I feel that there must be an image for preschool classrooms as engaging, interactive environments, full of open-ended opportunities for play as learning, and focused on early childhood learning guidelines that address the whole child's learning and development, not just on early academics.
What I know from my own research is that a quality daycare must include play experiences. Through play, children advance in all the critical areas of their development and learning: cognitive, academics, physical, language, literacy, social, and emotional. At this age, these areas all go hand-in-hand and are taught together, not separately. What concern me are the strict lessons, direct instruction and worksheet drills that may someday replace play in preschool.
I hope this doesn’t work its way into preschool classrooms – (surely not mine) preschool should still be a place where the "child's garden" should be experienced -- a warm, caring atmosphere with blocks, dramatic play opportunities, shared stories, a water table, a messy area and lots of outdoor play. Because play will help young minds progress.
Early childhood educators understand how young children naturally learn by offering them hands-on activities and play, and they encourage a partnership among the child, parents and themselves.
A worksheet focused on the letter B is no match for a classroom full of Balls and Bubbles, or a child who needs to write the letter B for his pretend Bagel-shop menu. Hopefully parents get it because they should see the same style of learning at home.
Preschool children develop physically through running, jumping and climbing. They improve small motor skills by stacking blocks, drawing with markers, cutting with sissors and squeezing glue bottles. They develop large motor skills as they climb and run outside. They begin to understand the dynamics of friendship and negotiating during pretend play and playing games. They use vocabulary words and show their knowledge of the world we live in when they take on roles during their play. They practice math concepts as they build block towers. They explore science concepts as they play in the sand box, the yard, the water table, and with the art materials.
Play is their world for deep learning! Play is not only appropriate, it is critical in preschool. Let's avoid the teacher-directed and worksheet-heavy model of the preschool classroom. Let's get it right. I will definately try to!
Hi my name is Margo; I've lived in Valley Stream for over 14 years. I am the loving and very, very proud mother of one amazing 16 year old son, Isaiah. Thankfully, I am able to live my dream of caring for and nurturing young children.