I wanted to give parents a better understanding of what your child will be learning when you see him/her involved in any of the activities below. There is more than just PLAY going on when engaged in the activities listed. I am glad that I have the opportunity to provide all of these activities during the course of a day or week to prepare your child for their many years of schooling ahead.
When I participate in Group time (circle time) activities I am learning:
To listen, sit still and understand spoken language.
To add my ideas to the discussion and that my ideas have value.
To wait while others are talking.
New vocabulary connected with the topic of discussion.
To remember the words of songs and poems.
The names of others in the group.
To co-operate and be considerate of the needs of others.
When working with Art I am learning:
To develop my imagination and creativity.
To distinguish colors.
To distinguish shapes.
To express my feelings and ideas.
That my ideas have value.
Relationships of shapes and size.
To understand my world as I experiment with many different materials and tools.
To experience materials of various texture, consistency, size, shape, location, color and design.
To develop my small motor co-ordination by tearing, cutting, painting and scribbling.
To begin to develop the small muscles of my hand.
When I Scribble and Draw I am learning:
To hold a pencil or other drawing tools.
To implement and to control the pressure.
To exercise my creativity and imagination.
That my ideas have value.
Concepts of color, shape, size and location.
Sometimes to express myself with words to describe my drawing.
When I Fingerpaint I am learning:
To exercise my imagination and creativity.
About how colors mix and form new colors.
Concepts of shape, size and location.
An acceptable way to make a mess and have fun sharing ideas with others who are near.
When working with Paste, Glue and Collage Materials I am learning:
Concepts of shape, size, location and design, relevant to learning to read.
About things that are sticky and things that have different textures.
How to create patterns and designs, a math skill.
To distinguish patterns from background, a reading skill.
To exercise my imagination and creativity.
When I play with Playdough or Clay I am learning:
To see the shape against the background of the table, a reading skill.
Concepts of shapes, relative sizes; big, small, length, height.
To see negative space when cookie cutter shapes are taken away.
To express feelings, squeezing and pounding.
To exercise imagination and creativity.
That the amount of a substance remains the same, even when the shape changes.
When I play with Sand I am learning:
To excercise my imagination.
Concepts of size, shape and volume, empty and full.
How to use tools.
To solve problems.
Concepts of warm and cool, wet, damp and dry, heavy and light.
How to play socially with others.
To create systems for classifying, ordering and arranging - skills used in math.
To create own patterns and symbols, skills used in reading and writing.
To observe changes, a science skill.
When working with Manipulatives I am learning:
One-to-one correspondence, and essential math concepts.
To make patterns and repeat patterns.
Concepts of addition and subtraction.
About symmetry, shapes, order, size, color and design.
Eye-hand co-ordination, a reading skill.
To classify and sort objects based on likenesses and differences.
Numerical concepts of more and less.
To notice details, similarities and differences in objects and to form categories, essential concepts of reading and mathematics.
About negative and positive space, developing depth perception and the relationship between time and space.
To develop fine motor control and co-ordination.
To understand cause and effect.
When I am Stringing Beads I am learning:
Concepts of color, shape, and location.
Number concepts, as well as "more," "less," "longer," and "shorter".
To create and reproduce patterns.
Pride in accomplishment.
When working with Pegboards and Pegs I am learning:
One-to-one correspondence - one peg for one hole, an essential math counting concept.
To make patterns and repeat patterns, math concepts.
Possible left-to-right progression, a reading skill.
Concepts of addition as I add one peg at a time.
Symmetry, shapes, order and design.
Eye-hand co-ordination, counting skill.
When I Classify things I am learning:
To notice details and likenesses and differences in objects and mathematics.
Concepts of color, size and shape.
Numberical concepts of more or less.
When working with Blocks I am learning:
Concepts of shape, size, length and location.
To create and repeat patterns, developing math skills.
To cooperate with others and work together.
To problem solve as I construct with blocks.
To expand my expressive language as I talk about building and constructing with blocks.
To organize my world using symbolic representation.
To increase my large and small muscle co-ordination.
To see my ideas take form.
To experiment with balance and movement.
About different types of homes and buildings.
How to compare size, weight, height, etc.
How to measure, count and place objects in order.
