It is a weighty decision to put a child in the care of others when you know your child is safe at home. However, a child needs much more than safety to manage life. A high-quality preschool is focused on the safety of the child, as well as the academic, emotional, and social success of each child enrolled.
In a high-quality preschool, the teachers are passionate about what they do. For these teachers it’s about making a difference in the lives of children by encouraging curiosity, imagination, and self-regulation. This is best done in a group setting such as preschool. Quality teachers strive to create a structured environment that still feels enough like play, to gently move the children mentally and physically to longer periods of focused attention. Here at Kids On The Move’s Play-Based Preschool, we do just that.
Preparation for Kindergarten
Children do better when they feel better. They feel the best when they are at play. Play is the ideal time to teach concepts and principles to help children more easily navigate their world. We will use just one example below of how play-based curriculum in preschool helps a child prepare for kindergarten.
Example: Planting a Garden
The teacher gives the children each a seed to place in the soft soil. This is the best time to ask questions about what will make a seed grow. It’s a great time for them to practice writing the word seed and drawing a picture of a sun in their journal as they feel the warmth of the sun on their body. Learning is optimal while all their senses are focused. This activity offers an opportunity to sound out the word sun, count the syllables, rhyme sun with other words, and water their seed. They can also measure how much water it takes to help the seed grow. The children count the seeds. Discussion of the differences in seeds takes place, how many seeds will fit in a teaspoon of one variety versus another, and what the difference in weight of one seed versus another might be.
Let’s look at what the child may have learned and experienced in this simple activity.
Cognition: What does a seed need to grow
Language: Seed, soil, sorting, planting, measuring, weight
Literacy: Shape of letters, sounds of letters, letters make words, words make sentences
Social: Teamwork, collaboration, spatial reference
Emotional: Problem solving, nurturing
Curiosity: How does a tiny seed grow into something we can eat or use
Responsibility: To give the seed what it needs to grow
Choice: Which seed, what tool, where to plant, how much water, how deep, who to work by
Independence: Knowing they can do big things
Math: How many seeds, how many children, weight, sorting, measurement, large, medium, small
Motor Skills: Exercise, digging, moving, bending, walking
Imagination: What will happen to the seed
This is just one example of one moment in the day of a high-quality play-based preschool. This kind of activity is meaningful and purposeful. A teacher can sit a child at a table, hand the child a picture of an orange and an orange crayon to color the orange and say this is an orange. However, knowing the picture is an orange does not assure understanding. A high-quality play-based preschool with observant caring teachers create activities that help the children integrate concepts quickly and easily.
A high-quality preschool helps children love learning. That is what we do here at Kids On The Move’s Preschool in Orem, Utah.