Small Group Instruction in PK3

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Why should you provide small group instruction in PK3?

Small group time is an important part of the PK3 day! It is the activity where children receive the most academic benefit. Small group lessons are an opportunity for the teacher to spend focused instructional time with small numbers of students who need support in specific skills. This also includes social and emotional learning. Because PK3 children spend most of their time in free choice activities/centers, it is an ideal time for teachers to work with small groups.

What size is a small group?

A small group can be any number of children and is typically from 2 to 5 children.

When is small group scheduled and where does it occur?

Small group time is normally scheduled during center time. It can occur at the teacher table or it can take place in centers. Small group activities held in a center make the lesson more authentic.

How do you plan for small group instruction?

It is most important that small group instruction is planned and activities are based on the continuum of learning and the needs of the children.

What to Consider When Planning a Small Group Activity

Activities should be flexible to accommodate children's ideas.

Open-ended materials allow for more conversation.

Activities should be inviting and encourage exploration.

Children should be invited to join the small group.

How are children chosen or grouped for small group instruction?

Small group time allows a teacher to create flexible groups based on children's needs and similar skill levels. Diverse or heterogeneous groups are also important because children learn from each other in a variety of ways.

Are children assessed during small instruction?

Small group instruction allows the teacher to take anecdotal records based on observations. This information is used to guide your teaching.

Building Language During Small Group Activities

  • Small group time increases the quality and quantity of conversations that the teacher has with the students.
  • Teachers have more opportunities to provide children with feedback that expands their learning and understanding.
  • During small group time, teachers have more opportunities to encourage continued participation with a student.

The Role of the Teaching Assistant During Small Groups

The teaching assistant provides support for the teacher during small group time. The teaching assistant will:
  • Handle behavior issues in the classroom,
  • Help children with specific needs,
  • Answer questions for the children,
  • Take care of any other needs to allow the teacher to focus on his/her small group of children.

Download and watch the following HighScope video about small groups.

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