Strategies for Engaging Young Children

Engaging young children in tracking their own attendance motivates children and helps make attendance important to families. Parents are motivated when their actions make their children happy. When getting to class on time every day becomes important to the children, parents respond.

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

The universal activities in this section fall under Tier 1: Each has elements to make children aware of the importance of strong attendance, with the goal of preventing or reducing chronic absence. 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 young children and their families, a dose of playfulness. Visibility, recognition and repetition go hand in hand to support consistent on time attendance.

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 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.