Strategies for Engaging Preschoolers

Parents are motivated when their actions make their children happy. Engaging preschool children in tracking their own attendance motivates the children and makes attendance important to families at a level a top down approach rarely achieves. When getting to class on time every day becomes important to the children, parents respond.

Perfectly Punctual, a program specifically designed for the early education setting, has aligned with Attendance Works to provide strategies and materials free of charge. Feel free to download these materials or use the ideas to develop your own themes. For young children, a mascot can be a very important ally.

Preschools often have rolling registration and/or significant levels of drops and adds before classroom rosters are stable. Give yourself a few weeks to let enrollment sort out, before you launch the scorecard process. Here are four effective strategies for engaging preschoolers. Click on the linked titles for details, tools and templates.

1. Greet children and families warmly by name every day

The power of a smile is amazing. Be sure every child and family starts and ends each day with warm greetings from the teacher and staff.

2. Establish classroom routines that emphasize attendance and notice absences

Building new habits requires visibility, repetition, recognition, data – and especially for preschoolers and their families – a dose of playfulness. Visibility, recognition and repetition go hand in hand.

3. Engage children in tracking their own attendance using daily scorecards

Children become invested in their attendance when they track it themselves daily and bring the scorecard home at the end of each week. Perfectly Punctual has developed scorecards to help with tracking weekly attendance. You can download them for free or create your own.

4. Host special events to recognize children and families for good and improved attendance

Plan special occasions throughout the year to recognize students and families who have improved attendance rates. Consider holding the events just before or after holidays to ensure families don’t extend vacations.

Keeping Score on Attendance

The Perfectly Punctual Campaign (PPC), developed by LearnLead and now distributed through Attendance Works, offers a variety of materials including scorecards, button and sticker designs, and a mascot for engaging children directly. The Leaders Guide gives specific directions and best practices information. Combined with the Attendance Works color-in attendance banner, and menu of incentive and recognition options, and a variety of certificates for excellent and for Highly Improved Attendance, the processes offer a template that works engages children directly.