Inspiration and Imagination
Building Strong Foundations of Learning, Development, and Happiness
Did you know?
Albert Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak and 7 before he could read. He hated school and dropped out of high school at 15 years of age. Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him, “As a composer he’s hopeless.”
An editor told Louisa May Alcott that she could never write anything that had popular appeal.
A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had "No good ideas".
Children learn by doing, and they need many opportunities to explore and grow. Preschool activities can challenge them to be creative, as well as to develop emotionally, cognitively, socially, and physically. Appropriate activities can also build self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning.
Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum
What is developmentally appropriate? How do we accomplish it? Can you build a developmentally appropriate program and meet the goals set by parents and administrators for what they believe children should be learning? In 1996, NAEYC revised their position statement on the goals for children’s development. These goals state that as adults, children will need the ability to communicate well, respect others, accept diversity, function well as members of a team, analyze situations, make reasoned judgments, solve new problems as they emerge, access information through various modes including spoken and written language, and intelligently employ complex tools and technologies as they are developed. Children must continue to learn new approaches, skills, and knowledge as conditions and needs change. (NAEYC, 1996, in Bredekemp and Copple, 1997)
NAEYC also states that programs allow children to develop curiosity and confidence as learners through child-centered and initiated, teacher –supported play experiences. Quality play and learning experiences for children do not just happen. Teachers need to plan so that children are provided with physical environments and materials, which stimulate creativity and foster exploration and curiosity.
The most constructive play experiences occur when children are allowed to choose their own activities and play at their own pace, without being hurried. Schedules should have significant blocks of time to allow children to play in the centers of their choice. Teachers should be available to carefully interact with the children, to ask questions to provoke thought, and to provide materials to support play.
Why Learning Centers?
Learning centers provide opportunities for children to ask questions, build problem-solving skills, enhance their physical and cognitive development, and choose their activities. Learning centers allow children to use their innate learning styles to their best advantage!
A Place to Create
Creativity, creativity! The concept of a child being able to develop something that is uniquely theirs is the approach to this area. Remember that the process of creating is much more important to the child’s development than the result. Art helps children master a wide range of skills, such as fine motor control, eye-hand coordination, and concepts about color, size, shape, and form, sensory perception, independence, self-expression, and problem solving. Children should feel free to express themselves creatively and at their own pace.
Dramatic Play Centers
Dramatic play activities provide opportunities for role-playing, social interaction, and language development. Children can dramatize everything from home life to occupations to animal life. Since children love to pretend this is usually a favorite play area!
Science Center/Sensory Table
Children are curious and they use their senses to explore their environment. They are interested in creepy-crawly bugs, crunchy fall leaves, mud puddles, plants and flowers, babies, snow, rain, rainbows, seashells, snowflakes, icicles, and many more nature-based science concepts. Their direct experience with these things helps them understand the world. Hands-on leaning really is more than just a cliché!
Preschool math should be interesting, fun, and more than just learning to count! Math activities include one-to-one correspondence, patterns, sorting and sets, counting, number recognition, matching, shapes, comparisons, and measurement. Manipulatives, such as puzzles, blocks, and play dough, provide small motor skill practice, sensory exploration, and problem solving practice.
Language is central to intellectual development. Growth in this area is extensive during the first five years. Language activities consist of speaking, pre-writing, listening, and reading readiness activities. I read to the children every day, in a group and individually.
Nutrition and Cooking
Nutrition affects how a child feels and behaves, and healthy eating patterns established at a young age will continue into adulthood. Cooking with children increases their interest in nutrition and encourages them to try new things.
Exercising Large Motor Skills
Preschool children’s growing minds and bodies need lots of “wiggle time” and exercise! During group and active games, children practice social and listening skills, develop coordination, and build strength.
Monthly Parent Newsletters
A monthly newsletter keeps parents informed about child development issues, upcoming themes, and includes supplemental book lists.
Children are continuously observed and evaluated using both formal and informal assessment techniques. You will have an opportunity to discuss assessments at regularly scheduled conference times. Assessments consider multiple intelligence, different learning styles, and important benchmarks. Assessments are conducted with purpose and are used to drive curriculum. All assessment information is kept strictly confidential.
The curriculum areas listed above are only some of the many fine ingredients that help Serendipity crerate a mogical childhood and unforgettable preschool experience.