It is our belief that all children are unique, have different abilities, and learn in their own way. They learn best when they guide, direct, and follow their interests through play and have a long period of playtime to practice skills. These beginning skills are the foundation for interaction with others that will take them into adulthood and the world. We will follow the ideals and guidelines as outlined below.
Characteristics of Play
- Play is fun, and free of external rules.
- It is spontaneous and voluntary.
- It requires the active involvement of players.
- It requires the use of imagination and long periods of practice.
- It uses symbolic play with objects and incorporates role-playing.
What Children Learn
Children’s learning while playing is extensive. They learn how to share and take turns, and how to resolve conflicts. Play increases their language, communication and imagination skills. They learn how to show empathy to others, how to share ideas and act upon them. Children practice leadership roles and learn to use objects for symbolic playing. Play helps to develop their self-esteem, and build their confidence. They work out fears, separation issues, and family problems. They role-play for future jobs and occupations. Play encourages their reading and writing skills when they make lists, write recipes, etc. They practice counting and learn one-to-one correspondence, moving them along developing math skills. They increase their fine and gross motor skills. They are always learning and growing.
What Teachers Do To Foster Play Learning
Teachers will first observe children to discover their interests, abilities, and social skills. They will provide a safe and loving community in which to explore and discover their world. They will provide experiences to promote learning in the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and language developmental domains. Teachers will set up the classroom to provide safety, control behavior and provide for optimal learning through various interest centers. We will provide a wide range of hands-on learning experiences and will help the children to take the next step in learning and skills. They will ask open-ended questions to promote thinking and engage in play following the child’s lead. It will be our practice to play extensively with the children on a daily basis. We will provide for a developmentally and culturally appropriate learning adventure for each individual child in the program, and will form partnerships with families and caregivers to further this learning. We will finally continually assess and evaluate the program to be sure it offers the best play learning experience for children.