Play with a Purpose

“Play is the highest form of research.”
-Albert Einstein

Here at Jack and Jill we follow the NAEYC guidelines for best practices of a developmentally appropriate curriculum. We believe that children learn best through hands-on experiences in a child-initiated atmosphere, as opposed to a primarily teacher-directed setting. Throughout our time together I will be reinforcing our philosophy that children learn best through play, but I would like to emphasize that much learning is actually occurring.

Learning through play may lead many to assume that we have a non-academic program, because they don’t see the more traditional school activities such as flash cards, worksheets or rote learning. Nothing is here by accident. It is purposeful, and chosen to enhance the children’s skills and experiences, and in reality you will see academics and the over-arching Six Domains of Early Childhood represented throughout our school. Here are some examples of academic topics that you will see in class each day that may not be obvious at first glance:

Developmental Goals Activities & Examples
Letter Recognition cubby cards, chore cards, name cards, item labels, writing desk
Literacy library center, story time, books throughout the school
Math Skills calendar, counting, games, music, manipulatives, center time
Science / STEM science experience center, outdoor play, field trips, block areas, manipulatives
Art / Fine Motor art experiences, play-doh table, painting, scissors, writing, manipulatives
Social / Emotional snack time, group time, during parallel and cooperative play opportunities
Self-help / Adaptive handwashing, snack time, dress-up time, putting on coats and shoes

One of my favorite places in our school is the water table. This feature encompasses all six of the domains as the children experience play. They use and develop Gross Motor and Fine Motor dexterity, Language, Math (counting, measuring), Science, and Social Skills (sharing, cooperation, patience). It is the very definition of learning through play. The acquisition of the above competencies will guide the children in their own excitement of discovery, knowledge and learning of new skills, giving them the confidence and ability to self-regulate, resolve conflicts and be socially capable.

-Teacher Kim

“Play is really the work of childhood.”
-Fred Rogers