Skills for Preschool Teachers

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  • Edition: 10th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-05
  • Publisher: Pearson

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This classic in the field of early childhood education provides practical tips and research-based methods for developing teachers, plus ready-to-use checklists for observing children and the classroom environment. In addition to its success as a college text, Janice Beaty’s Skills for Preschool Teachers is widely used by student interns, volunteers, assistants, CDA candidates, and beginning and experienced teachers around the world who work with three- to five-year old children in a variety of settings—preschools, center-based child care, Head Start programs, and pre-kindergartens.


Rewritten to include the most recent research on the use of technology with young children, the linkage between brain development and children’s play, and the importance of taking indoor activities outdoors, this new edition brings students up-to-date on the latest information and innovations in the area of preschool teaching.


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Author Biography

Dr. Janice J. Beaty is not only a writer of many college texts for early childhood educators but is also a traveler. Her books for Pearson include Skills for Preschool Teachers, 10/e, 2017 (also in Chinese), Early Literacy in Preschool & Kindergarten with L.Pratt, 4/e, 2015, Observing Development of the Young Child, 8/e, 2014, Fifty Early Childhood Literacy Strategies, 3/e, 2013 , (both also in Chinese). She is also the author of Preschool Appropriate Practices, 4/e, 2014, (also in Chinese). She has visited early childhood programs in China, Russia, Poland, and Bermuda and throughout Missouri where she has done training of Foster Grandparents who work in Head Start classrooms. She taught for 20 years at Elmira College where she developed a CDA Training of Trainers workshop and presented it in Elmira, NY, Columbia, SC, Atlanta, GA, & Orlando, FL. When she is not writing early childhood texts, you might find her “out west” in one of the national parks featured in her latest children’s books: Jarod and the Mystery of the Joshua Trees, 2015, or Jarod and the Mystery of the Petroglyphs, 2016, Sunstone Press, for middle school readers.

Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents

1 Maintaining a Safe Classroom

2 Maintaining a Healthy Classroom

3 Establishing a Learning Environment

4 Advancing Physical Skills

5 Advancing Cognitive Skills

6 Advancing Communication Skills

7 Advancing Creative Skills

8 Building a Positive Self-Concept

9 Promoting Social Skills

10 Providing Guidance

11 Promoting Family Involvement

12 Providing Program Management

13 Promoting Professionalism


Detailed Table of Contents



The In-Service Training Option

Skills Based on Child Development Associate Training                      

Textbook Chapters from Functional Areas                   

Competency Standards, Functional Areas, Chapters              

Teacher Skills Checklist                  

Assessment for In-Service Training Option                 

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)   

NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards  


1 Maintaining a Safe Classroom            

Set Up Safe Classroom Environment  



Promote Toy and Materials Safety Within Each Learning Center         

Art Center                

Block-Building Center

Book Center 

Computer Center                   

Cooking Center         

Dramatic Play Center

Gross-Motor Center   

Manipulative/Math Center                  

Music/Listening Center          

Sand/Water/Sensory Table                

Science/Discovery Center                 

Woodworking Center 

Writing Center          

Battery-Operated Toys and Video Games                   

Safety Checklist       

General Room Conditions                  

Video 1.1   Fire Safety          

Keep Outdoor Playground Safe and Secure     

Video 1.2   Physical Development: Early Childhood     

Books as Lead-Ins to Playground Safety Activities      

Plan and Implement Necessary Emergency Procedures                      

Emergency Illnesses or Injuries         

Preparing for Accidents         

Injury Safety Activities          

Weather Emergencies           

Books as Lead-Ins to Emergency Weather Activities               

Emergency Exiting                

Books as Lead-Ins to Fire Fighting Activities   

Emergency Evacuation Plans

Provide a Safe Atmosphere Through Teacher Behavior                       

Teacher’s Behavior               

Dissipate Fear          

Book as a Lead-In to Talking About Fear                    

Supervising Classroom Areas

Anticipating Unsafe Behavior 

Redirecting Unsafe Behavior  

Modeling Safe Behavior         

Involving Children in Safety Rules                  

Car and School Bus Safety                

Books as Lead-Ins to School Bus Safety Activities                 

Field Trip Safety       

Book as a Lead-In to Field Trip Manners                     

Promote Personal Safety for Each Child         


Books as Lead-Ins to Talking About Bullying   


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


2 Maintaining a Healthy Classroom     

Set Up a Healthy Classroom Environment Emphasizing Children’s Wellness             

Children’s Wellness  

Encourage Children to Become Physically Fit Through Exercise and Rest      

Physical Fitness       

Physical Fitness Guidelines   

Physical Fitness Activities                

Books as Lead-Ins to Classroom Physical Activities    


Books as Lead-Ins to Resting/Napping

Promote Good Nutrition Through Food Choices and Children’s Eating          


Video 2.1   Mealtime and Snack Time


Analyzing Food Choices        

Food in the Classroom          


Cultural Food

Books as Lead-Ins to Cultural Food Activities 


Screen Time             

Picky Eaters

Books as Lead-Ins to Helping Picky Eaters     

Use Materials to Ensure Children’s Health Through Personal Hygiene and Cleanliness          

Keeping the Classroom Clean

Video 2.2 Handwashing         

Personal Hygiene: Handwashing        

Washing Dolls and Toys        

Tooth Brushing         

Books as Lead-Ins to Toothbrushing   

Sun Protection          

Recognize Unusual Behavior and Symptoms of Illness and Respond to Them



Insect Bites              


Chicken Pox 

Book as Lead-In to Chicken Pox Theme                     


Books as Lead-Ins to Using Tissues  

Ear Infections           

Special Conditions                

Medical Exams         

Books as Lead-Ins to Doctor and Dentist Visits           


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


3  Establishing a Learning Environment                     

Set Up Stimulating Learning Centers in Appropriate Spaces   

Learning Centers as Brain Stimulators

Colors as Stimulators

Noise Levels

Room Arrangement               

Video 3.1 Room Arrangement: Preschool                    

Room Layout

Separating Activities 

Floor Planning          

Self-Regulating Methods        

Provide Appropriate Materials for Children’s Self-Directed Activities in Indoor Learning Centers        

Play as Learning       

Exploratory Play Levels         

Equipping Learning Centers   

Block-Building Center

Book Center 

Dramatic Play Center

Manipulative/Math Center                  

Art Center                

Gross-Motor Center   

Music Center

Science/Discovery Center                 

Writing Center          

Computer Center       

Sensory Play Center 

Woodworking Center 

Developmentally Appropriate Materials

Evaluating Room Arrangement           

Provide Stimulating Outdoor Learning Activities                    

Outdoor Dramatic Play          


Block Building          



Climbing, crawling     

Fine Motor                


Use Technology Where Developmentally Appropriate 

Computer (desktop; laptop)    


Touch Tablet

Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) 

Multitouch Table or Smart Table         

eBook Player

Digital Camera          

Video 3.2 Technology

Digital Voice Recorder           

Digital Music Player/Recorder


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


4 Advancing Physical Skills    

Guide Children’s Development of Gross-Motor Skills and Provide Appropriate Equipment and Activities       


Books as Lead-Ins to Walking Activities         



Books as Lead-Ins to Jumping           


Books as Lead-Ins to Leg and Feet Action                  


Books as Lead-Ins to Climbing Activities                    



Books as Lead-Ins to Playing Basketball/Baseball       

Riding Wheeled Equipment                

Book as a Lead-In to Riding a Trike    

Making Plans for Individuals  

Guide Children’s Development of Fine-Motor Skills and Provide Appropriate Materials and Activities            

Fine-Motor Assessment        

Sequence of Development     

Whole Arm               

Books as Lead-Ins to Hammering       

Whole Hand 

Pincer (Finger 1)       


Cutting with Scissors

Books as Lead-Ins to Cutting 

Pincer Coordination (Finger 2)

