Preschool Classroom Management Strategies




list of preschool classroom management strategies

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Preschool classroom management is a crucial aspect of early childhood education that plays a significant role in shaping young minds. With the aim of creating a positive and engaging learning environment, teachers need to employ effective strategies to manage their classrooms effectively.

From setting clear expectations to implementing consistent routines, these strategies not only promote discipline but also encourage learning and social-emotional development among preschoolers.

In this article, we will explore various classroom management strategies specifically tailored for preschool settings. We will delve into practical techniques that empower teachers to establish structure, foster student engagement, and address behavioral challenges effectively.

By understanding the unique needs and developmental stages of preschoolers, educators can create a safe and nurturing space where every child can flourish academically and emotionally.

Reasons why you should handle challenging behaviors in pre-school

One of the most important aspects of early childhood education is learning how to effectively handle challenging behaviors in the preschool classroom. There are several reasons why this is such an important skill for educators to possess. Here are seven reasons why you should handle challenging behaviors in preschool children:

1. Disruptive behaviors can interfere with the learning of other preschoolers.

One of the most important things to remember when working with preschoolers is that disruptive behaviors can interfere with the learning of other students in the classroom.

This is why it is so important to be proactive in addressing challenging behaviors in your preschool classroom.

By using positive reinforcement and consistent expectations, you can help reduce disruptive behaviors and create a more positive learning environment for all students.

2. It is important to identify the behaviors early so that you can address them before they become ingrained habits.

It is important to handle challenging behaviors in the preschool classroom for a variety of reasons.

One of the most important things is that it allows you to address the behaviors early before they become ingrained habits.

This is especially important because challenging behaviors can be very difficult to change once they become established.

By addressing the behaviors early, you can prevent them from becoming a bigger problem down the road.

3. Having clear expectations for behavior can help prevent disruptive behaviors from occurring in the first place.

One of the best ways to prevent disruptive behavior in the preschool classroom is to have clear expectations for behavior.

If children know what is expected of them, they are more likely to behave in an appropriate manner.

Challenging behaviors can still occur, but having clear expectations can help reduce their frequency and severity.

4. Using positive reinforcement strategies can encourage desired behaviors while discouraging undesirable ones.

One of the most important things you can do as a preschool teacher is to manage challenging behaviors in your classroom. One way to do this is by using positive reinforcement strategies.

With positive reinforcement, you can encourage desired behaviors while discouraging undesirable ones.

This is just one of the reasons why you should handle challenging behaviors in your preschool classroom.

5. Explicitly teaching social skills can help reduce disruptive behaviors.

One of the reasons you should handle challenging behaviors in the preschool classroom is that explicitly teaching social skills can help reduce disruptive behaviors.

When children are taught how to appropriately interact with their peers, they are more likely to engage in positive social behavior.

Furthermore, by providing opportunities for practice, children will have a chance to put their new skills to use and receive feedback.

For these reasons, explicitly teaching social skills is an effective way to reduce disruptive behaviors in the preschool classroom.

6. Providing opportunities for physical activity can help release excess energy and reduce the likelihood of disruptive behavior.

The school day can be long and challenging for kids, especially those who struggle to focus or have a lot of energy.

But there are things that teachers can do to help reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom. One of those things is providing opportunities for physical activity.

When kids have a chance to release some of their excess energy, they’re less likely to act out in class.

7. Helping children make smooth transitions between activities can also reduce the occurrence of disruptive behavior.

In order to reduce the occurrence of disruptive behavior in a preschool classroom, it is important to help children make smooth transitions between activities.

This can be done by providing a clear and consistent routine for children to follow and by helping them to understand what is expected of them during each activity. When children know what to expect and feel comfortable with the expectations, they are less likely to become disruptive.

10 classroom management strategies for preschool that really work

When it comes to managing a preschool classroom, there are certain strategies that teachers can use throughout the day to help make things run smoothly. These classroom management tips can be learned through professional development or implemented by modeling what other successful teachers do. Here are 20 different strategies that preschool teachers can use in their classrooms:

1. Positive Reinforcement

In a preschool classroom, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that can help encourage good behavior, promote cooperation, and create a positive learning environment. Positive reinforcement is the act of providing a stimulus immediately following a behavior that increases the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement has several benefits in a preschool setting. Here are some reasons why it is an effective strategy:

  • Motivation: Positive reinforcement motivates children to engage in desirable behaviors. When they receive praise, rewards, or recognition for their good behavior, they are more likely to continue displaying those behaviors.
  • Building self-esteem: Positive reinforcement helps boost children’s self-esteem and confidence. When they receive praise and acknowledgment for their achievements, they feel valued and capable.
  • Creating a positive learning environment: By focusing on positive reinforcement, the classroom becomes a positive and nurturing environment. Children feel safe and encouraged to participate and express themselves.

