How to Encourage Independent Learning in Pre-K and Kindergarten

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Are you wanting to incorporate more independent learning with less classroom management problems? Then you’ve come to the right place! Today I am here to share my favorite teacher tip for how to encourage independent learning in Pre-K & Kindergarten. Here it is – go slower first to go faster later! Keep this simple phrase in mind and it can make all the difference in your classroom!

*For even more teacher tips and how to create a playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!

Encourage independent learning in Pre-K and Kindergarten with this simple tip - take time to build routines and a strong foundation early on!

How to Encourage Independent Learning in Pre-K and Kindergarten

As teachers, it can be tempting to want to dive into ALL the things when you’re getting your classroom going at the start of the year. After all – there’s so much to learn and do starting on the very first day of school! But if I can share even just one thing I’ve learned through trial in error with my classes – is that when I go SLOWER in the beginning, we make more progress in the end!

If you dive into the year tackling all of the curriculum, work, and play without spending proper time building routines and a solid classroom system then you will find yourself consistently being stopped by behavior issues, student interruptions, and more. All of this in the end, actually slows you (and your students) down!

Spending proper time building solid classroom routines will pay off in the end.

“Go Slower First to Go Faster Later!”

I’m often asked what my plans are in the first weeks of school. They’re pretty simple and straightforward – routines! Routines, routines, and more routines.

You may be wondering how long building these routines will take. The answer isn’t exact and can vary based on the routine and other factors. But I can tell you that if you can remain consistent for 2 solid weeks (the keyword being “CONSISTENT”) by week 3 you will be so happy you stuck with it!

This doesn’t mean that those first few weeks are “easy!” We spend a long time learning about what school is and how we are a classroom community. This sets us up for a lot of success later, because the kids know exactly what to do in a wide variety of situations.

You may feel “behind” at first, but later on, when others may be having issues pop up left and right, you will be buzzing right along, because your room is a bustling hive of independent learners!

Always remind yourself that the key to independent learning is to go slower first to go faster later!

Teaching routines helps kids to be strong independent learners.

Bonus Tip: My sub plans are only a page or two long. All I usually need is the schedule and some of our favorite read alouds, because my kids know the routines so well and can manage their own centers.

Just remember, spending time building a foundation of independent learning at the beginning of the year, while it feels hard – pays off GREATLY in the end!

Going slow to build a strong foundation will allow students more time to play.

If you’re committing to solid routines this year too – let me know so we can support each other!

Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?

(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)

If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!

This P.L.A.Y. course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom!

This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!

The Kindergarten Connection

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