Po Box 82035
Portland, OR 97282-0035
"Brooklyn Preschool was founded in 1971 on the belief that children and parents benefit from sharing in a learning atmosphere. At Brooklyn, we offer open-ended activities to allow children to make choices in their work and play while engaging with other children. We also enable and empower children to develop a sense of confidence and strong self-esteem. Different learning styles are supported by many kinds of activities which promote social, emotional, creative, physical and intellectual development.
We are Going To Let Them Play
(article on importance of play)
(article from PCPO Connection Sept. '04) By Lynn Peterson
“What is your preschool's curriculum?” a first year preschool parent often asks, usually after the first couple weeks of what may seem like confusion-even chaos-in the classroom. The teacher has a ready answer: “Curriculum is everything that happens when your child is with us.”
Parents who have already had their child in preschool for a year have a different question, something along the lines of, “We understand how important play is in the life of preschoolers, and we accept all the reasons your school gives on why there are such long uninterrupted periods of play-but seriously now, when are you going to teach them something?”
As a “seasoned” preschool teacher of almost three decades, I have spent a lot of time answering this question and giving evidence on why I support the premise that preschool needs to be all about play. Research shows that active learning takes advantage of children's natural desire to move and touch. Young children have to explore, investigate and experiment in order to learn how to learn. They need to have lots of opportunities to solve problems, to discover the mysteries of relationships, and to make sense of the world around them.
We live in a time when everything is done as quickly as possible. DSL for computers; microwaves and drive-thrus for food; computer programs for children to learn math and spelling-and it only follows that preschoolers should be able to fit in to this times schedule. Unfortunately, it doesn't work this way. Yes, three- and four-year-olds can be trained to perform academic tasks. But is the natural love of learning that we want to give them. Developmentally appropriate practice means that young children need to approach new concepts at their own pace and in their own way. A child can be shown how to put together a difficult puzzle and memorize way to do it. But then there is no exploring, no investigating alternative methods using shapes, colors, continued patterns, and former strategies, and no experimenting. The child would have missed out on many learning opportunities.
Piaget's theory is that children construct knowledge based on previous experience. They need to develop strategies that will help them look at a problem in more than one way. We want our children to feel confident and safe enough to try things over and over again. And then try them in new ways. We want them to use this curiosity to face the many challenges that a stimulating preschool environment offers-painting, building with blocks, playing with others, trying to share toys, listening at story time, eating snack with a group, and learning to trust a word away from parents. The school provides the materials, space and time. The environment is set for active learning. And then we let them play.
We must respect the pace of childhood. We need to allow the passage of time to work its magic. Our children will make sense of their world because we are going to give them the gift of time. Time to explore possibilities, time to investigate interpersonal interactions, and time to experiment using their experiences to learn about the world around them. We are going to allow them to play.
Excerpted from the preschool's website
"9:15 - Arrival
9:30 - Morning Circle
9:40 - Choosing
10:45 - Clean up
11:00 - Circle
11:15 - Snack
11:40 - Outside
12:10 - Closing
12:15 - Dismissal
Excerpted from the preschool's website