More than superheroes and more than episodes of Paw Patrol, a preschooler’s favorite topic to talk about is themselves. And why shouldn’t it be? They’re awesome! In addition however, is the fact that they’re beginning their pre-operational thinking phase. Therefore, they can be egocentric in that developmentally appropriate way where they’re not conditioned to take on a perspective that isn’t their own. It’s such an important phase in their development that an environment’s ability to nurture socio-emotional skills such as self-esteem and identity formation are indicators of quality education and care. These skills are the foundation needed so that children grow into kind and confident adults.
A Natural Diversity in The Classroom
A byproduct of this preschool egocentrism is that if directed properly, it can reveal an organic diversity in the classroom. Children can learn about their peers – what they eat, what their family structure is like, what holidays they celebrate – and this can add to understanding diversity in a more meaningful way. Instead of a “lesson”, diversity can become naturally woven into your classroom’s culture in a way that is relevant to the group.
It all starts with the curriculum. So here are a few “all about me” activities that would be a benefit to your classroom.
This is an easy, yet impactful activity to get the preschoolers to celebrate themselves. All you need is two types of mirrors – hand-held and full length – and some drawing materials. As the children are invited to draw themselves as seen in the mirror, a number of domains and skills will reveal: cognition through physical science, emotional growth through self-concept, and communication as they use descriptive language to express what they see. As a bonus, you could even ask the children empowering questions such as “what’s your favorite part of your face?” or something similar.
The preparation required for this activity involves getting to know the family types in your classroom, and collecting pictures of each child’s family. This is the type of curriculum that can really highlight and celebrate the diversity within the class. The children will beam with pride and self-esteem as they identify family members in the picture. Their communication skills can be highlighted as they re-tell stories about their daily life, and perhaps even share some words in their home language! This activity can be a celebration of the wonderful tiny humans in your classroom, and the people who are important to them. It would be a great “show-and-share” activity or something fun to do around the holidays.
Everyone loves puppets! This activity incorporates some simple puppetry as children discuss how they get dressed in the morning, what types of clothing they like to wear, who helps them pick out clothes, etc. The learning opportunities are plentiful. Identity formation will take place as children talk about their own abilities. Having books about getting dressed will help form connections between the books and real life experiences. There’s also an option to develop fine motor skills with the inclusion of zippers and buttons. Perhaps the preschoolers could even learn how to put on their own jackets. Now that’s something that’ll make everyone smile!
A bingo game can be delightful and this one has a focus on recognizing and identifying body parts. Receptive language skills are engaged as children listen to the bingo caller, and they learn to recognize lines and patterns as their bingo cards fill up. This version of the game is multi-faceted. It can be easily modified to include other points of interest for the preschoolers such as their pets, their families, or items in their home.
Though the foundation of this activity is on recognizing healthy food, it can easily be modified to make it about the preschoolers’ personal experiences. It could center around their favorite food, food that they’ve made and eaten in class, or even food from their cultural background. It’s a very open ended curriculum which means that it could encompass numerous domains and skills. The strength of the activity is in the potential for a direct connection it could have to the children.
This “All About Me” activity is colorful, sparkly, and with a high potential for messiness – lots of fun for a preschooler! Depending on the developmental level of each child, it can fortify a number of skills in the literacy domain. There is letter recognition for those in earlier stages, and there is a chance to develop writing skills for those who have the ability to do so. Phonological awareness is possible for those who are beginning to speak, and regardless of their development, everyone can enjoy some cognitive representation as they use a variety of art media and tools. As a bonus, this is an activity that would nicely create a holiday card, or something special for the family.
From “All About Me” to “All About Us”
As we get older, being egocentric can begin to take on a slightly negative connotation. In the preschool years, however, granting children the opportunity to celebrate themselves through “All About Me” activities can build a foundation for genuine self-love. If directed properly, children will also begin to develop empathy and recognition for one another through meaningful stories of their personal lived experiences. Loving themselves evolves into loving the others around them.
Here are some more space-themed activities with free printables to you to save and use in your classroom!
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