Getting children’s attention during work periods can be stressful and challenging at times. The attention span of the learners at this stage is approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Any information you intend to pass across as a teacher should be done within this duration.
There are varieties of concerns and trends in teaching preschoolers. Of such is that preschoolers’ teachers find it difficult maintaining the attention span of their pupils. That is because children in the preschool age still have a very short attention span.
They tend to be distracted at every little thing that interrupt what they are engaging in. That’s because children aged below 4 years can hardly stay on a particular task for a long period.
So, how do we curb this? We need their attention for learning and engaging purposes.
Tips to help increase preschoolers’ concentration and attention span in class
Adopt child-centered learning
The preschool learning environment is a child-centered learning environment where the pupils are expected to participate more in the lessons than the teacher.
You need to plan your timetable in such a way that it includes activities such as story telling, crafts, snack time and also a resting time. These helps to increase their attention span.
Storytelling time is a good period to have everyone’s attention in the classroom. Storytelling should be interesting and dramatic such that the pupils will be eager to imitate your actions and other characters in the storybook.
Make sure to have large printed pictures of the story that you are sharing so as to enable everyone involved.
Involve the pupils in the story by replacing some of the characters with your pupil’s name.
Real objects relating to the story could also be utilized to make the story real and more captivating to the little ones.
After the story time is over, allow each child to retell the story in their own way.
It makes everyone a good participant because everyone will likely have something to say even if it’s from something else entirely.
Take short breaks
Make time for short breaks between lessons, like 10 minutes. This is not to mean that you go on constant breaks though.
But try more of activities-based learning. These arouse their interest to learn more.
They should be presented with meaningful activities for positive engagement.
What I do most times when I notice that my pupil that I’m teaching is getting distracted is that I close the book, hold his/her hand and we take a short walk round the school building. Once, we are back and I sensed that he’s ready, we get back to work.
In a school setting, where Preschoolers take like 5/6 subjects a day (I feel that’s too much), the children will get tired easily and lose concentration on any other work after the early morning activities.
Customise learning styles
We should take into consideration that different learning styles works for different pupils.
Figure out what works best for each child and apply it. That way, it will be easy to get their attention.
Also, incorporate different mediums of teaching methods into your teachings. I understand that it’s not easy because most schools don’t even provide these resources for teachers. You can as well improvise the ones you can.
Use teaching aids
When teaching a concept to the children such as “farm animals”, include items such as pictures, model pictures of these animals, recorded audio on how these animals sounds, videos on how these animals move, and so on.
All these will definitely arouse their attention and they will be more interested in the lesson. Also, they won’t forget the lesson.
Since young children can’t tell us how they learn, it’s left to us to figure out how best they learn and implement it. By doing such, you are meeting every child’s individual needs which is our primary duties as teachers.
Make singing an activity
You can make singing a part of the lesson for instance when teaching shapes.
🎶 …circle go round and round all day long; we live in a yellow triangle… 🎶
Children love songs and these will keep them at alert to recall the lesson.
Songs are awesome ways to teach children things.
In fact, most times as a teacher, you just have to compose songs about the concepts to make learning interesting and memorable.
Shorten lesson time
Time allotted to each subject should be short in order not to bore the children.
Children shouldn’t be expected to sit for a long period, it bores them and they lose attention. Timetable in class should be balanced with listening and movements activities such that the pupils won’t have difficulties paying attention.
Give some children special attention
Another thing I’ve learnt in recent times is that, some children don’t enjoy talking in a group lessons. If they are included in the group activities, they won’t respond or pay attention.
They love to have their teachings one-on-one with you. It may be because some of them are the “centre of the universe” in their homes and one of many in the class. It may take time for such pupil to get used to being in a large group.
Such a child should be given a one-on-one time without distractions from other pupils because they might just lose concentration and interest.
Avoid shouting at the children and other distractions
As teachers, let’s also endeavour to avoid shouting at them, making a threat, or being too harsh on them for not paying attention. It will complicate the whole issue and they might eventually lose it.
Avoid receiving calls during teaching periods or stopping to chat with a colleague. Let also caution other people ( like other staff, cleaners, assistant teachers, e.t.c) from walking around the classroom during teaching periods. It distract the pupils easily.
How can all these be incorporated when a nursery school teacher is expected to teach more than 20 subjects per week among other workloads?
That’s way too much for a nursery class. I can feel your pain here. But your passion and self attend will drive a big deal.
What’s the point of taking 20 periods and none of it sink? And all these subjects should be duly planned for the week, not having to teach all these in a day. That’s it.
Children don’t need too much at a time. All you need do is to plant the seed in them and water it. Then, watch it grow.
The basic subjects that nursery classes should offer are Literacy, Numeracy, Science Experience, Social norms, Health habits, Art and crafts, Music and Rhymes. Any other thing is merely an addition.
As you go on to taking your classes with preschoolers, I wish you a rewarding teaching experience.
The tips are inexhaustible. If you know any other tip I might have missed out, kindly state it using the comment box below.