Teaching a child a new concept can be daunting. Where do you begin? What do you say? When do you say it? How can I get the child to sit still long enough? Below are specific steps to help you be successful in teaching the child(ren) in your care.
Begin by teaching the child to sit quietly and listen to instruction. This YouTube video shares specifics ideas you can implement to train a child to sit quietly for an age-appropriate amount of time as you teach an objective, read a book, or for library or Sunday School times. I suggest that classroom teachers take the first week or two to set expectations for behavior, routines, and learning before introducing academic learning.
Once the child can sit quietly to learn for an age-appropriate amount of time, there are three steps in teaching something new: Introduce, Practice, Identify. Each step gives the child more ownership in the learning.
1. The child is introduced to the new concept.
"This is a triangle. It has three sides. It looks like a piece of pizza."
2. The child practices the learning at the lowest level of learning first.
"Point to the triangle."
3. The child proves that the concept is learned. Review is necessary for retention.
"What is this shape called?" (The child names triangular-shaped items as triangles.)
In the perfect world, this progression would occur within a week's time frame. But depending on the child's development and the concept being taught, it may take anywhere from a couple of hours to many weeks to learn a new concept. Always follow the child's cues as to when he/she is ready to move on to the next step.
For a concrete example, below is the 3 Year Curriculum Lesson Plan into the three-part process. Notice how the child's participation and ownership in the learning increases through the week. It is very important not to move to the next level of teaching until the child is ready. This means that you may stay on introduction or practice for many weeks or months until the is developmentally ready to move on to the next level.
Lesson plan steps -
1. Introduce the Objectives (Mondays) - This is a ______.
2. Practice the Learning (Wednesdays) - Show me the __________.
3. Identify that the Learning Has Occurred (Fridays) - Name this item.
Day 1 - Introduce Concepts
• Begin by introducing the Bible story, verse, song, poem - child is listening
• Introduce the new letter and number with rhymes and tactile letter/number tracing (This is the letter ___ and it makes the sound ____.)
• Child listens as you read the Book of the Week.
• Introduce the new colors or basic math (I am sorting the blocks into different colors.)
• Introduce the name activity
Day 2 - Practice the Learning
• Review Bible story, verse, song, poem - allow child to fill in key words
• Review new letter and number by tracing and doing an activity - (Point to the letter ____.)
• Review new color or basic math by doing an activity - (Which block is _____ in color?)
• Child listens as you read the Book of the Week and points to various objects in the illustrations.
• Do name activity
Day 3 - Identify that the Learning Has Occurred
• Review Bible story, verse, song, poem - encourage child to take active role in each aspect with assistance along the way
• Child identifies new letter and number by tracing and doing an activity - (What is this number? What sound does this letter make?)
• Child finishes repetitive lines and rhyming words.
• Child identifies new color or basic math by doing an activity - (What color is this block?)
• Do name activity
Throughout the week
• Do cooking activities, watch videos, read books, etc when time is appropriate
• Review all activities while in the car, bathtub, or whenever teachable moments arise
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