Stringing Beads        

Books as Lead-Ins to Bead-Stringing Activities

Provide Opportunities for Children to Engage in Movement-Based Learning              

Video 4.1   Movement and Music       

Books as Lead-Ins to Movement Activities                 

Provide Opportunities for Children to Engage in Creative Dance         

Movement Props      

Books as Lead-Ins to Creative Dance 


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


5 Advancing Cognitive Skills  

Describe How Cognitive Development Takes Place In Preschool Children                  

Pioneers in Children’s Cognitive Development 

Brain Research         

Cognitive Development in Preschool   

Help Children Develop Curiosity About Their World Through Sensory Exploration                 

Sensory Exploration  

Assessing Children’s Curiosity           

Sensory Questions               

Reawakening Your Own Curiosity                   

Open-Ended Sensory Questions        

Scientific Inquiry: The Guessing-Game Method (High-Level Thinking)    

Equipment and Materials in the Classroom      

Outside Sensory Explorations

Books as Lead-Ins to Outside Sensory Exploration      

Help Children Develop Basic Concepts About Their World by Classifying, Comparing, and Counting Objects in It           

Sorting and Classifying Objects That Are Alike

Video 5.1 Sorting Shells        

Comparing Objects by Size, Shape, Color, and Number

Books as Lead-Ins to Comparing Objects                   

Early Childhood Mathematics 

Books as Lead-Ins to Number Activities         

Help Children Apply Basic Concepts About Their World Through High-Level Thinking and Problem Solving             

Following a Broad But Simple Concept

Problem Solving, Divergent Thinking, and Metacognition          

Books as Lead-Ins to Thinking Activities                    

Problem Solving with Computer Programs       


Do You Know?

Learning Activities   


6 Advancing Communication Skills    

Provide Activities That Promote Children’s Speaking and Listening               

Brain Research         

Talk-Rich Environment          

Listening with Intent  

Helping Children Listen with Intent      

Soundproofing the Room                   

Helping Children Become Speakers    

Responsive versus Restrictive Language        

Books as Lead-Ins to Responsive Language Activities 

Books as Lead-Ins to Children Gaining Confidence      

Books as Lead-Ins to the Need to Communicate         

The Mix of Children   

Video 6.1 Encouraging Conversation  

Books as Lead-Ins to Children’s Conversations           

Help Dual Language Learners to Learn English           

New Technology       

Why Use Home Languages               

Reading Bilingual Books                    

Books as Lead-Ins for Dual Language Activities                      

Provide Materials and Activities to Support Emergent Reading                       

Emergent Reading                

Books to Motivate Listening   

Word Play                

Predictable Books                 

Reading Books to Children                 

Follow-Up Book Activities                  

Books as Lead-Ins to Story Reenactment       

Provide Materials and Activities to Support Emergent Writing            

Writing in Preschool  

Book as a Lead-In to Writing Tools     

Writing Behaviors                 

Taking Dictation        

Children’s Writing Activities   

Books as Lead-Ins to Writing Activities          

Alphabet Letters                   

Books as Lead-Ins to Alphabet Activities                    

Computer Alphabet Programs

Children’s Names      

Video 6.2 Creating a Print-Rich Environment   

Books as Lead-Ins to Children’s Names          

Orientation of Letters 


Do You Know?

Learning Activities     


7 Advancing Creative Skills     

Promote Children’s Creativity Through Freedom to Use Their Imaginations               

Acceptance and Encouragement        

Teacher Creativity                 


Fantasy Role-Play                

Books as Lead-Ins to Fantasy Play                

Video 7.1 Creative Art Expressions    

Multiethnic Books                 

Superhero Play         

Books as Lead-ins to Superhero Play 


Give Children the Opportunity to be Creative in Dramatic Play

Books as Lead-Ins to Dramatic Play   

Dramatic Play Areas 

Teacher’s Role         

As a Model               

As a Mediator           

Provide Art Materials and Activities for Children to Explore Creatively on Their Own  

