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Teaching children background knowledge

Equipping students with background knowledge of the world around them will help them as they progress in school. Background knowledge can strengthen students' understanding of what they are reading, and make it easier for them to grasp more complex topics. Children will also be able to form connections between new ideas and their existing base of knowledge. You can take part in the following activities to build children's background knowledge:

  • Read informational books: Choose books that explain processes clearly and feature realistic pictures, or better yet photographs of animals and plants. Make sure reading time is an interactive activity during which you ask children what they expect will happen next in the narrative, or what they would do in the character's position. In addition, highlight new words and concepts, so children can expand their vocabularies and their ability to express themselves and understand the world around them.
  • Take field trips: Another way to build children's knowledge is through exploration and visiting new places. Taking a trip to a local farm allows children to learn more about animals and farming practices first-hand. In addition, it can serve to supplement or enrich your classroom curriculum on these subjects. Children's museums offer another site for learning and exploration. After the field trip, make sure to follow up with students, asking them what they learned and liked most. You can have children sit in a circle and share their thoughts with one another, or have students reflect on the field trip through an art activity. 

ProSolutions Training offers a wide range of resources for early childhood educators, including online CDA classes and online child care courses.