A Teachers Guide to Toddlers and Baby Classes

By Tim and Dave S with additional advice for those teaching in Japan

For Ages 0-2 with an accompanying adult:

Big smile, slow movements, clear modelling.
Everything runs much slower than with older children. It will take several minutes for toddlers and their mum holding a baby just to stand up.
It may well be the first time the child sees a non Japanese face. Keep your body language friendly.
Even if the room is completely quiet or full of screaming kids keep going.
Praise everyone all the time for anything.
If Mum is have fun, the child will feel happy.
It will take weeks before the children feel comfortable letting go of their mum and taking part on their own. Longer still for them to take a step away from their mum towards you.
If you have a large group remember if you high 5 one student as you leave, you will have to high five them all.
Parents habitually take photos of their children when they are having fun.
Wear a company t-shirt. Its a great opportunity to promote yourself. Each child is potentially a customer for many years.
Always leave the room on a high note.
Don't appear to be phased by children being sick, wetting themselves, throwing tantrums etc. There are plenty of Mums there able to clean up and are more than used to it. Help Dads that look panicky in this situation.
Some mums treat it as a chance to catch up with news from their friends. Soldier on.
Don't be shy about discipline. If a child kicks you teach No and I'm Sorry.
Review lots. It can take children of this age a while to grasp a song, phrase or game, but once they know it will love to repeat it over and over.
Have fun.

Cultural advice specific to Japan

Many families still live in one household together with the Grandparents. It is the first time for many children to be given instructions and as such may simply do as they please. Fathers often work long hours and only see their children at the weekends.

Many children have had no discipline whatsoever and many parents historically see it as the role of the teacher and school to introduce this. Rather than continually reprimanding certain children for misbehaviour (negative) praise them for anything they do well (positive).

Always find something to praise the child for. This carrot and stick approach will eventually lead children to realise that doing things well will result in a big happy face from their teacher.

Those under one are still very much self centred, in that if you give them something they see it as theirs and have not yet learned to share.

Lesson plans by book

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Early reading