Using a Thematic Approach
The easiest way to derive a preschool lesson plan is to pick a series of seasonal and relevant themes, and cover one new theme each week. Children love routine, especially at this age because it shows they’re recognizing and anticipating patterns. They’ll come to class on Monday morning with quizzical looks on their faces, wondering what the theme of the week will be.
Some preschool teachers even like to take suggestions from their children or their parents on upcoming themes they’d like to cover. When selecting preschool themes, make sure to choose topics that are broad enough to encompass a week’s worth of time, and ones that can incorporate some of the ideas touched upon every week like colors, shapes, sizes, letters and numbers.
Here are some suggestions for preschool themes. Included along with the themes are sample preschool crafts and games to play on the subject of the theme.
All about me
For this preschool theme, children love making a puppet version of themselves. Each child will need a paper bag, crayons, fabric for their clothes and wool for their hair. Children are to decorate their puppet according to their image of themselves. Alternately, children can be paired up with the challenge of making a puppet of their partner.
A great game to play during the “All about Me” theme is “Hide the Child”. Have the children sit in a circle. One child leaves the room while another child is selected to hide under a blanket in the center of the circle. The child who left comes back and tries to guess the identity of the missing child. Other children are allowed to give hints, such as hair color or length, eye color, or descriptions of their clothing.
At this point in their lives, children are just beginning to understand and express their feelings, especially simple emotions like happy, sad and angry. An excellent way to illustrate certain feelings is to make a feelings collage. Have child go through magazines to find pictures of people looking happy, sad, angry, and surprised. Then, create one large collage for each feeling. Allow children to decorate the collages with crayons or markers in colors they believe represent each feeling.
A great activity for talking about feelings is this one called “Make the Face”. The instructor calls out a situation such as losing your favorite toy or winning an important game. Each child must make the corresponding face or body movement for that emotional experience.
After introducing the concept of opposites, try this art activity that allows children to explore their imaginations during the opposities preschool theme. Give each child a piece of paper and instruct them to imagine themselves living in an opposite world, where everything is opposite the way it is in the real world, like where small is big and loud is quiet. Have each child draw themselves in that opposite world, and explain to the class why they drew what they did.
This game, called “Match the Opposites” is a great way for children to continue to explore what opposites mean. Before the class, make a set of cards that contain pairs of opposites such as hot and cold, standing and sitting, up and down, fast and slow, etc. Flip all the cards over and have the children select the cards two at a time to try to find the matching pairs.
By using preschool themes you will add a continuity to your lesson plan which will help reinforce your teaching.