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"Just Playing"

Many times as families come to visit our program before making the decision to enroll, I hear the question..... "Do you teach them anything here, or do they just play all day?"  My response is an emphatic "Yes" to both parts of that question.  Your child is "learning" as they play!  We chose to use The Creative Curriculum in our program because of the emphasis of a hands-on approach to learning, and the intentional use of observing children to create the best possible experiences for them to explore. 

Here are some examples of what your child is learning when the are "Just Playing”..........

WHEN YOUR CHILD BUILDS WITH BLOCKS:
She learns to use her imagination to create something from her own thinking.
She has the satisfaction of being able to make something.
She learns about sizes and shapes, weights and balances, height and depth, smoothness and roughness.
She is exercising her body.
She learns to play with others.

WHEN YOUR CHILD PAINTS:
He is more concerned with the process he is going through than with a finished product.                       This is how it should be for this stage in his development.
He learns about colors and how he can use them.
He learns to use his imagination and transfers his ideas to paper.
He gets emotional satisfaction from being able to express himself.
He learns how to use small muscle coordination to handle a brush.
He learns to make choices and decisions.

WHEN YOUR CHILD PLAYS ON THE OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT:
She learns how to use her body effectively.
She experiences joy in achieving a skill.
She has fun and relaxation found in bodily movement.
She learns the limitations of her body.
She learns safety and caution.
She learns to take turns and to share a piece of equipment.

WHEN YOUR CHILD PLAYS IN THE HOUSEKEEPING CORNER:
He learns what the roles of mothers and fathers and children are.
He understands what it feels like to play at being somebody other than himself.
He learns how to use his imagination.
He learns how to cooperate with other children.

WHEN YOUR CHILD MAKES A GIFT OUT OF PAPER AND PASTE:
She learns about doing things for others.
She learns how to use materials like scissors and paste/glue.
She learns how to use her imagination to make the kind of present she has in mind.                          Again, the process, not the finished product, is important to her.
She learns about shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

WHEN YOUR CHILD PLAYS IN THE SAND AND WATER:
He finds it soothing to bury his hands in sand or pour water in and out of cups.
He is able to relax with these types of media and center his attention on a task.
He has an opportunity to play alone and not have to compete with other children as with some activities. This is especially important to a child who has trouble getting along with others.
He has a great opportunity to learn about size and measurement, experimenting with measuring spoons, cups and different sized containers.
He learns which kinds of things float in water.
He is not concerned with a final product so he does not find it frustrating.

WHEN YOUR CHILD WORKS WITH PUZZLES:

She has an opportunity to work alone or together with other children.
She gains satisfaction in completing a puzzle and builds her self-confidence.
She has an opportunity to improve her hand~eye coordination.
She will use skills learned in doing puzzles later when she learns to read-putting letters to sounds, making words with letters, and making stories with words.

WHEN YOUR CHILD LISTENS TO STORIES OR LOOKS AT BOOKS:
He learns to listen.
He has an opportunity to increase his vocabulary by hearing new words read to him.
He learns about different concepts, people and places.
He learns to enjoy books and reading.
His mind is stimulated, visualizing the things he is hearing about.

WHEN YOUR CHILD COOKS:
She learns to follow directions.
She stimulates and uses all five senses.
She learns to recognize colors and shapes from different kinds of foods and kitchen utensils.
She has an opportunity to use different tools and equipment to improve small muscle coordination.

WHEN YOUR CHILD LISTENS TO MUSIC, SINGS OR DANCES:
He learns to appreciate music from different countries, cultures, and time periods.
He learns to express himself and his ideas.
He increases his vocabulary.
He gains satisfaction from participating in an activity that can be fun, physical and/or enriching.

WHEN YOUR CHILD USES MANIPULATIVE ACTIVITIES:
She explores new concepts, practices emerging skills, and reinforces skills already mastered.
She develops fine motor practice.
She learns about classifying, sorting, predicting, problem solving, and analyzing results.
She develops her knowledge of the world around her using real objects and concrete examples.
She learns how to learn.

WHEN YOUR CHILD USES TECHNOLOGY AND/OR COMPUTERS:
He learns how machines work and how they can help him learn more.
He practices hand~eye coordination using the mouse.
He is able to learn the processes necessary to use technology.
He learns how to express his ideas through technology and share his ideas with others.

WHEN YOUR CHILD PLAYS WITH PUPPETS:
She is able to verbalize her feelings using words.
She can begin to understand the feelings of others.
She can role-play and perhaps find solutions to situations that may disturb her.
She stretches her imagination.

The list could go on and on about the wonderful experiences your child is learning from in your every-day environment!  It is our job as teachers and parents to extend that learning by joining in conversations about our children's interests, and by creating experiences that engage their attention and stretches their imagination!

Have a wonderful week with your family!

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