Rewarding Good Behavior and Encouraging Cooperation

Here are some strategies for implementing positive reinforcement in the preschool classroom:

  • Verbal praise: Use specific, descriptive language to acknowledge and praise children’s good behavior. For example, saying “Great job sharing your toys with your friends, Sarah!” or “I noticed that you are taking turns and listening to others, James. Well done!”
  • Sticker charts or reward systems: Create a visual representation of the children’s progress and reward them with stickers or tokens for demonstrating positive behaviors or achieving specific goals.
  • Special privileges: Offer special privileges or rewards, such as being the line leader, choosing a favorite activity, or having extra playtime, to children who consistently display good behavior.
  • Group rewards: Encourage cooperation and teamwork by rewarding the entire class when they collectively achieve a specific goal or behavior.

By implementing positive reinforcement strategies in the preschool classroom, educators can create a supportive and engaging learning environment that promotes positive behaviors and sets the foundation for future academic and social success.

2. Assigning Class Jobs or Roles

Assigning class jobs or roles in a preschool classroom is a valuable strategy for teaching responsibility and contributing to the overall management of the classroom. By assigning tasks to students, teachers can create a sense of ownership and help students develop important life skills. Here are some examples of class jobs for preschool students:

1. Line Leader:

The line leader is responsible for leading the class in an organized manner when moving from one area to another.

2. Materials Helper:

The materials helper ensures that all classroom materials are organized and accessible for students.

3. Snack Helper:

The snack helper assists with distributing snacks and cleaning up afterward.

4. Door Holder:

The door holder helps classmates enter and exit the classroom in an orderly manner.

5. Book Monitor:

The book monitor ensures that classroom books are returned to their proper places and that the library area is neat and organized.

6. Clean-up Crew:

The clean-up crew helps tidy up the classroom at the end of the day or after activities.

Assigning these class jobs empowers preschool students to take responsibility for their learning environment and develop important skills such as organization, teamwork, and accountability. By rotating the jobs regularly, every student has the opportunity to contribute and learn from different responsibilities.

By incorporating class jobs into the preschool classroom, teachers create a sense of community and teach valuable life skills that will benefit students long after their preschool years. 

3. Planning Fun Short Break Activities

When it comes to managing a preschool classroom, incorporating fun short break activities can make a big difference. These breaks not only give students a chance to rest and recharge but also provide opportunities for them to engage in activities that promote learning and social interaction. Here are some ideas for planning fun break activities in the classroom:

Giving Students a Break to Refresh and Recharge

1. Brain Breaks: Incorporate short movement breaks into your daily routine. These can include dancing, stretching exercises, or even a quick game of Simon Says. The goal is to get students up and moving, allowing them to release energy and refocus their minds.

2. Sensory Play: Set up a sensory station where students can engage in activities that stimulate their senses, such as playing with Play-Doh, exploring sensory bins filled with different materials like rice or sand, or experimenting with scented materials.

3. Interactive Games: Provide students with interactive games that promote cognitive skills, such as puzzles, memory games, or matching activities. These games not only provide a mental break, but also help with problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Ideas for Fun Break Activities in the Classroom

1. Story Time: Take a short break to read a story aloud to the students. This not only allows them to relax and unwind but also fosters a love for reading and language development.

2. Music and Movement: Play some upbeat music and encourage students to dance, sing, or play musical instruments. This allows them to express themselves creatively and improves motor skills.

3. Art Activities: Provide art materials and encourage students to engage in open-ended art activities, such as drawing, painting, or creating collages. This allows them to express their creativity and develop fine motor skills.

By incorporating these fun short break activities into your preschool classroom, you can create a positive and engaging environment that promotes learning while giving students the necessary breaks they need to stay focused and refreshed. 

4. Including Calm-Down Activities or Space

In a preschool classroom, it’s important to provide students with strategies and tools to manage their energy and emotions. By incorporating calm-down activities and creating a dedicated calm space, teachers can help students develop self-regulation skills and create a peaceful learning environment. Here are some effective strategies for including calm-down activities and space in a preschool classroom:

Helping Students Manage Their Energy and Emotions

  • Teach deep breathing techniques: Teach students simple deep breathing exercises, such as inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth. Encourage them to practice these techniques when they feel overwhelmed or need to calm down.
  • Introduce mindfulness activities: Engage students in mindful activities, such as guided meditation or body scan exercises, to help them become aware of their thoughts and feelings in the present moment.
  • Incorporate movement breaks: Allow students to engage in short movement breaks throughout the day to release excess energy. This can include stretching, yoga poses, or dancing to music.

