Young children do well with unit or thematic studies, and preschool themes are a huge help for parents or teachers. With just a little bit of work and a lot of imagination, a simple theme can become the basis for an entire curriculum.
Using Preschool Themes
Young children learn best when they are actively engaged. Any successful preschool curriculum or lesson plan should stimulate the children's minds and bodies. All of their senses should be engaged. Preschoolers also need to be fully immersed in a topic. Thematic units accomplish both of these goals.
It is best to select a broad theme rather than an extremely narrow one. You'll want to allow yourself and the children flexibility. Use themes that interest children and are also fun and educational. After you have selected a theme:
- Find or create corresponding songs and finger plays.
- Create dances or silly movements for the theme.
- Create quick and easy craft projects.
- Buy or make related snacks.
- Buy or make related manipulatives for pre-math and counting games.
- Find fun, engaging books or stories in the theme.
- Buy, create, or print related coloring pages. You can use the coloring pages to create mini-books.
Basic Skills Themes
To emphasize the basic preschool skills, make them the basis of unit studies. For example, if you are using the letter "A" as your theme, spend a week talking about things that begin with that letter. In addition to writing, have the children create the letter in various textures, such as cardboard, sandpaper, and shaving cream. Take nature walks and look for items than begin with the letter "A". Search for the letter itself in nature: look for clouds, sticks, plants, or rocks that form the letter.
- Big and Little
- More and Less
- Up and Down
Most young children are very in tune with nature, and enjoy animal or plant themes. To really bring the preschool themes to life, take relevant field trips. The zoo, farms, forests, and lakes are all wonderful options. In a pinch, you could take the kids on a walk in your own neighborhood, and allow them to explore the life in ditches, mud puddles, and even holes in the ground!
- Ocean Life
- Trees and Plants
- Farm Animals
- Zoo Animals
- Forest Life
Health and Home
Preschoolers love learning more about themselves, their family, and their homes. They are often fascinated by the human body.
- Body parts
- Healthy Foods
At the same time, they are just beginning to understand that there is a world beyond the home. They enjoy learning about various roles, jobs, and duties in the community. Many fire stations, police stations, post offices, and other places of service welcome field trips from schools and home schoolers.
- Community helpers
- Different cultures
Web Sites Offering Preschool Themes
There are several Web sites offering preschool themes. Many of these are free and are submitted by site visitors, so quality will vary. Feel free to mix and match among themes, or adapt offered themes to meet your needs.