Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nothing New...

When I started teaching preschool way back in 1979 the trend was for everything natural, everything real.  Like wooden structures on the play yards, real pots and pans, telephones and such in the dramatic play areas.  Then, it slowly moved to brightly colored plastic play equipment which was more durable and was easier to maintain. The dramatic play toys became “child sized,” plastic and brightly colored as well.

Now, we are seeing the tide turn and the trend is going back to natural environments and real things to pretend with while playing and learning about their world around them.  And, I am happy as can be! It is only when I look back I see the real value in using items that are “real world” for our young children. 

Not only do I believe children enjoy real items like pots and pans, telephones, keyboards, nuts and bolts, rocks and logs, water and dirt/sand more, they also provide a variety of advantages.  First and foremost there is a greater respect for them and their play. Also, these items provide a variety of textures to feel, weight which builds muscle strength and they make sounds when clanked together. They provide wonderful opportunities for exploration and imagination.

 So, open up the kitchen cabinets and the back doors once again and let your children have at it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015



 Spring is right around the corner and the trees and flowers are starting to bloom.  Our children are doing the same thing!!  Growth spurts, increased verbal skills and cooperative play is emerging.

Along with the growth in social skills, also comes frustration.  Our Three-Year-Olds are beginning to move away from parallel play and starting to engage in cooperative play. They no longer have to work just on sharing toys and props, but now they have to work on sharing thoughts and ideas. Our older children begin to increase the complexity of their play scenarios. 

It may seem as though they have regressed, when really they are taking on new challenges and need time to repeatedly practice these skills in order to master them. 

The saying...“Take one step forward and two steps backwards” is really true.  As parents and teachers, it is helpful to understand that when new skills are developing our children need our patience, comfort and yet still need good boundaries.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Get in the Car, We've Got to GO!

 Children need time to “Be”- to be “Idle” - to be “Creative” and “Think” outside of the box.  Gymnastics, karate, music, cooking and so on are wonderful things to expose our children to.  However, when we fill every moment of everyday with scheduled activities we rob our children of the opportunity to explore, discover and grow their minds to achieve endless possibilities.  

“Kids need all kinds of extracurricular activities to “keep up”
with their peers and to look good to prospective schools”

Kids, for the most part, need what kids have always needed: love, support, limits, and responsibilities.  In this respect, the kids that I treat now are no different from the kids I treated thirty years ago.  Child development simply does not change - it’s biologically encoded - and no amount of extracurriculars makes up for a kid who feels unloved, or entitled, both of which are poor predictors for success.

Taken from: Teach Your Children Well
Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More
Than Grades, Trophies or “Fat Envelopes”
By:  Madeline Levine, PhD

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Messy Play ~ A Child's Work

     But Mommmm…

                                    I am busy making a lake for all the animals!

The Children have certainly enjoyed water play out on the yard and in the classrooms during these hot, first days of school.  As you can see, children’s work can be very messy.  Yet, she is busy making a habitat for the wild animals.  During this play she is learning the names of the animals, pairing them up and caring for them on a hot day.  I imagine working with real animals, whether in the wild or in a wild life park can be very rewarding yet messy.

My point, you ask?  It was wonderful that our little one came dressed for her messy job and so there were no worries about needing to keep clean.  A suggestion would be to keep a few plastic bags, extra clothes and shoes in your car.  It's perfect for those days when your child may be covered from head to toe in mess and you would prefer not to get it all over your car.  Another good reason to keep an extra change of clothes on hand, is for those days you plan to go somewhere else other than home. A quick change of the clothes and into the bag will do the trick.  Another good reason to keep an extra change of clothes on hand, is for those days you plan to go somewhere else other than home. 

Remember PLAY is children’s WORK and it can be oh so MESSY!