• guided practice: practice of a process, behavior, or tasks that happen alongside an educator or coach
  • individualized instruction: instruction that is planned and implemented based on the individual interests, strengths, and needs of each child
  • modeling: explicitly demonstrating a process, behavior, or task
  • scaffold: a specialized instructional support that helps children learn; examples include prompts, hints, reminders, or models
  • visual and auditory cues: signals and other indicators to let children know that something is about to begin or end

Try It

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In this activity, you’ll apply the strategies and techniques you’ve learned to your program’s learning environment. 

Case Studies

Individualize instruction for children “case studies.” Download and print Case Studies (PDF).

Read the description of each child. Answer the questions that follow for each case study.

  1. Child #1

Boy, age 4, loves dinosaurs and drawing. He can recognize the letters in his own name, but he is still learning other letters of the alphabet. He has trouble keeping his hands to himself. He often pushes other children when he does not get his own way.

  1. Child #2

Girl, age 5, loves horses, dress-up, and outdoor play. She is already reading, but is still working on being able to write her letters clearly. When she is with a group of children, she has trouble taking turns.

  1. Child #3

Boy, age 3, loves cars and anything that makes a lot of noise! He is often not aware of the children around him. He zooms around the room and sometimes inadvertently runs into other children. He has trouble making friends and usually plays alone during outdoor play or free time.

  1. Child #4

Girl, age 4, loves drawing and working puzzles. She is very shy and has difficulty making eye contact with children and adults. She follows the rules, but rarely offers to speak up or share her thinking. During center time, she gravitates toward spaces where she can be alone.


  • How could you get to know this child better? What questions could you ask to find out more about his or her special interests, talents, skills, and abilities?
  • What kinds of things would you need to consider when you plan your instruction?
  • How might this child become more motivated?
  • What strategies would you use to communicate routines and expectations for this child?
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