The children in my Kindergarten classroom have the opportunity for indoor play every day that they come to school. I am all too well aware of the Reading Readiness, Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies that I am required to teach to these young children before they leave me to go to first grade. Let’s not forget about the required assessing, both standardized and informal that I must do along with the teaching. However, I do have to remember that I am teaching young children with 5 year old brains. They MUST play with others in order to learn. The American Academy of Pediatrics says “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.” Play allows children to use their creativity to solve problems. A group of children were followed from preschool through high school. Researchers found that the complexity of playing with blocks in preschool and Kindergarten predicted kids’ mathematics achievements in high school. In particular, those who had used blocks in more sophisticated ways as preschoolers had better math grades and took more math courses (including honors classes) (Wolfgang, Stannard, & Jones, 2001). Yet year after year, I have to explain and convince parents of the importance of play in Kindergarten. Children learn not just with paper and pencils. Assessment comes from observing the play, and listening to the conversations. Math is happening at the block center, language arts is happening at the art center and writing center, science is happening at the listening station followed by free art at the easels. I listen to children as they discuss with each other what we have learned in our daily focus lesson. At play, they have the opportunity to relearn and take ownership of what has been taught and file that information away in their brains. I have blocks in my room, and blank art paper, and lots of toys (legos, buckets of old keys, flannel board nursery rhyme stories and so much more) These toys are big hits with the 5 year old crowd and even when I should be teaching, sometimes I stop what I am doing to listen and observe ALL of the learning that is taking place right before my eyes.
reposted from 2009
Here is a wonderful site from PBS that will help you to track the skills your child should possess for his/her age. Take a look at how your child should be functioning in the following areas according to his age:
- Approach to Learning
- Creative Arts
- Physical Health
- Social and Emotional Growth
Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Behavior, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Maturity, Parents, Play, Reading, Responsibility
It’s summer; do you know where your young children are? Hopefully your answer will not be ‘playing video games’ or ‘watching TV’. The fresh air outside awaits your child and it is time to turn off the TV/electronics. Summer time should remind us of longer days, a slower pace, and time to explore nature and their environment without a schedule. Children learn a great deal about their world and themselves when allowed to play outside. Please encourage your child to go out back to play ball, blow bubbles, ride their bike, or simply lie on the grass to create images from the cloud formations overhead. Experts believe that a daily boost of 90 minutes of fresh air will benefit your child not only for the rest of his/her life. Active outside play teaches your child self-confidence and playing with other children increases your child’s ability to interact in social settings, like school.
If you are getting ready to send your 5 or 6 year old off to school for the first time, although it is tempting to try and give your child a jumpstart for school by giving him/her an educational workbook to work on please put the workbooks away and head outdoors. The other day I was walking with two young friends of mine and we noticed a full grown tomato plant, complete with tomatoes, growing out of a crack in a city sidewalk. Wow! This was certainly a teachable moment. ‘How did the seed get there?’ asked one girl, ‘How does it grow?’ asked her sister. The questions and the following discussion lasted several minutes while we continued to examine the plant. Had the children been indoors playing electronics, we would have missed this show from Mother Nature. Slow down, encourage your children to do the same and you will be in awe of what learning will take place from your efforts.
Play is one of the crucial elements of a good childhood
The Children’s Society
Re posted from July 2009