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Young 3's class

  • 1.  Young 3's class

    Posted 04-13-2021 02:20 PM
    Hello.  I teach a older 2/young 3's class.  I am finding, more so the last 2 years, the children do not listen AT ALL.  I have been teaching this class for 15 years and the difference in the children now from 15 years ago is night and day.  I have never had this problem in my classroom before 2 years ago.  I have tweaked my classroom routine every year and at this point basically eliminate any large group time as the class cannot,  first of all sit, for even a story without moving around or touching friends, and when one child is not following along with the routine and distracted, they all start following along with that child.  Well, not all but most and for the 2 or 3 kids listening I feel bad having to stop because I have their undivided attention.    When I tell you I do everything I possibly can to keep their age appropriate short stories with LOTS of enthusiasm and funny voices, sing EVERYTHING, play interactive games....I certainly know I am not going to get a class of "the perfect children" nor would I want that, as I appreciate all the various personalities, but it is literally like talking to 10 walls.  I speak to the parents and the response I get is "Yeah, I know, they don't listen to us at home either.  Everything is a fight".  I use reward systems, extra playground time, I really don't think time out works for this group, they do like praise, it just doesn't last long.   Funny thing is, I needed a story a couple of weeks ago to go along with our theme and I didn't have the book, but there was a reading  of it available on YOUTUBE.  So,  I brought in my computer and played it and let them listen to narration and watch the story come to life with graphics, etc....NOT A PEEP WAS MADE....they sat there mesmerized.  Again, something new and of course they all knew YOUTUBE (yes, they are just turning 3...that's a whole other story), but  I am not comfortable bringing technology into our classroom all the time (we are only in school 2 half days a week).  I feel I want them to be able to give their attention , even for 5 minutes to the teacher.   Just venting here, but is anyone else dealing with this?   I am thinking it is my routine that I will have to switch around and completely eiliminate large group and just offer centers each morning for them to rotate to.  2 of the centers would be working with the teachers.  Thank you for listening to my venting.

    Love 'n' Learn Christian Preschool
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

    Karen Patton
    Love 'n' Learn Christian Preschool
    Garnet Valley PA

  • 2.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-13-2021 08:05 PM
    Hi Karen
    Two year old's are quite unlike any other age of children! So first, I must say, Thank You for being a Toddler Teacher. Not everyone can make it one full year, let alone 15! There are generally many reasons that 2 year old's exhibit what ends up being disruptive behavior. Many times it's related to connection, sensory or the amount of energy they expel throughout the day. It sounds like you have a lot of tools in your belt from your years of experience, so you may have tried these already. Perhaps adapt the schedule for more opportunities for outside play with shorter time periods, so as not to completely disrupt your day. Two in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, if you can swing it. I have found that some children need these extra outside times in order to have any chance to concentrate on other things. Connection happens when the children can find multiple ways to "find themselves" in your classroom. If you haven't tried using Family photos interactively, this is often fun. Also, using what you know about their families to being familiar items/music/traditions to your program. And finally, with recent events many programs were forced to cut sensory from their curriculum options. Are there things that can be added to your program to generate interest safely for children who might be seeking it. Keep up with opportunities for varying group sizes as the children seem interested and keep up the great work!

    Deanna Jackson
    Senior Assessor, NAEYC
    Upper Arlington, Ohio

  • 3.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-14-2021 12:54 AM

    Hi Karen,
    I know this can be frustrating for sure and I'm sure you're doing everything in your power to make sure the children receive a quality education. Thank you for all you do to serve our children and shape the young minds of the future. 

    I want you to think about your social media time. What do you find grabbing and keeping your attention? Are they videos that are fun, exciting, and quick-paced? Videos that convey the message in a timely manner? Do you scroll if something is too slow? Do you stop for more colorful videos? These are all things to keep in mind. We like to learn in exciting ways and more often times than not, our attention is held when things are fresh. Kids learn at an even faster rate than we do so under stimulation may be a big part of if possibly. I know I was under stimulated as a child and found myself with behavioral issues because I was bored and had already memorized the material that the teacher would go over for another four weeks or so. Maybe try a few different learning styles all in one lesson. Incorporate color, music, and movement into the lesson and see how it changes. 

    children love YouTube because it's all creative expression and art. If we, as teachers, can find a way to infuse their love of art into their education we will be winning for sure. 

    hope this helps!