Process versus Product        

Easel Activities        

Art Supplies             

Play Dough              

Colored Chalk           

Finger Painting         

Monster Mixing         

Books as Lead-Ins to Mixing Colors   

Acceptance of Art Products   

Books as Lead-Ins to Art Activities                

Books About Adult Artists                 

Stages of Art Development                

Encourage Children to Create and Have Fun with Music         

Brain Research Regarding Music                    


Books as Lead-Ins to Singing/Chanting a Happy Song 


Manipulating the Music Medium         

Rhythm Instruments  

Your Own Instrument

Books as Lead-Ins to Instrument Playing                    

Using Recorded Music          

Other Creative Activities        


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


8 Building a Positive Self-Concept      

Help Children Improve Their Self-Concept Through the Positive Classroom Environment You Have Established                       

Physical Environment

Book as a Lead-In to Seeing Different Faces   

Emotional Environment         

Accept Yourself and Every Child as Worthy and Use Verbal and Nonverbal Cues to Let Children Know They Are Accepted         

Adult Self-Acceptance           

Adult—Child Acceptance        

Books as Lead-Ins to Adult—Child Self-Concept Activities                    

Nonverbal Cues        

A Favorite Child        

Behavior Management Style  

Child's Self-Acceptance        

Mirrors, Photos, and Recordings        

Self-Concept Name Games and Songs           

Self-Concept Art and Photography                

Books as Lead-Ins to Child Self-Acceptance Activities

Accept and Respect Diversity in Children and Help Children to Respect One Another 

Stress Similarities But Honor Differences                    

Books as Lead-Ins to Different Cultural Activities                    

Build on Each Child’s Strengths         

Have High Expectations for Everyone 

Cultural Influences on Children’s Self-Concept 

Helps Children Respect One Another  

Help Every Child to Develop Independence and Experience Success in the Classroom          

Video 8.1 Opportunities for Success   

Strengthening a Child’s Independence

Control Over the Classroom Environment                    

Children’s Activity Choices    

Children’s Special Skills        

Teacher’s Role         


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


9 Promoting Social Skills                   

Help Children Develop the Social Skills of Interacting in Harmony with Others           

Neuroscience Research         

Social Play               

Importance of Parallel Play    

Onlooker-to Parallel-to-Cooperative Play                     

Teacher’s Role         

Help Children Learn to Work and Play Cooperatively through Sharing and Turn-Taking         

Sharing and Turn-Taking        

Modeling Sharing and Turn-Taking Behavior    

Modeling with Puppets          

Books as Lead-Ins to Sharing and Turn-Taking Activities                     

Computer Turn-Taking           

Help Children Learn to Enter Ongoing Play Without  Disruptions        

Group-Access Strategies       

Dramatic Play           

Learning from Peers in Dramatic Play 

Learning Real-Life Roles                    

Block Building          

Handling Interpersonal Conflicts         

Video 9.1 Building with Blocks           

Other-Esteem Conflict Conversion                  

The Shy Child           

Children Who Don’t Know How to Play

Help Children Learn to Find Friends   

Books as Lead-Ins to Help Children Get Involved with Others   

Listening Partners                 

Creating a Kindness Class                 


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


10 Providing Guidance

Help Young Children Develop Self-Control Through Positive Guidance          

Brain Research         

Use Positive Prevention Measures to Help Children Eliminate Inappropriate Behavior

Learning Environment Modification    

Colors to Create Emotional Tone                    

New Materials           

Book as a Lead-In to Preventing Possession Squabbles          

Encouraging Environment for Boys     

Orderly Sequence of Events  

A Minimum of Waiting           

A Maximum of Time  

Child Involvement in Rules                

Book as a Lead-In to Rule-Making Problems   

Setting Limits           

Video 10.1   Managing Challenging Behavior   

Knowing the Children 

Force Unacceptable  

Use Positive Intervention Measures to Help Children Control their Inappropriate Behavior     

Accepting Negative Feelings  

Helping Children Verbalize Negative Feelings  

Emotional Literacy                

Books About Anger as Lead-Ins to Verbalizing Feelings           

Redirecting Inappropriate Behavior     

No Time-Out Chair                

Out-of-Control Children          

Temper Tantrums                 

Biting and Hitting                  

Intervening in Interpersonal Conflicts  

Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques to Help Children Learn Appropriate Behavior

