At the beginning of every session with the preschoolers at Fishtown Recreation Center I always start with a movement activity. Movement routines are one of the best ways to start to engage children and prepare them for the activities that will follow. Having a movement game also helps to establish classroom rules, like listening to the teacher and following their direction.
I have been doing a simple movement activity that everyone is familiar with, Simon Says. My main goal is making sure everyone is participating and following my direction to the best of their ability. Although by this point they expect the game I keep it interesting by trying new directions and motions every time. Movements for preschoolers can easily be made very challenging. For example, standing on one foot with your arms in the air.
After we have done a lot of high-energy movements I lower their energy by giving them slower movements and changing the volume of my voice. Eventually, I move all of us to sitting on the floor, legs crossed. Then, I transition into our mediation session. I have been using a Singing Bowl that one of ASI’s teachers brings in.
The Singing Bowl will sing when a small wooden mallet is gently dragged around its outer edge. I frame our mediation like a game for the kids. Everyone has to close their eyes and then I start playing the Singing Bowl, then they must raise their hand only when they stop hearing the ringing of the bowl. I do this a few more times and then the children are in the perfect state of mind for the art lesson. It’s important to establish a routine in the classroom. It helps with classroom management and children feel safer when they know what to expect.