Kindergarten Classroom Management

cartoon of excited kids

Kindergarten classroom management can be tricky, even if they are only three years old! To begin, here is a teacher’s question on managing her mixed-age classroom, which is not an easy task.

The Challenge

‘In one class, I have eight children—six of age five and two of age three. Unfortunately, the 3-year-olds distract the rest of the class, meaning they scream, throw the toys around, turn over our small chairs, etc. So I run after them trying to involve them in the game activities.

Yesterday I was exhausted at the end of the lesson. First, I gave the 5-year-olds an animals colouring page and told them to cut and glue it on the board. Then I took the two 3-year-old children and played, or rather, tried to play on the floor with the animals. But, unfortunately, they started screaming, running, and bothering the others.

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle  them and the lesson?’

Kindergarten classroom management suggestions

1. Indeed, firstly, to manage this classroom well, you cannot abandon the majority of the class to colouring. So, you’ll have to ignore those naughty three-year-olds so that you can get on with giving a proper English lesson to the others. If you don’t, eventually the parents will notice that no one is learning anything!

2. As you have the majority of the class aged five and only two 3-year-olds, I would do the opposite of what you are doing currently. That is to say; instead of abandoning the five-year-olds to colouring, where they won’t learn English and devoting yourself to the two brats, I would ignore the brats and focus on teaching the five-year-olds.

3. Generally, three-year-olds cannot learn at the same pace as the five-year-olds (unique exceptions aside). Therefore, if you go at the three-year-olds pace, the five-year-olds will be bored out of their minds. So instead, please focus on the older ones and let the three-year-olds absorb what they can as sponges. Ideally, you might even drop them from the class since they are a total nuisance.

Bad kindergarten classroom management is lose-lose

a. First, five-year-olds are not learning and will be dissatisfied.

b. Next, three-year-olds are being rewarded with your full attention for misbehaving.

c. As a consequence, you are exhausted.

d. Finally, parents will not be happy with the results.

How to manage this kindergarten class

Therefore, things need to change radically, and I would do it like this:

a. If possible, drop the three-year-olds from the class if you can; since they are a nuisance in this context.

b. Tell them off if they scream and throw things. Where possible, ignore them completely. Tell them off firmly if they come near you and the five-year-old children. Concentrate fully on teaching older children. Let the younger ones play QUIETLY in the room while you are teaching. From time to time, please encourage them to join in but give them easy tasks, things they know, things you know they can do. They will absorb the English slowly, and it’s still good for them to be in the room hearing English around them.

c. Use music with choreography and actions to engage the older children. Your activity may attract the younger ones to participate.

d. Use mime and movement.

The importance of classroom management

Kindergarten classroom management is as vital as the subject itself. No one can learn anything in a poorly managed classroom, and the teachers get exhausted.

Use my preschool games book and bonus teaching toddlers report to give lessons that engage young children to participate actively. Also, in paperback from Amazon or order from your local bookstore.

For other useful classroom management tips see:

Classroom discipline: A case study

Attention grabbers for teachers

All the best

Shelley Ann Vernon
Teaching English Games

4 thoughts on “Kindergarten Classroom Management”

  1. I guess mixed groups will work only with the elder children, while that isn`t good idea with the preschoolers.

  2. First of all you can’t mix up 3 and 5 years old the level difference is to big and when the 3 years old can’t behave than there’s only one thing you can do and that’s talk to the parents and like me I’m in China so it’s useless to talk to the parents so just give the fee back they payed and tell the parents that they are not ready to learn English yet and that they are to playfull!

    1. Shelley Ann Vernon

      Hello Han, I agree, it’s not practical to mix three-year-olds with five-year olds, but some teachers are stuck with that situation. That said, I have successfully taught 3-year-old children English. They do learn! You have to go slowly, and repeat things often, but they can and do learn English that young. All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon.

  3. I have ,not 3-year-old screaming but have extra active 3-year-old learners,walk and run permanently and go out of the class to their mothers several times that distract the other kids.first of all I try to diagnose those learners favorites objects or activities and I make use of those objects in my teaching in this case both age group benefits teaching .i try to teach those cases which needs more activities and movements such as TPRs.
    In the case of screaming if I had ,I totally ignore him/her when screaming and prize those who are silent,I ignore him/her and admire those who do what I say.
    And I would consult the screaming child ‘s mom to find out the rout of this habit and try to help her solve the problem.screaming is not the thing from school it is definitely arises from the family(they provide any thing the child asks them)
    Your sincerely,

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