August 31, 2020

Lesson Planning for At-Home Learning

With the unexpected school closings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents found themselves in the unfamiliar role of serving as teachers for at-home schooling. Many of us discovered quickly that being an effective teacher goes well beyond simple instruction. It requires developing a plan that prepares you and your child to use time wisely which is adapted to the child’s interests and learning style.

That’s no small task. Lesson planning helps to keep the instruction focused on the child’s educational and developmental needs. With the possibility that we’ll find ourselves repeating this teaching scenario again during the new school year, we thought it would be helpful to provide parents of preschoolers with some tips and resources to help prepare at-home lesson plans. Carmen Draayer, one of our terrific Curriculum Project Managers in the Kiddie Academy Education Department, graciously put together the following tips for developing a lesson plan to use at home.

at home lesson planning

Scheduling the Day:

-If planning a whole day of learning (similar to a preschool day):

-If planning lessons at various times throughout the day (rather than planning for a full day):

-Plan realistic chunks of time for lessons.

-Be sure to always alternate quieter lessons with more physical activities.

-Be flexible to changes in the schedule. There will be days when things don’t go as planned.

Lesson Planning Overview:

-Create a list of all the skills/concepts that you want to work on with your child (counting, letter identification, sequencing, etc.). Then plan which skills you will tackle each day at the different lesson times set aside.

-Use a weekly lesson planning template to write the skills and lessons you plan to implement throughout the week to help stay organized.

Tips for Planning Individual Lessons:

-Plan each individual lesson. Think through what steps you will take and what materials you will need.

-Gather all materials needed for each lesson the day before and place them in baskets. When you are ready to implement a lesson, you will only need to grab the basket and go.

-When planning a lesson, follow these steps:

-Keep verbal instructions simple.

-Whenever possible plan to use real materials. For example, count objects rather than pictures or find real items that begin with a specific letter instead of pictures of items. Be creative in choosing materials.

-Incorporate your child’s interests into lessons to help provide motivation. For example, if your child loves dinosaurs, encourage him or her to use a favorite dinosaur to pick up matching upper and lowercase letters.

-Try to incorporate whole body movements in the lesson. For example, writing letters on large pieces of paper taped to the wall. This encourages your child to move their whole arm when writing the letter. You can also have the child search for letters and numbers around the whole room rather than on a table. This helps to keep them moving and motivated.

-Plan to revisit skills and concepts in different ways and with a wide variety of materials, as repetition is key. For example, plan sorting lessons that use animals, shapes, different colored cars or snack foods.

-Include literature and songs whenever possible. Children love to sing and dance. For example, practice rhyming words during story time by planning to read a book with rhymes.

Most importantly, plan to have fun! Use silly voices, get up and move with your child, play together, etc. Enjoy watching and helping your child learn and grow!

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