Skills to Teach during Recess in a Special Ed. Preschool Classroom

Skills to teach during recess

Do you have social skills or gross motor IEP goals to track? Social skills, gross motor, and self help skills are some of the skills students learn while they’re playing at recess. As an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, I’m constantly tracking IEP goals related to social skills and monitoring student developmental stages. Check out how I teach, monitor and track skills during recess time.

Student A helping student B balance on beam
Student A helping student B balance on beam

What Skills Should I Teach?

In Early Childhood, I’m provided with a booklet of developmental milestones by age. This is something that can easily be found online. I’m also provided with a program called AEPS which provides me with an assessment and curriculum to address these milestones. I can use this to help guide me on where to start with a student but usually, all of these skills are skills they all need.

First, I review the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) if they have one. I observe them the first few days and take note of anything that stands out to me. If they have an IEP goal related to social skills or gross motor, I will track and teach that. Skills that can be taught during recess are: Initiating play, conflict resolution, self help, walking/running on uneven surface, climbing, social cues, asking for help, waiting for a turn, sharing, and playing with others. Once I know what I need to address I can begin to teach using strategies.

What Strategies should I Use?

Students waiting in line- pretending to order ice scream
Students waiting in line- pretending to order ice scream

Some popular strategies I use to teach/work on skills during recess are: modeling, repetition, practice, use of visuals and social stories. When working on social skills, I model what the expected behavior is. If I decide a social story is appropriate, I will usually teach the lesson before recess. Students repeat a lot of what they are taught. Whether that is climbing, playing tag without pushing, keeping hands to self, checking on friends when they fall, initiating play, labeling, etc. I will have students try the skills a few times in a row. Visuals are used to support what is being taught. Mostly through natural environment teach.

Overall, this all takes no longer 5-10 minutes and is usually done in the form of play. For example, I will go play tag with them or model going up and down the steps. This seems to be the most effective and is done usually a couple times of week ( unless they need more assistance), and I never keep them from their recess.

playground steps- used to help track gross motor
Playground steps-used to help track gross motor

How do I Track the Progress of these Skills?

AEPS-3 assessment
Sample IEP Goals that can be addressed during recess
Sample IEP Goals that can be addressed during recess

Many of my littles have mostly social skills goals that I track. Pre-made charts can be found online or I create one specific to the skill. I usually keep track of progress through observations. Using anecdotal notes and pictures to keep record is really important to me. Worksheets are not used in Pre-K, therefore I take a lot of pictures throughout the week to share with parents which also count as evidence of any goals they may be progressing on.

I used the AEPS-3 curriculum and progress monitoring check list to keep up with progress or lack there of. I recommend the Simply Special Ed. Data sheets. Use what works best for you. The most important part of tracking is knowing where they started and where they are now. How you organize it is all up to you. Again, I use a lot of visuals to send to parents and add to students online portfolio. Keeping an open line of communication with parents is essential as well! Did you find this blog helpful? Check out Skills to Teach during Lunch.

Yalie Early Childhood Special Educaiton TEacher

The post Skills to Teach during Recess in a Special Ed. Preschool Classroom appeared first on Simply Special Ed.

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