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Planning and Implementing Activates for Small Groups

Christina Mariscal

Fresno Pacific University


Planning and Implementing Activities for Small Groups

Children are unique in every way, from their gender, ethnicity, personality, and even the

way they learn, therefore, each child needs an individual or small group approach to obtain an

efficient learning experience. With it being said that each child learns differently at a different

rate, it might be impossible to even consider planning an activity for each individual child, but

planning for a small group of children, who their learning abilities are similar, might seem not so

impossible, and yet the outcome will be beneficial for all children and the educator. Planning and

implementing activities for small groups have many positive effects, such as children having the

opportunity to have learning experience adapted to their abilities and understanding. Planning for

the specific need of the child builds self-confidence and strength in learning strategies.

Furthermore, planning and implementing activities for small group also improves the childs

social, emotional, self-awareness development as it provides a regular time to interact with peers.

The childrens cognitive domain also expands and the child excels during small group activities

due to the interaction and discussion among their peers. Furthermore, there are many concepts to

consider before planning and implementing effective small group activities.

Consider the objectives and the outcomes an educator wish to obtain by planning

activities for small groups. Think of the many ways why it would be beneficial to plan and

implement activities for small groups. First of all, by observing the child at play the educator will

identify the childs needs and interests as individuals, therefore the educator may establish

groups that involve children with the same interest and needs. How would this benefit the child

and educator? As the child is presented with material that he or she is interested in, it will be

more likely that the child focus and participate in the activity. In the article Planning and

Presentation it declares that we have seen that one of the advantages of small group teaching is

that it provides opportunities for in-depth discussion, reflection and consolidation of learning

(para. 2); therefore, arranging the children in small groups will develop social skills among them.

The children will have the opportunity to share their ideas and knowledge with their classmates.

An article by the University of Waterloom, Implementing group work in the classroom expresses

that, group work can be an effective method to motivate students, encourage active learning,

and developed key critical-thinking, communication, and decision-making skills (para. 1), there

are students who have not yet develop self confidence and are too shy to speak in front of the

whole class, but as it is set with a group the child feels more comfortable to speak and share his

thoughts. With this being said, it is obvious that planning and implementing for small groups it

has major positive outcomes than negative .

The characteristics of planning and implementing activities for small groups should be as

follow: establish how many children will be in a group. It is suggested that the group should not

exceed more than 6 children. Keeping a small number will benefit the children, due to the fact

that the educator will be able to dedicate to each child in the group one on one time. Having

small groups also allows the educator to focus on that small groups needs and not the whole

class needs. In the article The Why and How of Using Small Groups in Preschools by Bright

Hub Education it shares that when children work with only a few other children at a time, they

learn important lessons about cooperation, compromise and the give and take of conversation

(para 1). To children benefit of small groups as much as the educator. Another characteristic of

effective planning and implementing activities for small groups is for the educator to be well

prepared with the activity being presented to the group of children. Have the material and

information needed before the children arrive in their groups. By doing this the children will

obtain more valuable time learning the concept presented instead of figuring out what is needed

to be done.

Determining the time and space for each group, is another characteristic of effective

planning and implementing small group activities. Allow children enough time to explore the

materials and to ask questions. The groups should not run longer than 20 to 30 minutes, as the

educator does not wish for the child to lose interest in the activity. Small group time is essential

to expand vocabulary among the children. There should be open discussion questions about the

material brought to the small group. Allow enough time for each child to give their feedback on

what is presented to them. What do the children think about their findings? How do the children

feel about the material and what they know about the material? Make sure as the educator that

enough space is available for each child to move freely. These are three basic characteristics of

planning and implementing small group activities; group should not exceed more than 6 children,

the educator must be prepared with a lesson, and the children need to be provided with enough

time and space.

Planning lessons that are developmentally appropriate is also essential for effective group

activities. After deciding how the groups would be divided then the educator must plan

according to each groups needs. The educator must also consider if there is a child with

additional needs in her class how she will address the childs need along with the others in the

same group. Planning developmentally appropriate does not mean that the educator must plan a

different lesson plan for each group, but to modify it to meet the standards and the childrens

needs as a group. For example, if the educator plans a gardening activity for the class, in order to

meet each child need she would simplify it for the children who yet do not understand the

vocabulary involved or how a shovel is handled to dig a hole and plant a seed. For those children

who are at a more advanced level the educator will present new higher vocabulary and

discussion questions. For the children whom are at a low learning level the educator will present

the activity as teacher directed, but for those children who are advanced the activity will be

presented as self exploration and discovery. The concept of the activity will still be the same for

all the children. It would just be modified to the learning ability of each child and its group.

After observing the need and the interest of each child it is important for the educator to

put her plans in writing. It is essential for the plan to be detailed as for the process of how the

lesson will be presented, what material will be needed. What will each child learn with the

activity plan? Having the plan in writing will be easier to implement successfully to benefit each

childs learning experiences. In the article What Does Developmentally Appropriate Means

states that, in the best-case scenario, teachers are able to personalize the way they teach the

same concept to each child. The goal of using DAP techniques is to give young children an ideal

learning environment (para. 5). Therefore, the goal of the educator to plan for small group is to

personalize the curriculum to best fit the groups need, but at the same time each individual

childs needs.

Overall, planning and implementing for small group activities has many positive

outcomes for both the educator and the students. It creates an environment in which the child

enjoys and learns at the same time. The educator learns more of a child individually when they

are observed in a small group rather than in a whole class. Having small groups helps children

build self esteem and confidence; therefore their cognitive, social, and emotional domain

develops appropriately with their age and peers.



Bright Hub Education. The why and how of using small groups in preschools.(2012). Retrived



London Deanery. Planning and preparation. (2012). Retrieved from


University of Waterloom. Implementing group work in the classroom. (n,d) Retrieve from


What Does Developmentally Appropriate Means