I have been working exclusively with preschool students for a little over five months now. I currently have a caseload of 57 preschool students age 3-5 with a variety of speech and language disorders. The students are brought in to me by their parents at an Early Childhood Center. I see a few students individually, but the majority are seen in small groups of 2-4 (I only have one group of 4 right now). I am lucky enough to have a wonderful paraprofessional helping out in my room too! With that many students and smallish groups, you can imagine that my scheduling is pretty tight. You would be right! About 50% of my students are seen in hour long groups, and the other 50% are seen in half hour chunks. I try to group my students as closely as I can with age and goals, but with parents schedules and preschool schedules to work around, the groups can get a bit mixed. Luckily, I have found a way to structure my room so that I can work on a variety of skills in any group. I am super lucky to have a full size classroom as my work space, and I have clearly defined it to move through our sessions.
After play, we usually go over to the smart board for some movement and songs. I have a couple of different boards for this, and right now we are using a board that contains different winter songs that I have found. The kids love getting to choose the song from my selections. The songs help get some wiggles out before we move on to more seated activities. Some of my favorites are on the Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel, Dr. Jean, The Learning Station, and Bounce Patrol.
After our one or two songs, we move over to the book area. My students love to sit in these mini seats and pick their color. Amazingly, I have very few fights over the color chair. The paraprofessional in my room always copies the front cover of the book of the week so that we can display it a couple of different ways. We put one copy on the easel in the book area, and one copy on the bulletin board in our room. My students love looking at the board and talking about their favorite books that we have read. The board is really filling up!
Next, we move over to my work table. Who am I kidding, the students usually run (preschoolers don’t walk) over so they can get their work done and play some more! Plus, they love that we usually have some sort of fun activity or game to go along with their goal work. I usually try to have a game or activity that allows me to focus on a variety of goals. These are usually pretty open ended games/activities such as Pop the Pig, using bingo chips, fishing games, and really any other open ended game/activity that doesn’t require specific answers. I love that I can target both articulation/phonological processes and language skills during the same activity.
After our work is done, we usually try to play for another 5 minutes, and at this point I may go out and talk to parents while the paraprofessional plays with the students. I may give parents things to practice at home or just update them on what we did for the day.
This is how I have organized my longer sessions. For my shorter half hour sessions, the students are typically younger language students, and we spend more time on play. I also skip the book with some of my half hour articulation students.
I have to say that I have been loving how this has been working out, and I have been loving working with preschoolers! They definitely keep me on my toes!