Creating a Calm and Relaxing Space for Preschoolers

  • Designate a calm-down corner: Set up a designated area in the classroom where students can go to calm down and regulate their emotions. Make sure the space is comfortable and stocked with calming tools, such as soft pillows, stuffed animals, or sensory toys.
  • Use calming visuals: Decorate the calm-down corner with calming visuals, such as nature posters or pictures of peaceful scenes. This can help create a soothing atmosphere and provide a visual cue for students to associate with relaxation.
  • Provide quiet activities: Stock the calm-down corner with quiet activities, such as books, puzzles, or art supplies. These activities can help students redirect their focus and find solace during moments of high energy or stress.

By incorporating calm-down activities and creating a dedicated calm space, preschool teachers can help students develop self-regulation skills and create a peaceful learning environment. These strategies can support positive behavior and emotional well-being in young learners. 

5. Using Kid-Friendly Labels

Organizing and identifying classroom materials in a preschool classroom is crucial for effective classroom management. One strategy that can help with this is using kid-friendly labels. These labels not only help keep the classroom organized but also assist preschoolers in locating and returning materials. Here are some benefits of using kid-friendly labels in a preschool classroom:

1. Organizing and Identifying Classroom Materials

Using labels can help teachers and students easily locate and identify classroom materials. When materials are clearly labeled, children can independently find what they need for various activities, promoting a sense of autonomy and responsibility. Kid-friendly labels provide visual cues that aid in the recognition and retrieval of items, making clean-up time more efficient.

2. Benefits of Kid-Friendly Labels for Preschoolers

  • Visual Cues: Kid-friendly labels incorporate pictures or drawings that assist young learners in associating the labels with the corresponding objects or areas in the classroom.
  • Language Development: Labels serve as early literacy tools, as preschoolers can begin making connections between pictures and words. This exposure to print promotes language development and reading readiness.
  • Independence and Confidence: When children can easily find and put away materials on their own, it fosters a sense of independence and self-confidence. Kid-friendly labels empower preschoolers to take ownership of their learning environment.

By utilizing kid-friendly labels in a preschool classroom, teachers can create a more organized and efficient learning environment while promoting independence and language development in their young learners.

6. Splitting up the Class into Smaller Groups

In a preschool classroom, one effective strategy for managing behavior and promoting a positive learning environment is splitting up the class into smaller groups. This strategy not only helps teachers maintain control and focus during instruction but also encourages collaboration and cooperation among students.

Promoting Collaboration and Cooperation Among Students

By dividing the class into smaller groups, preschoolers have the opportunity to work closely with their peers, engage in meaningful conversations, and develop important social skills. This collaborative setting allows students to learn from one another, share ideas, and problem-solve together. It also promotes a sense of teamwork and fosters positive relationships among classmates.

Some benefits of promoting collaboration and cooperation among students include:

  • Increased engagement and participation
  • Improved communication skills
  • Enhanced problem-solving abilities
  • Development of empathy and respect for others
  • Encouragement of creativity and critical thinking
  • Strengthened social connections and friendships

Strategies for Organizing Small Groups in the Classroom

When implementing this strategy, it’s important for teachers to establish clear procedures and expectations for small group work. Here are some strategies for organizing small groups in the preschool classroom:

  • Randomly assign students to groups to promote inclusivity.
  • Rotate group members periodically to foster interactions among different students.
  • Clearly define the tasks and roles within each group to ensure smooth collaboration.
  • Provide materials and resources that support the learning objectives of each group.
  • Offer guidance and support as needed, while allowing students to take ownership of their learning.

By effectively implementing small groups in the preschool classroom, teachers can create an environment that promotes cooperation, builds social skills, and enhances learning experiences for all students. 

7. Establishing Routines

When it comes to preschool classroom management, establishing consistent routines is key to creating a sense of security and predictability for young children. These routines help children know what to expect and feel more comfortable in their learning environment. Here are some strategies for developing a classroom routine that works for preschoolers:

Creating a Sense of Security and Predictability

  • Greet each child with a warm smile and make them feel welcome in the classroom.
  • Provide an inviting and safe environment with plenty of toys and materials for exploration.
  • Use visual cues like signs or posters to make expectations clear and help children understand classroom rules.
  • Display photos of the children and their families to create a sense of connection and familiarity.

Developing a Classroom Routine that Works for Preschoolers

  • Establish a consistent daily schedule that allows children to develop a sense of predictability.
  • Make transitions easier by providing visual cues or timers to help children understand when activities will begin or end.
  • Include group activities to foster social skills and teamwork.
  • Provide individual attention to each child, whether through one-on-one conversations or individualized instruction.
  • Use positive reinforcement and praise to encourage desired behavior.

By establishing routines and creating a predictable learning environment, preschool teachers can effectively manage their classrooms and support children’s development and learning. These strategies help children feel secure, engaged, and ready to learn. For more information on preschool classroom management, you can visit this link.

