Preschool Lesson Plan Themes By Month

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

It's time to plan your lessons again. Are you feeling stuck for ideas? Looking for a place to begin? Consider these monthly themes to jumpstart your curriculum planning.

Essential Elements

The following is a list of theme suggestions for a preschool year. Each month, you'll want to infuse the themes with relevant literacy, math, movement, and social skills with a thematic twist. Some of the science and social studies applications are implicit in the themes. Have fun!

January: What We Wear

  • Dressing for the weather
  • Where clothing comes from
  • The production of cloth - from cotton plants to blue jeans
  • Sewing basics
  • How animals ''dress for the weather'' (climatic adaptations)
  • Play clothing store

Sample Activity: Dressing for the Weather

  • Gather dolls and a selection of weather-specific clothing (coats, jackets, rain coats, boots, hats, swimsuits, shorts, pants, etc.).
  • Read the book Hello, World! Weather by Jill McDonald.
  • Prepare pictures of different types of weather (sun, rain, wind, snow, etc.).
  • Give groups of 2-3 students a picture of weather and a doll. Students choose an outfit for the doll that matches the weather in the picture. Then groups share their results.

February: Dear Friend

  • Types of mail (paper, electronic)
  • Greetings around the world
  • Post office
  • Sorting mail
  • Writing and receiving letters

Sample Activity: Delivering the Mail

  • Label several paper bags with a category. Label individual envelopes with items that fit into one of the paper bag categories. Spread the bags around the classroom.
  • Give students envelopes and have them deliver the mail, matching envelopes with the appropriate mailbags.
  • Choose your categories based on the level of your class. Sample categories:
    • Colors on the bags, objects of that color on the envelope.
    • Shapes on the bags, shapes on the envelopes.
    • Letters on the bags, words that begin with that letter on the envelopes.
    • Numbers on the bags, an array of that number of items on the envelopes.

March: Inside Me

  • Body systems and what they do
  • Bones and muscles and how to take care of them
  • Focus on exercise

Sample Activity: Muscle Building

  • Read the book My Strong Muscles: A Book About Growing Big and Strong For Kids by A. D. Largie.
  • Demonstrate a few different exercises for feet, arms, legs, and back muscles.
  • Sing the ''Exercise Song,'' allowing students to take turns choosing the exercise.
    • Exercise Song: (to the tune of ''Round and Round the Mulberry Bush'')
      • Watch me while I exercise, exercise, exercise.
      • Watch me while I exercise to make my (legs) grow strong.
    • (Students choose the body part and the exercise for each verse.)

April: Let's Build

  • Construction vehicles
  • Types of building materials
  • Different types of blocks - what style works better for different structures
  • Earth Day connection - repurposing recycled items for in-class building fun

Sample Activity: Recycled Towers

  • Leading up to this activity, clean and save a collection of recyclables. Good options include cannisters from oatmeal, yogurt, and coffee, empty boxes, etc.
  • Send home a note the week before asking parents to send in one or two recycled items.
  • Read a book like Recycle! A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons.
  • Talk with students about recycling. One way to recycle is to use something again in a new way.
  • Get out your collection of recyclables and challenge students to think of new ways to use the objects. See what you can build with the items, and see if they can think of other uses as well.

May: The Band

  • Families of instruments (strings, wind, brass, percussion)
  • Styles of music
  • Making instruments

Sample Activity: Guest Musician

  • Invite someone you know who plays a portable instrument - you may be able to find someone on staff at the school or someone in the community. If possible, find two people who play instruments in different categories, such as one stringed instrument and one brass instrument.
  • Talk about the different categories of instruments, showing photos of instruments in each category.
  • Have guest musicians take turns playing their instruments. Compare the way the instruments look, sound, and are played.
  • Optional follow-up: take a survey of the class asking, ''Which instrument was your favorite?''
  • Optional follow-up: students try to make their own instrument in the same style as the guest musician's instrument.

June: Let it Grow

  • Planting
  • Life cycles of plants
  • What seeds need
  • How thing grow

Sample Activity: Seed Planting

  • Select a variety of seeds: grass, wildflowers, beans. If you will have the same students through the summer, you might also select cucumbers or summer squash, which take longer to grow.
  • Compare the seeds - size, color, and shape.
  • Plant the seeds.
  • Every day, check the seeds. Make observations about what you see for each type of seed.
  • Compare the growth of the different kinds of seeds.

July: Vacation

  • Transportation
  • Types of climates you can visit
  • Basic geography - position on the globe, land, ocean

Sample Activity: Vacation Plan

  • Arrange your creative play area with vacation planning items:
    • A selection of travel brochures.
    • Suitcases.
    • Personal items such as clothing and fake toiletries.
    • Restaurant menus.
    • Writing materials.
  • During play time, encourage students to select a vacation destination, draw a picture of what they will do on vacation, write a packing list, and pack a suitcase for their vacation.

August: Floating

  • Water safety
  • Water play
  • Boats
  • Float and sink
  • Ocean life

Sample Activity: Sink or Float experiment

  • Fill the water table with water.
  • Select a range of classroom objects and have students predict which will sink and which will float.
  • Test your predictions.
  • Choose some simple floating boats or other hollow containers. Students predict and test how many blocks (or other objects) the boat can hold before it sinks. Using larger boats, experiment with distribution of items as well as number of items the boat can hold.

September: Map of Me

  • Places in my school
  • My home/types of homes
  • Places in my community
  • My address in space (city/state/country/continent)

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