Why Use Themed Lesson Plans?
Preschool themes are not essential for a successful preschool lesson, but they do help bring everything together and keep students engaged in learning. For that reason, preschool themes are highly encouraged to help teachers save time and energy in their planning.
Preschool themes also help teachers show students how different things can be interrelated. It allows them to dig deeper into the theme and explore it from different angles.
How to Use Themes
Once a teacher has chosen a theme, the next requirement is to determine how to fit a lesson into the constraints of the theme. There should be several components to a themed lesson. The first would be the main objectives, whether they are to teach geography or animals or new vocabulary. These objectives should tie back to the theme. For example, if the theme is animals, the learning objective could be to teach rainforest animals and the reason for their colors.
Next, the lesson should have a physical activity to get students moving around and involved. This activity could be a song, dance, scavenger hunt, or follow-the-leader game. Again, the activity should tie back to the theme and allow students to explore it further. If the theme is animals, students could imitate animals and require students to guess the correct animal.
Finally, the lesson should include a craft project. This project should engage students creatively, encouraging them to use art to express themselves and learn more about the theme.
Because preschoolers are interested in the world around them, good themes tie back into the things they see everyday. The following list is a good starting point for preschool teachers needing the ease of flexibility and a way to tie everything together.
o World geography
o Mountains and volcanoes
o In the kitchen
o At the zoo
o Winter activities
Daily vs. Long Term Themes
Teachers who use preschool themes have a few options when it comes to the length of the theme. They can either choose a theme for a day or one for longer. Anything less than a day is not long enough for students to understand the connectedness of the activities.
If teachers want to expand preschool themes for a week or longer, they must choose a broad enough theme that all the days can tie together in some way. For example, if the theme is weather, Monday could be the basic elemental movements making up weather, Tuesday natural disasters, Wednesday the water cycle, Thursday clouds, and Friday can tie it all together.
Final Thoughts on Preschool Themes
Preschool themes can help teachers tie lessons together and explore ideas in a deeper way than they otherwise could with less time. Themes should be no shorter than one day, but can be much longer, such as a week or even more. Themes should be broad enough that teachers can touch on many different aspects, but should be focused enough that students can see the connectedness of the ideas.