    Derricia Walters, MA
    Carepointe Academy
    Fort Wayne IN

  • 4.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-14-2021 04:50 AM
    I am Jackie Sankowski and I teach 3 and 4 years old, except I have had a group of two years old join our class from January until the beginning of April.
    I definitely agree with your thoughts regarding the children's behaviour now compared to 10 or 15 years ago.
    I think that the fact that they are not capable of following even the shortest story or understand the simplest request or rule lies on the fact that nowadays even adults, parents included, cannot really follow or pay attention like parents did 15 years ago.
    and it's all because of electronics.
    Computers, phones, I-pads are supposed to help us, instead they are very detrimental to a child.
    This is what I do in my classroom.
    In the morning I put tables activities like stamps, puzzles and colouring with usually crayons and colored pencils.
    But I also give about 20 minutes to one of the children to use their electronics.
    I give them the choice to decide what to do and of course all 10 of them want to play on the I-pad. (Remember there is only 1 I-pad allowed in my classroom). Well at the end of the 20 minutes electronics goes in their bag and at that point, magically, everyone wants to be engaged in the other activities that I previously laid out on the tables.
    I do not require from the whole group to listen to a story at the same time. If I read to a group of 5, my assistant will do a project with the rest of the class or she will do rice table, play dough or bean bags tossing. I look at my class and I firmly believe that anything we do is an opportunity to learn. Either inside while we are reading about rainbows 🌈 or outside while we can actually see one.
    Also, the behaviour is strictly connected to how comfortable each child is in class that particular day.
    Children model our behaviour and if they see a teacher engaged and interested, they generally will be, also, engaged and
    interested. Of course there is always the exception to the rule.
    And sometimes that exception requires the undivided attention of one teacher.

    Jacqueline Frig Sankowski
    Lead teacher
    Mendon Child Care Center
    Mendon NY

  • 5.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-14-2021 10:25 AM
    Hi Karen,  I teach an early childhood special ed class of 3-4 year olds.  I also notice excellent attention to videos and share your concern about difficulty paying attention to a human teacher.  The human brain seems uniquely wired to pay attention to screen information as I also see in my 20 year old.  So, I use the video as a jumping off point.  For example, the children love the song Walking in the Jungle.  So we watch that several times and then we use that to march around the room, listening for animals, repeating the lines, counting, and exploring different movements with forward and backward.  The videos I use are 2 minutes or less but the resulting activity can last up to 10 minutes.  I figured I have to use what works. I also take videos and photos of the children and use those.  They love to see themselves and their friends on my ipad and it sometimes inspires them to explore different materials that they hadn't explored in the classroom or outside.  It creates a good conversation starter as well.
    Patience and Joy

    Julia Capper
    San Diego CA

  • 6.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-15-2021 09:27 AM
    Dear Karen: I can sympathize. This is my sixth year teaching Two Year Olds and I am finding it difficult to manage Circle Time. I don't expect the children to just sit and listen. All activities  in my Circle Time have an interactive element but the children do need some listening skills to enjoy the activities. So I understand your concerns.Listening skills are important. If there were an emergency, the children need to listen and obey instructions in a group setting.
    I am in a new school with a challenging room and no safe outdoor play space. Like you my sessions are two hours and two days a week. I miss interacting with children out doors. During Circle Time , there is musical movement and playing instruments. I "read " a  book interactively- many times the children act out the story . I usually tell a flannel board story- I use homemade, simple felt pieces. It is a little experience of symbolic thinking. The important thing about Circle Time  is a sense of togetherness and an interaction with a loving adult. Every year , there has been a child who won't join the Circle. Many times those children will watch and even participate from outside the Circle. I can get discouraged but I have not given up on Circle Time.
    The Threes in this school have a Smart Board in their classrooms. One experienced teacher new to the school is discouraged because her class comes in asking for a certain children's music video performer and they will listen only to books shown on You Tube. She yearns for the days when she danced with children and shared stories together.
    I don't have advise but I encourage you to keep trying with Circle Time-
    But of course, you can decide to forgo Circle Time for your own piece of mind. With one of my groups, I only plan one art exploration a week and I still have not set up a painting easel  for them because those activities need to be monitored by one adult and we find having two adults to interact with the children during Choice Time more important. Please know that you voiced a frustration for so many of us.
    Thank you.
    Maureen Cummings

    Maureen Cummings
    Stewart Manor NY

  • 7.  RE: Young 3's class

    Posted 04-15-2021 06:27 PM
    Hi Karen,
    Just want to share this site with you. It's all about transforming challenging behaviors. There's also a free virtual conference coming up at the end of April that is really good.

    Kathleen Fong
    Curriculum Specialist
    Partners in Development Foundation: Ka Pa'alana
    Kapolei HI