a mistake and has them play differently. For example, when Tommy was using a toy drill as a weapon to hit other children, instead of yelling at Tommy to “Put that down now!”, I redirected him to try using the toy on some blocks of wood in the corner of the room. From there, I stayed with him for a bit to ensure that he found a constructive use of the drill.
Conscious Discipline is another teaching tool that I heard Donna and Jazmin use. I would like to do more research on this method because it is a comprehensive classroom management tool, but it is used to teach children how to manage their own relationships. An example of how I used this tool, is when Shayna ran up to me and said, “Devin knocked over my blocks!” Instead of going over to Devin and disciplining him, I asked Shayna to explain to Devin how that act made her feel. The children take charge of their own emotions and feelings and use their word to explain that to one another.