Problem solving is hard for preschool students (all students really, most adults even)! So to support my little friends I teach them problem solving strategies they can use to solve problems.
I introduce the problem solving techniques a few at a time during a class meeting. I introduce three techniques each week. Each year I pick nine to twelve techniques to use based on what my students need that year. I explain the technique in concrete terms to the students so they will understand what the technique is, what it can look and sound like.
We started last week with say “please stop”, ask, and say how you feel. Today I introduced wait, play together, and share. These posters are on magnets so we can take them down as needed.
Singing with puppets is a fun and active way to practice the problem solving techniques. Preschoolers LOVE puppets! It also allows students to be someone else and some students will be more verbal if they can pretend to be someone else. At the end of each verse, students act out the problem solving technique with a buddy using the puppets!
As a transition activity to lunch, students took turns sharing a way a they have solved a problem. The stories they told were so cute!
Safe Place! I keep my techniques posted in my circle area at the beginning of the year AND in my safe place. My safe place is a small spot in my classroom students can go to when they are upset, need to calm down, want to be
alone, or have a problem.
Once I see students using the problem solving techniques independently, I remove them from my circle area. They
are posted in my safe place ALL YEAR LONG for students to use when they are struggling to solve a problem. In my safe place I have, a mirror, feeling chart, bean bag, sensory bottles, calm down choices, a stuffed animal, problem solving mini book, and problem solving techniques chart.
Problem Solving Necklace or Mini Book! I hole punched the small cards, put them on a book ring, and keep them on lanyard I
wear everyday. This way I can support students’ solving problems without having to go to the safe place where they
are posted. I can just show the picture cards as a visual on my necklace. The mini book in the safe place works the same way.
Children’s Books! These are some of my FAVORITE children’s books to teach all about problem solving. As we read the book we talk about how the character is or isn’t solving the problem, how it makes the and others feel, any natural consequences that could occur, and which one of our problem solving strategies the character could use to solve the problem.
Do you want to use them in your classroom? You can! I did the work for you. Grab them from my TPT store HERE.