By the time a child is a toddler, she typically understands simple two-step requests, like "pick up your ball and put it away, please." Preschoolers ages 3 to 5 may understand more complex 2-step requests, most notably those incorporated into learning activities. Study your curriculum for ways to use two-step activities and structure for classroom management. Students with too much information at once may not finish all tasks because they become frustrated, and it may appear that your class isn't "listening." Always use positive, encouraging language and tone, and praise accomplishments to help build confidence.
Preschoolers learn kinesthetically, so incorporating 2-step directions into motion and dancing games works well. Use games like "Simon Says" to have kids reach for the sky, then lift up their legs, for instance. They can also touch something blue and bring you something black to incorporate other skills into the game. Dance routines with two series of repeating steps can help with coordination and memorization. After introducing a basic step, add a second step or variation of the first step. For instance, you can have students shuffle three times with their right feet, then perform several heel-toe steps backward.
Art projects are naturally step-associated. Even the simplest coloring session requires the preschooler to decide which colors she will use and what she'll draw or color. Have preschoolers perform two-step projects like draw then color or paint a picture, or paint shapes and cut them out. Break a longer project up into two sessions including just two steps. For instance, have students glue their shapes onto pieces of paper and fold them into a book, or help them hang them on string hung from a hanger.
Preschoolers enjoy playing outdoors, and you can use that enthusiasm to teach lessons on following steps. Give students a series of very simple, two-step scavenger hunts. For instance have students find an item with a rough surface, then an item with a smooth surface. Use a garden to teach nurturing, how to follow steps in a particular order and a valuable environmental and life skill. Have students place a plant in a pre-dug hole and fill it up with soil, then water the area. For garden maintenance, have students water and look for weeds to pull several times a week.
Intersperse two-step activities throughout the day to foster life skills. Instruct students to put on their shoes, and tie their shoelaces — if they know how, or help students learn how to wash hands and dry them. Give instructions in two steps, asking students to finish the current project and clear off their tables before recess, for instance. If you have the facilities, plan simple cooking and food preparation like choosing and serving a healthy snack or making homemade cereal by mixing granola and nuts or dried fruit.
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