Preschool children are normally between the age group of three and four years old. The psychology of a preschool child is that it wants to explore and experiment touch, taste, smell and hearing. This curiosity is combined with the yearning for learning that involves the developing of skills and utilizing language.
The common problem among preschoolers is that they have trouble intermingling with other children and thus sharing becomes difficult. Further because of their developing imaginations they are unable to identify reality from fantasy. The most effective method of teaching a preschooler is by performance which involves a variety of activities. Children of this age also question a lot including ‘how’ and ‘why’ and of course they are talkative.
Based on this background and since preschoolers are always filled with enthusiasm I decided to teach them few basics by adopting the fun and play method. One must remember that this age requires a strong foundation on which the growing and learning years can develop on. My action plan involved the delivering the messages of determination and lending a helping hand.
I decided to perform a puppet show that narrated the ‘incy-wincy spider’ rhyme. On hearing this all the children became interested to know more and looked on in anticipation as I kept the suspense brewing.
The first step was to make a spider and by involving all the children I began teaching them about insects and spiders. My aim was through the process of creating, sticking and coloring the spider the general fear that most children possess about insects, hopefully will be erased.
During this process the children began asking various questions about insects such as, how do insects fly? What do insects eat? And the interesting part was the creation of the spider’s legs wherein most children were curious to know why they have two legs and a spider has eight legs.
Once the spider was ready next on the agenda was to manufacture rain. Interestingly another opportunity to teach the children about the conservation of water and to protect what God had made i.e. the environment. Therefore after the lecture about rain and how they could save water in their own little ways, the next step involved the developing of rain.
Instead of utilizing water as rain I developed a plan wherein with the help of beans I involved the children in painting and the portrayal of raindrops on a chart. The children enjoyed themselves dipping the beans in blue paint and dabbing the same on the chart paper.
And I took hold of this opportunity of introducing vegetables and beans and spoke about the importance of eating vegetables from the health point of view. Keeping the subject of vegetables open, with the help of a potato the children made a sun at the same time learning about another vegetable. Just as the sun is all bright and beautiful similarly vegetables are of different shapes, sizes and colors and are all healthy food which all preschoolers require towards growth and development.
As the subject is about shapes and colors the introduction of the basic shapes found the children moving around and identifying these shapes in their surroundings. Along with the shapes the children also began to identify colors. Sizes involved the children in recognizing small and big and indeed had a hearty laugh when the teacher who is big but became small by kneeling and sitting on their small chairs.
Having created all the characters the time had arrived for the grand performance- the puppet show. The children waited in anticipation as the team work was successful and the result was ready to be implemented. This was another opportunity to portray the fact that team work and working together involves more hands put to work and the result being good things being produced and the spreading of happiness.
Once settled the lights were turned down and before starting the importance of saving power was highlighted and reflected by the action of burning only one light. This burning of a single light also epitomized the fact that rainy weather is normally dark and cloudy and usually when we have rain and the sun shinning simultaneously a rainbow appears.
After all these lessons finally incy wincy spider appeared and bowed to the children and began climbing the water spout. Again for the creation of the water spout the children enjoyed mixing the contents of one portion of glue to three cups of water mixed along with tissue paper.
This paste was applied onto cardboard and made into the shape of a water spout and then painted. When the spider that began to climb the water spout slipped and fell, no doubt the children began laughing.
This stage requires the need to pause and teach the children that whenever there is an accident or anyone falls and hurts themselves by laughing one can cause more hurt and pain. But by providing assistance and comfort we as individuals can help in reducing the pain. Thus one can help in spreading love around.
Back to the spider, once the sun appeared and the heat dried the rain the spider began to climb the water spout again and finally reached the top. The final lesson was to keep trying for every effort and hard work will definitely result in smiling faces.
Growing and learning will involve tremendous hard work and effort but the achievement I forever enduring. Thus through this puppet show the children learnt about insects, conservation of water, protecting the environment, vegetables and healthy foods, shapes, sizes, colors, team work and togetherness, helping the hurt and finally perseverance.
The feedback I received from teaching these lessons was that the children continued to remember and kept reminding their parents and adults at home about how small initiatives can provide towards a sustaining life.
The children yearn to come to school to learn more wherein they teach the people as well. For when children speak adults listen. So keep listening, for as God stated that unless we become like children we will not be able to enter the kingdom of God.
Wilcox, Leah Ellen Mahoney. (1985). Ready, set, read: best books to prepare preschoolers. Scarecrow Press: University of California.
Healton, H. Sarah amp. Whiteside, Kay H. (1992). Me, Too! Creative Crafts for Preschoolers. McGraw-Hill Education.