8. Creating Visual Class Schedules

One effective preschool classroom management strategy is to create visual class schedules. These schedules help students understand the daily activities and transitions, providing them with a sense of structure and predictability throughout the day. Visual schedules can be especially helpful for students with special needs or those who struggle with transitions.

Helping Students Understand Daily Activities and Transitions

Visual class schedules provide a visual representation of the day’s activities, allowing students to see what will happen next. This helps them understand the sequence of events and reduces anxiety by providing a clear and predictable routine. The visual schedules also help students transition between activities more independently and with less prompting from the teacher.

Tips for Creating Effective Visual Class Schedules

To create effective visual class schedules, consider the following tips:

  1. Use clear and simple visuals: Use pictures or icons that students can easily understand and recognize. It is important to select visuals that are meaningful to the students and represent the activities accurately.
  2. Sequence the activities: Arrange the visuals in the order that the activities will occur throughout the day. This helps students understand the flow of the day and what comes next.
  3. Make it interactive: Allow students to actively participate in their schedules by moving or flipping the visuals as each activity is completed. This promotes a sense of ownership and independence.
  4. Review the schedule regularly: Take a few minutes each day to review the schedule with the students, discussing the activities and transitions. This helps reinforce the routine and ensures that students are aware of any changes or special events.

By incorporating visual class schedules into the preschool classroom, teachers can create a structured and organized environment that supports student understanding and independence. 

9. Clearly Marking Different Spots or Areas

In a preschool classroom, having clear markings in different spots or areas can greatly facilitate smooth transitions and classroom organization. Preschoolers thrive in an environment that is predictable, structured, and visually appealing. By using visual cues and markings, teachers can help preschoolers navigate the classroom with ease and enhance their overall learning experience.

Here are a few ways in which clearly marking different spots or areas can benefit both teachers and preschoolers:

  • Guiding Traffic Flow: By strategically placing markings on the floor, teachers can create designated pathways for students to follow, ensuring a smooth traffic flow and minimizing potential collisions or disruptions.
  • Designating Waiting Lines: Markings can be used to clearly indicate where students should line up, whether it’s for lunch, recess, or other activities. These waiting lines help maintain order and ensure that transitions are efficient and organized.
  • Identifying Centers and Activity Areas: By labeling different areas of the classroom with markers or signs, preschoolers can easily identify where specific activities or learning centers are located. This makes it convenient for them to navigate the classroom independently and engage in various activities.
  • Promoting Independence: Clear markings enable preschoolers to locate materials, supplies, and resources on their own. This fosters a sense of independence and self-reliance, empowering them to take ownership of their learning journey.

Using colorful labels, lines, symbols, or images as visual cues can make these markings more engaging and easy to understand for young learners. It’s important to consider their developmental stage and provide support and guidance as needed. By incorporating clearly marked spots or areas in the preschool classroom, teachers can create a well-organized and efficient learning environment that promotes independence, cooperation, and a love for learning.

10. Seeking Feedback from Students

An effective approach to preschool classroom management is to involve students in the process and seek their feedback. By giving students a voice in decision-making and creating a collaborative environment, teachers can empower their students and promote a sense of ownership and responsibility. Here are some strategies for involving students in classroom management:

Involving Students in Classroom Management Strategies

  1. Class Meetings: Regularly hold class meetings where students can express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas for improving the classroom environment. Encourage active participation and provide a space for open and respectful dialogue.
  2. Classroom Jobs: Assign students specific classroom jobs to promote a sense of responsibility and accountability. Allow students to rotate jobs periodically, giving everyone an opportunity to contribute and take on different roles.
  3. Decision-Making Opportunities: Give students choices and opportunities to make decisions about certain aspects of their learning environment, such as selecting class rules or designing classroom displays. This promotes their sense of ownership and autonomy.

Listening to Preschoolers’ Perspectives and Ideas

  1. Surveys or Interviews: Conduct surveys or interviews with students to gather their opinions and ideas. Ask questions about their favorite activities, areas for improvement, and suggestions for making the classroom a better place for learning.
  2. Reflective Journals: Provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning experiences in a journal. Encourage them to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas for classroom improvement.

By actively involving students in the classroom management process and listening to their perspectives and ideas, teachers can create a more student-centered and engaging learning environment. This not only improves behavior and engagement but also fosters a positive and inclusive classroom community


In conclusion, the best preschool classroom management strategy is to be consistent, positive, and have clear expectations. Rewards and consequences should be used to encourage good behavior. Classroom rules should be posted and reviewed often. Finally, it is important to create a safe and nurturing environment where children feel comfortable and are able to learn and grow.

Moreover, it is evident that managing a preschool classroom is essential for creating a positive learning environment. By establishing routines, providing engaging activities, and maintaining a positive attitude, educators can create a classroom setting that promotes social and academic success for all learners.

By following the strategies outlined in this article, you will be able to provide your students with the structure and support they need to be successful. Thanks for reading!

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