Teaching infants is so much fun! The children will love you – someone new to play with. Some tips;
Observation – Spend some time observing the class and the teacher. This will give you the chance to see how routines work and get an idea of the level the children are at – this will then help you with your planning.
Also make sure to observe and interact with the children during free play – this helps to build up good relationships with the children and get a good idea of their interests.
Lesson planning – children in junior and senior infants are very young. Give short and sweet instructions and provide a visual so that children know what to do (and so you don’t have to explain it 20 times!)
Praise and classroom management- noise levels in an infant classroom can get very loud very quickly. Some ideas;
- Place a doll/cute teddy at the back of the room. Explain to the children that they are sleeping and we have to be very quiet so we don’t wake them.
- Stickers- young children love stickers or stamps on their work! They are an instant reward and the second you give one out other children will copy the good behaviour.
- Be specific- Harry I am so impressed with the way you are lining up- so straight and not making a sound! Well done Harry! (Watch as the other children follow suit)
Use short phrases to get attention
Teacher: 1 2 3 eyes on me
Children:1 2 eyes on you
Use songs and rhyme as much as possible- check YouTube!
Tears- infants are very small and what may seem like the tiniest problem may be causing huge distress. At some point, a child will cry- just stay calm and comfort him/her! Give them a special job like minding teddy or let them sit with a friend or just hold their hand if they are nervous about something!
Relax and you’ll have lots of fun teaching infants!