What are the characteristics that distinguish a mediocre preschool classroom from an excellent one? The prestigious Child Development journal that covers developmental psychology of children from their early years in the womb right up to adolescence has come out with a new study in this regard. This was carried out by a team from Vanderbilt University over a period of two years.
Researchers have come up with a list called ‘The Magic 8’ – eight classroom actions that can determine a student’s success in the preschool years.
- Reduce time spent in transition – from one activity to another, since preschoolers aren’t gainfully occupied during the transition phase.
- Improve level of instruction – through open ended questions to gauge what they’ve learned.
- Create a positive climate – using positive, encouraging language.
- Increase time teachers listen to children – which will also help preschoolers speak and open up more frequently.
- Plan sequential activities – like completing a puzzle.
- Promote cooperative interactions between children – to encourage them to learn along with their peers and know what teamwork is all about.
- Foster high levels of child involvement – by asking questions, answering them and talking out everything.
- Provide math opportunities – for better grasp of the basics of math from an early age.
The basic goal is to get preschoolers to interact more with their teachers and/or guardians in an open environment. This would foster creativity, help their inquisitive minds to ask more questions and thus make for a better learning environment. (Read the full report here.)