Positive Reinforcement         

Focus on Injured Child, Not on Aggressor                   

Model Appropriate Behavior   


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


11 Promoting Family Involvement       

Encourage Family Involvement in the Early Childhood Program to Promote Their Children’s Development   

Involve Families in Participating in Their Children’s Learning Activities         

Focus on the Child                

Home Visits             

Building Trust in Parents and Parent Trust in the Program        

Beginning School      

Books to Help Children Become Accustomed to School           

Two-Way Communication                  

Methods for Two-Way Communication

Books, Materials and Photos as Connectors               

Home Visits             

Family Members’ Classroom Visits    

Parents as Classroom Volunteers                  

Classroom Volunteer Rules    

Parent Conferences              

Video 11.1   A Conference with Kayla’s Mom  

Recognize and Support Families of Different Makeups            

Single-Parent Families          

Books About Single-Parent Families   

Mixed/Blended/Adopted Families                   

Books About Adoption and Mixed Families     

Gay and Lesbian Families                 

Books About Gay and Lesbian Families          

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren   

Books About Grandparents    

Culturally Diverse Families    

Working Parents       

Build Teacher—Family Relationships Through Family Meetings          

Family Support of Program    

Monthly Family Meetings                   

Activities in Learning Centers 

Motivating Family Attendance

Books About Potluck Suppers           


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


12 Providing Program Management    

Make Your Design Colorful    

Observe, Record, and Interpret the Needs and Interests of the Children          

Video 12.1   Observing Children in Authentic Contexts 



Interpreting Results   

Plan and Implement an Emergent Curriculum 

Team Planning         

Team Planning Sessions       

Team Roles and Responsibilities        

Overcoming Team Problems  

Employing an Emergent Curriculum    

Video 12.2 Emergent Curriculum Built on Children’s Interests   

Using Curriculum Webs in Planning    

Children’s Response to Curriculum Webs                    

Converting Children’s Interests into a Theme-Based Curriculum            

Field Trips                

Observing and Recording Their Discoveries    

Picture Books as Lead-Ins to an Entire Curriculum      

Manage Time Within the Program Schedule    

Managing Time Blocks          

Advantages of Time Blocks               

Time Management in the Preschools of Reggio Emilia 

Assess Outcomes of the Planning       

Child Observation                 

Observing Marsella   

Assessment Interviews         

Arrange Follow-Up Based on Assessment                   

Additions to Learning Centers

Team Planning for Follow-Up 



Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


13  Promoting Professionalism           

Continue Professional Growth as a Teacher of Young Children                      

Becoming a Professional                   

Categories of Professional Development                     

Early Childhood Programs                 


A Helping Profession             

Make a Commitment to the Early Childhood Profession                      

Knowledge Base in the Field of Early Childhood                      

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)               

Video 13.1 Designing Developmentally Appropriate Days         

Keeping Up with Developments in the Field     

New Knowledge                    

New Technology                   

Reciprocal Teaching and Learning      

Training Opportunities in the Field of Early Childhood               

Technology-Based E-Learning            

Online College Training                      

Child Development Associate

Why Become a CDA?           


Licensing and Credentialing   

Service Requirements in the Field of Early Childhood Education                       

Behave Ethically Toward Children, Families, and Coworkers  

Shows Respect for All           

Demonstrates Caring Toward All Children        

Respects Privacy of Children, Families, and Coworkers                       

NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct     

Training About Ethical Conduct          

Take Every Opportunity to Improve Professional Growth        

Ongoing Training                   

Join a Professional Organization, Read Its Publications, Network with Colleagues in the Field     

Professional Publications                  

Career Opportunities 

Professional Portfolio

Personal Contribution


Do You Know?

Learning Activities      


Appendix A Becoming a CDA: Child Development Associate  

Obtaining a CDA Credential     

Before Apply

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