How to Write a Lesson Plan for Preschool

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Preschool is a formidable opportunity for learning before starting kindergarten classes. Learn how setting goals, including multiple entry points, materials and clean-up, and adapting to potential disasters can be included in effective preschool lesson planning. Updated: 11/26/2021

Importance of Planning

Jen has been teaching three-year-olds for about five years, and in that time, she has definitely learned the importance of planning. Some of Jen's friends think that since she teaches such young children, she does not need to lesson plan, but Jen knows that if she does not plan, she will waste her own time as well as that of her students.

Planning is important, Jen explains, because it keeps her honest. It helps her set realistic and meaningful goals, and consider the best ways to work toward them. It also helps her consider her students as individuals as well as a group, and it helps her establish meaningful routines that keep her students feeling safe, happy, and productive in school.

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  • 0:04 Importance of Planning
  • 0:43 Setting Goals
  • 1:32 Multiple Entry Points
  • 2:31 Materials & Clean Up
  • 3:05 When It Goes Wrong
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Setting Goals

Today, Jen is planning a lesson about dinosaurs. Her students have shown a strong interest in playing with dinosaur toys, so Jen has been helping them do projects and games that teach them more about dinosaurs. As she thinks about what she will teach today, Jen begins by setting goals, or endpoints she would like to see her students reach when the lesson is over.

Today's goal, Jen decides, is for students to count how many feet different dinosaurs use to walk. Embedded in this goal are two other understandings: students will have to learn how to count to four, and they will also learn that carnivorous dinosaurs walked on two feet, while herbivores walked on four. Jen has learned that a mixture of skill-based goals, like counting, and content-based goals, like a fact about dinosaurs, is the best way to go. This keeps students engaged and helps them synthesize different kinds of knowledge.

Multiple Entry Points

Jen also knows that her lesson will need to have multiple entry points, or places that students can jump in and begin learning. Some of her students can already count to one hundred, while others are struggling with one-to-one correspondence. Some have very sophisticated language skills, while others are still learning to put sentences together.

Jen decides to begin her lesson with some free play time with dinosaur toys, books, and maps. This will give more advanced students the freedom to explore new ideas and activities, while allowing slower students to activate relevant vocabulary and watch what their classmates do. When she brings her students together for counting and looking at dinosaur feet, Jen plans to use visuals, like the toys and illustrations. She will also let students practice walking and crawling around, so that more kinesthetically-oriented children will also have a good entry point. One of the most important parts of Jen's planning process, in fact, is thinking about the students in her group and the ways they will best access what she is hoping they will learn.

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