When I am working with Water I am learning:
Problem-solving skills. As children manipulate water play materials, they begin to understand why and how things happen. For example, given sinking and floating objects, a child will soon discover that just because something is large in size does not mean it will sink.
Math. Children begin to understand and experiment with concepts such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than, and counting.
Physical development. Water play encourages the development of eye-hand co-ordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting.
Social and emotional development. Water play is a relaxing activity for children. Water play relieves tension by encouraging children to release their emotions with pouring and swooshing. Social skills expand as children play cooperatively; negotiate; and share equipment, space, and materials.
Language development. Children learn new vocabulary such as sieve, funnel, eggbeater, stream, bubbly, moisture, and evaporation.
Creative development. Water encourages children to use their imagination. As the children play, they may pretend that they work at a car wash or a mother giving her baby a bath. Water also encourages children to try out new ideas and solutions to problems in a safe environment.
When working with Science and Nature I am learning:
Concepts of texture, color, size, weight, shapes, etc.
To sort or group objects into catergories and observe the likeness and differences.
To appreciate nature and develop a sense of wonder.
To experiment and record my ideas.
To develop problem solving and questioning skills.
To listen for and appreciate sounds in nature.
How to chart my observations.
How to measure and weigh different objects.
To care for the environment and to protect the world.
To make predictions and estimations.
How to classify, compare and contrast.
To observe changes over a period of time.
How to manipulate small objects.
When pretending with Dramatic Play I am learning:
To be flexible in my thinking.
To try on different adult roles in my play.
To solve problems, especially socially, through negotiation with my friends.
To sort and organize things.
To weigh and make decisions and realize consequences.
To improve and use things in symbolic play to represent something else- form abstract thinking.
To carry out my ideas with the cooperation of others.
To exercise my creativity and imagination.
To expand my oral language as I talk about the activities that are taking place.
To develop a positive view of my capabilities as I dramatize familiar happenings.
About my needs and responsibilities.
To appreciate diversity in families and communities.
To understand the needs and responsibilies of others.
To work out disagreements with my peers.
When I play with Puppets I am learning:
To express ideas with words.
To take on the role of someone else.
To communicate with voice tones as well as words.
To use my imagination.
When working with Literacy I am learning:
To develop interest in a wide variety of books, magazines and other printed materials.
That learning to read is important and enjoyable.
That letters on a page represent spoken words written down.
To predict events told in stories.
To handle books with care.
To interpret pictures.
To understand that stories have a pattern: a beginning, a middle and end.
To write and create their own stories, sometimes through dictation.
How to make choices.
To become familiar with different literacy genres: poems, rhymes, biographies, folk and fairy tales.
To increase vocabulary.
To apply previous knowledge to new situations told in stories.
To appreciate and understand the work of authors, illustrators and storytellers.
To be exposed to books from diverse cultures.
To learn how to deal with difficult situations.
To try out and learn about different roles.
To acquire knowledge of science, math, history, health and safety and famous people.
That stories can be told in many ways: flannel board, puppet shows, tapes, books, magazines, etc.
To learn the importance of print as a means of communication.
When listening to tape or CD stories they:
Encourage reading and listening skills.
Enrich a child's multi-sensory experience.
Children can see how the words on the page can come alive in a fluid, expressive way.
Children can listen to a story with professional narrations.
Enjoy lively background music and book illustrations while learning to recognize words and expand their vocabulary.
Narrators on tape or CD tend to embelish the storytelling with silly voices and dramatic enhancement.
Emphasize reading as a source of pleasure rather than skill. Children are more eager to learn how to read.
Exposes children to a range of narrators and different styles of reading that will deepen their grasp of the reading process.
When listening to Music I am learning:
Social interaction: Music brings people together and helps them interact with one another.
Emotional development: Music is associated with our earliest memories. Music has the ability to comfort and soothe. Music can make us feel cheery and want to jump around and get moving.
Physical development: Music and movement naturally go together. Children most naturally respond to music by moving and being active with it. Music helps children learn about rhythm, timing, orientation, and coordination. Music gets children marching, jumping, and hopping. They learn body parts, sense of direction, or rhythm patterns.
