Curiosity, a natural outflow of each childâ€™s drive to learn, finds its expression through play. Play becomes the vehicle by which the young child finds joy, understands the world around him, creates knowledge about human relationships, and tries out new ideas. Problem solving, curiosity, self-esteem, mathematics, cooperation and endurance all come through the opportunity to play. Play has many types, all of which have value to the growing child.
Child-initiated play: This type of play is the foundation of all play. The staff provides the play materials, observe and participate only as needed.
Directed play: The teacher helps children play based on something the children have previously experienced. (She uses props that allow the children to expand their knowledge based on experience.
Guided play: The teacher prompts play, but allows the children to play with little intervention. (She knows that children learn best without intervention. Intervention by a staff member will come only if a childâ€™s developmental needs call for help.
Outdoor physical play: A type of child-initiated play, takes on fresh meaning in the classroom we call the playground.
Each one of the types of play is productive and critical in shaping a child. To a child their play is their work. We encourage learning and growing opportunities by providing ample time for children to pursue their ideas, to do things their own way, and to imagine what itâ€™s like to be someone else. Variety in toys, textures, and art projects encourages imagination, language, motor skills and FUN! This child-centered approach allows each child to control his or her own environment as much as possible and develop a healthy personality.
Teachers provide questions, information and materials based on each childâ€™s uniqueness and ability. Early childhood professionals help children by extending their ideas, by involving other people to help them understand the world (this is where you as the parent greatly affect the program), and allowing children to see they have many options available to them. Cooperation, generosity and compassion develop as adults model these traits for young children. Opportunities to think occur as children are guided to find their own solutions and figure things out for themselves.
St. Paul Preschool allows the natural link between play, development, and learning. These opportunities place play at the center of our curriculum.