Early Achievers E-Blast

Does it Feel Like Herding Cats?

Transitions and group times can be the biggest challenges of the day.

Trying to move a whole group of children at once rarely goes well. It results in waiting, which results in misbehavior.

From the All About ECERS:

Generally, large group activities do not promote the type of learning from which young children benefit most because they are not individualized, hands-on, flexible and self-directed.

If you look at the Group Time item in each of the ERS – ECERS, ITERS and FCCERS, you will notice that they are pretty anti-group time. They favor limited large group times in favor of smaller groups and individual interactions.

If you were to list your most challenging times of the day, I bet most of them are large group times and transitions, right?

Try this – list every time in the day you have all the children in your group doing the same thing at the same time, like:

Circle time
Art project
Washing hands
Getting coats/shoes on
Lining up to go outside
Music time

Are there any of these you could re-imagine? Any that you could do in smaller groups? We get stuck doing things the same way they have always been done, even when they don’t work for the adults or the children.

Try changing just one. Maybe instead of a full group art project, or music time, you set it up at one table while there is free choice of other activities.

Perhaps you could have one staff person take out the group of kids that has shoes on while you finish up with the others.

If it is not working the way it is, try changing it up. If it works fine for you and the children, leave it as is. Think about the quality of the learning time. Are 100% of the children engaged? Would there be another way to meet your learning objective rather than in a large group?

Give yourself permission to experiment. Try something different and see how it goes. Just because it's always been done in a large group, doesn't mean it can't be different, and better!