Cognitive development: Music helps children learn about numbers, letters, and sounds. As children's brains are developing at their fastest when they are very young, with 80 percent of brain development occuring by age 3, and 90 percent by age 5, music helps with making connections in the brain. It is known that music is linked to improved math, memory and reading skills. When children are creative and make up their own rhymes and songs, they are also building their knowledge of words and sounds. They are building the connections in the brain.
Research shows that children who are actively involved in music do better in reading and math when they start school. Are better able to focus and control their bodies and play better with others and have higher self-esteem.
Musical experiences are an important way to help create pathways, also called neural connections. While listening to music is certainly key to creating them, it's when the children actively participate in music that they make the strongest connections.
When I Dance I am learning:
To express myself physically.
To be conscious of the moods and rhythms of music.
Balance and co-ordination.
When I am Cooking and learning about foods I am learning:
Math skills: counting amount of food to be combined, fractions, sorting, money, sequencing - what comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, weighing, measuring of ingredients, shapes in various foods, colors, problem solving - what happens if something goes wrong.
Reading skills: improving reading skills, vocabulary through new words.
Sensory skills: Can see how food changes before their eyes. An egg, for example is loose and wet, but after it is boiled it becomes hard and rubbery. Children can smell the aromoa of foods and have many opportunities to feel different textures from soft squishy pudding to hard, crunchy carrots. Children can hear different sounds of food, like the pop of popping corn and crunch of fresh celery. Children can taste different foods and enjoy the flavor.
Chemistry and science lessons: discovering food groups, making predictions, experimenting, how does food grow, how food changes while cooking, five senses, sensory exploration - with hands on and feeling the ingredients while cooking.
Geography lessons: cultural recipies, where food grows.
Art lessons: Children use creativity as they find new ways to combine ingredients and make up designs - arrange apple slices on a plate with cream cheese. Then add raisins in the center to make a flower.
Social skills: responsibility, safety and cleanliness, building self-esteem. By working together they learn cooperation and sharing in a group.
Fine motor skills: chopping, whisking, kneading, pouring, mixing, cutting, rolling, stirring.
Safety precautions: everyone must wash hands, children with colds should not handle foods, children may not stand on chairs, use low tables, children not allowed near stoves, provide enough tools for everyone to participate, adult supervision at all times. Identify children with food allergies.
When I play on Riding Toys I am learning:
Strength, balance and co-ordination of large muscles of legs, torso and arms.
To use my energy in a constructive way.
Concepts of speed, direction, and location.
To use my imagination as I pretend to be different characters and make noises.
To negotiate and take turns.
To solve problems.
Self-confidence as I master new skills.
What I am learning through the power of Play:
Play is how children naturally learn and it is as important to chldren's development as eating and sleeping. Play stimulates brain growth in children at the most critical time in their development.
When children are playing they not only learn fundamental concepts that are the basis for later academic learning, but they're also learning social skills.
Building with blocks, for example, is a math experience as much as it helps them develop concepts of shape, size, length and location. And with art, when they're mixing colors, they're learning eye-hand coordination and exercising their imagination and creativity.
Even if children are outside bouncing a ball, children are learning. They're learning to count, learning about shapes and colors. They're realizing that their bodies are developing, and most importantly, that they are slowing learning concepts.
Through pretend or fantasy play children are able to set up and resolve emotional conflicts (ie. share mom with a new baby.)
I can act out important scenarios which might include visiting the doctor or hospital, being the mommy or daddy, or being a police officer. Play gives children the opportunity to try out many different roles and develop their social skills.
Therapeutic intervention when experiencing adjustment problems. Play therapy offers children a safe, natural and non-intrusive method of recovering from stresses during life events.
Play is the language of children. It is their most natural activity. Through play children express themselves, explore their world and learn. We as adults find ways of playing throughout our lives whether it is through art, sewing, cooking, building projects, dancing, kayaking or rollerblading. Play is an activity that benefits all of us and contributes to our overall sense of well being.
Children do not have to be taught to play. It is a universal activity, although it takes on many forms.
Play is: Fun, child-directed and chosen, process-oriented and non-goal-oriented.
"Knowledge arises neither from objects nor the child, but from interactions between the child and those objects."
- Jean Piaget