February 2003


This ~ and ~ that!



With the emphasis on test scores and academics, the value and purpose of play in early childhood is often dismissed. Play is a child's work! It's not a waste of time; it's how they construct their knowledge. It's joyful, meaningful, engaging, and essential to the healthy development of the whole child.

Here is a great book you can make to help parents and administrators understand how important learning centers and play are to the curriculum. First, take photographs of your children engaged in the different centers in your classroom. Label each page with the appropriate center and glue on the photograph. Add a description similar to those below describing the skills children are developing as they work and play in each center. Add a front and back cover and bind with book rings or a spiral binder. Read the book with your class, encouraging them to talk about their friends and what they are doing in each picture. Let one child take the book home each evening to share with their families.

BLOCKS In the block center I'm developing math concepts and motor skills. I'm also learning how to share and work with my friends. I may use these skills as an architect or builder when I grow up.
LIBRARY In the library I can practice my reading skills. I'm also learning to love books.
ART The art center gives me the opportunity to develop my creativity and express myself. As I experiment and have fun, I'm also developing social skills and small muscles. Maybe I'll be an artist or designer when I grow up!
DRAMATIC When I pretend in the dramatic play area, I'm learning how to be a PLAY mommy, daddy, doctor, or teacher. Dramatic play also fosters my language skills and my social skills.
SCIENCE I can observe, experiment, predict, and discover new things in the science center. These are the same things I may do one day as a real scientist.
MATH The math center develops my problem-solving skills and gives me hands-on experiences in counting, comparing, patterning, and measuring. I may use these skills as an accountant or computer specialist when I grow up.
MUSIC As I play instruments and sing, I'm developing listening and language skills. Music just makes me feel good!
WRITING The writing center has lots of interesting materials so I can learn how to write stories, letters, and poems. Maybe I'll be an author when I grow up!
TABLE TOYS Puzzles, peg boards, play dough, and sewing cards develop eye-hand coordination. I'm also learning to complete tasks.
PLAYGROUND Out on the playground, I'm releasing energy and developing strength, coordination, and a strong, healthy body. I love to play outside with my friends at school.


Adaptations: Give parents suggestions for talking with their child about the book. "What's your favorite center?" "Can you show me your friends?" Encourage parents to tell their children what they liked to do in kindergarten. (I bet it wasn't worksheets!)

You can extend this idea for a writing activity. Have each child draw a picture of what they like best at school. Then ask them to complete this sentence, "I like to. . . " Bind their pictures together to create another book for your classroom library.

Chocolate | Twinkle | Potter | School Is Fun

Copyright 2003, Dr. Jean
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