Can you tutor a preschooler online? I asked myself that same question as I planned for my first lesson with a preschooler. I had a good amount of experience with students between the ages of 3-5. The only thing was that is was not online. Whenever I taught young kids, it was always in an in-person classroom. I had to overcome this obstacle: the computer that was making this lesson possible! It’s been months since this first online preschool session happened. I would like to share with you some of the tips and tricks that can make your time all the more easier!
Don’t Be Afraid to Improvise:
This has to be my #1 tip for any online preschool teacher! It is all well and good to have a lesson plan, materials on hand, and activities sheets sent. In reality, your first few lessons will turn out to be completely different than what you thought. Don’t panic! When you realize your session is taking a different path, embrace it. Improvise in the moment. Look for something else that will capture and captivate those small humans minds. Remember, there’s always another day to cover what you had planned on covering with them.
Get Ready to Interact:
A preschooler loves nothing better than connecting with their teachers by chatting! Make a lesson “flow” by asking questions. Gives reactions to what they say. Speak with correct pronunciation. At the beginning of the classes, I always provide my preschoolers a time to relate what happened in their day. This relaxes them. Eases them into the lesson plan. Once they are comfortable, we head into something more structured.
Involve the Parents:
The preschool years are an meaningful and important time in a child’s life. Between the ages of 3 and 5, the average child will start to investigate by asking questions. They’ll copy the things they see grownups do. They’ll begin their exciting journey of reading and writing. Moms and Dads don’t want to miss out on this. Parents can be a part of the incredible changes in their children. You can involve them without them being in the same room as the student during the lesson.
Encourage your preschooler’s parents to ask their child what they learned. Hand the parents worksheets, activities, and games they can do with their kid. These small steps keep them in the loop with what their little one is discovering. If your student’s mom wants to be in on the lesson, all the better! This will make the session time even more fun because parent’s can model the activity. This shows the preschooler how something works. Trust me, little kids will get a kick out of that!
Identify Your Student’s Struggles:
Due to being of young age, preschoolers may have trouble voicing a concern or difficulty. It isn’t easy for 3 or 5 year old children to explain their problems or why they don’t understand a concept. They may fall back on “finale” phrases like “I don’t want this anymore”, or “I’m bored”. Don’t get frustrated, or give them a “try harder” speech. Instead, analyze the the part of the lesson they’ve hit a roadblock at and see if you can point out the solution for them. Usually, the confusion goes away if you actually show them what to do. They will get inspired to go forward and copy what you did. Imitation plays a big part in the development of young children. So use the power of imitation when you teach your preschoolers!
Be Independent of the Computer Screen:
Most preschoolers, (and children in general), these days are having too much screen time per day. On one hand, we can be grateful for the benefits technology can bring. On the other, we recognize it’s negative impact on early development in Children. Knowing this, how do we do online preschool tutoring? One thing I have found helpful is to search out ways I can use the screen as a “window”. I want my preschool pupil to see me in our session, but I don’t want them to make the screen the only tool they interact with. Try to make physical exercises a part of your time with your preschool students. (This is a great way to burn unwanted energy off). Sing fun songs with them, but without the aid of a video! Ask them to grab an object around their house and do a daily show-and-tell. This is a physical game, so you can learn more about them and get them to be more active throughout the lesson. The less time they have to be sitting, staring, or scrolling, the better!
In conclusion, I want to say that I have found tutoring preschoolers to be one of the most fun ages to teach! The “aha” moments are many, enthusiasm unlimited more often than not. Fact is they have a unique take on life that we as adults have forgotten to some extent. So go forth and have fun with online preschool tutoring: adventures await!
Hannah Stiff is a grammar and literature teacher on Tutor Ocean. She has been gobbling up books since she was 4 and loves reading and re-reading her favorite novels, when not busy trying to write her own stories. Along with tutoring, Hannah enjoys music, homesteading, and photography. She lives with her family in the beautiful Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, where she hopes to soak in the same scenery that inspired L.M Montgomery to create her beautiful characters.