Working With Different Age Groups As A Substitute Teacher

As a substitute teacher, knowing how to work with different age groups is very important. The App-Garden has created a Virtual Substitute Training program that instructs potential substitutes on how to work with various age groups. For this specific post, we will be focusing on pre-school and elementary school classrooms.

If you are substituting in a pre-school classroom…

  • Typically you will stay in the same classroom and/or playground area the entire day for all activities.
  • For the most part preschoolers follow directions. If not, they are often responsive to the method of counting to three.
  • Preschoolers understand contrast, such as small and smaller and simple time concepts. They can typically repeat sentences as long as nine words and talk about activities as they participate.
  • Preschoolers feel pride in their accomplishments, understand concepts of right and wrong, and can accept responsibility.
  • Preschoolers want to please the teacher and respond to simple do’s and don’ts that are imposed by authority.
  • As their speech becomes more social and less egocentric they begin to prefer to play and compete with other children.
  • They will participate in organized games but may believe that rules can be changed.

If you are substituting in an elementary classroom…

  • Elementary school age groups will have a full range of curriculum or content.
  • You will most likely be teaching math, reading, science and social studies to this age group.
  • Elementary age students are able to understand concrete operations and reversibility in math such as 3+4 = 7 and 7-4 = 3.
  • They have an increasing ability to think and learn abstractly.
  • They are interested in how things work and how things are put together and have lots of ideas that they like to explain.
  • They begin to relate more to the subject matter rather than to the teacher as they actively receive factual information.
  • They like logic, organization and memorization. Elementary school students need structure and like expected activities.
  • They need guidance as they develop ideas, opinions, and attitudes, and can be sensitive to comments from others.
  • Socially, elementary students relate to their peers and can usually move easily from free play to interactions that require teamwork.
  • They are better able to sit quietly and listen during classroom instruction.
  • The beginning stages of puberty are entered and romantic relationships are mimicked.
  • They love to play and use physical activities to develop gross and fine motor skills.

Now that you have learned more about different aspect of the pre-school and elementary school classrooms, check out our blog section for the article on middle school and high school classrooms as well. To learn more, set up a product demonstration for the Virtual Substitute Training program to learn how your substitute teachers can be better prepared for the challenges of working with various age groups.