Amanda has worked in a daycare setting in various roles for over 11 years and has educated parents on child-raising strategies and tips!
1. Find a place to safely store your lesson plan
I refer back to my lesson plan all the time. Because of that, it's important to keep your lesson plan in a place that won't get lost and is easy to refer back to. For some, writing your lesson plans in a planner help while others use calendars. For me, I use a table in a Word document to keep track of all my plans. I also print off the lesson plan for the given week and the menu for the week and post it up for my employees and me to reference back to.
2, Make minimum expectations for easy plugging
In my preschool, I change things up constantly in hopes to keep learning fun and exciting for the kids. But, to keep things easy on me, I have minimum expectations that I want to do with the kids.
For example, I know that I want to do worksheets with the children 3 times a week and I do crafts 2-3 times a week rotating. Knowing this, I can plug those into my lesson plan easily and then fill in the gaps with other activities that I find.
Also, in my daycare, every Friday is a free day where we don't do any preschool and we just watch a movie in the morning. So I know that I do not have to ever plan anything for Fridays.
Having repeat activities that you do on a semi-regular basis allows for quick planning.
3. Use themes to help create lesson plans
Before I explore the options I have for my lessons, I pick weekly themes for my daycare and preschool. You can choose to have a different theme every week or use the same theme for multiple weeks.
I typically will do smaller units to fill in times between bigger units. For example, I do 3 weeks of Halloween in October, and then before I do 3 weeks of Thanksgiving, I take a week to do a small theme (I chose "5 Senses").
If you base your themes are time-sensitive days and holidays, recycle your themes yearly. Feel free to mix things up if you decide you don't want to do a certain theme next year.
Back to School
4. Use Pinterest or other websites to get ideas from for your lesson plan
Now that you have a theme, a standard baseline, and an idea of where you need to plugin activities, use Pinterest or other websites to help you get ideas! I typically will search for themed activities to help me fill in gaps and I save them in boards for future reference.
You can decide to fill in the blank spots in your lesson plan with whatever you desire. Sometimes I will add in an extra craft or two, or I will do a science experiment, or even something as simple as making a themed dancing YouTube playlist.
5. Recycle prior year's lesson plans for easy and quick planning
Once you get through a year's worth of planning, reusing previous year's plans makes it quick and easy to lesson plan. Of course, sometimes you'll want to add new things to your lesson plan because every year there may be new activities or crafts that you'll want to do.
Saving all of your plans will eventually give you a lot of options to work with. Move around the plans as you want. Maybe one year you had a lot of younger ones and then the next year you have a lot of older ones? Mix and match to accommodate all ages. Be sure to also save any leftover worksheets or craft prep for the next year so it will cut time on actual prep as well.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Amanda Brumbelow