Well over thirty years ago when I was in college taking my teacher ed art classes the “new” mantra was “it’s the PROCESS not the PRODUCT.” It was a big deal then and thankfully, it still is today. What does it mean to children? When we, as early childhood professionals, live by the rule that “the doing” is more important than “the done” it conveys to our young students that we believe they’re capable of creating their own art. True creative art experiences for children allows them to experiment, create and build. They are encouraged to think, make their own decisions and express themselves through a creative outlet.
The Bluebirds have had their first full week of preschool. They made a fantastic transition into their new learning environment here at Kidspace. We have been learning about and practicing listening skills. We use our ears to listen, our eyes to look at the person talking, our legs are criss-crossed applesauce, our hands are in our lap and our mouths are quiet. We also worked on using good manners at the table and with our peers and teachers. We have memorized a couple of new poems and we’re making many new friends.
At Kidspace Child Enrichment Center, we believe that children are strong, capable, and active learners by nature. Our purpose is to provide a “rigorous preschool” curriculum, a playful environment that encourages focused and engaged learning.
“If you walk into a high-quality early education classroom, what you see is children playing,” states Amy O’ Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children. “What you may not realize is that each station in the room, whether the block area or the dramatic play space or the book corner, has been carefully set up to foster children’s learning and healthy development.”
Rigorous guidelines vary slightly depending on the setting’s particular focus. At our center, learning is not compartmentalized. Rather, play transforms into teachable moments. With education embedded in exploration, kids naturally acquire new skills by pursuing what comes easily: fun.
Here at Kidspace Child Enrichment Center, our instructors follow practices and use techniques that engage your child’s natural curiosity and teach life skills such as counting, organization, physical coordination, and language development. These include:
In each center and every activity, learning is an essential part of your child’s experience.
Gardening with children is pure magic.
In the eyes of a child a garden and its bounty is magic. As adults, we are still amazed at what can be grown from a teeny tiny seed, but the real the magic for us is the observation of the children as they plant, explore, observe, learn about, care for, wonder at, delight in and harvest the bounty of the garden.
In the garden boxes the students from every class planted a variety of seeds. They planted cherry tomatoes, a couple crops of lettuce, peas, beans, multiple varieties of flowers, carrots and pumpkins. The harvest has been bountiful.
This has been a truly amazing summer and it is so hard to believe that the first day of school is just around the corner. The Manta Rays finished their summer with dragons, royalty, castles, and fairies. Take a look!
No matter our age, we all desire to be needed and valued. The more each of us sees our worth as an integral part of the community or family, the more connected we are to that family, school or community unit.
By giving children, even preschoolers, valued jobs, it helps them understand the importance of stepping up to the plate for the good of others and it instills true self-worth.
Sorting socks, taking out the trash and setting the table are chores that need to be done. All of us have to do mundane tasks and children should not be immune from them either. However, in addition to the daily tasks children should be given chores which carry true responsibility. Giving a young preschooler the responsibility of carrying the keys to the car and unlocking the door may seem like a risky proposition to you, but to them it speaks volumes about how much you trust them. Children know the importance of keys and when adults hand over their keys – that’s a big deal!
When children see the important adults in their lives trust them to do valued jobs, work with real tools, or be responsible for precious items, people or animals they begin to be responsible in other areas of their lives as well. A child who is responsible, not just for the watering of the plants, but also fertilizing them (with supervision) will grow up with a respect and understanding about poisons. They learn that while fertilizers may be good for plants, they can make humans and animals very, very sick. They also learn the importance of following directions because too much fertilizer can kill a plant and not enough fertilizer won’t help it grow.
A student who has the responsibility of leading his lined-up classmates to another location in the school quickly learns that an unruly line is far harder to lead than an attentive line. A wise teacher will give the line leader the responsibility of the line – not just the task of following behind her. It’s amazing how quickly children learn the merits of walking quietly in line when they are responsible for the line.
Children who are taught how to use a real knife and then given the responsibility of using it to cut up fruits and veggies grow up having a respect for sharp utensils and tools. A child who is given the opportunities to use a real knife (under supervision) is less likely to play with a found knife (or other sharp tools) because they have a true understanding of the dangers of knives.
Serving others, not just at home, but in the community gives children the opportunity to understand the value of working together for the good of all and the responsibility we all have in taking care of each other. Taking the trash cans to the curb for an elderly neighbor, doing a park clean-up or donating to a toy drive are all ways children can participate and feel the joy of helping others.
Giving children jobs with real responsibility not only teaches them vital life skills , but even more importantly each child sees themselves as having true worth as a valued member of their family, class, and community.
|Today’s cooking project was all about eating like a Herbivore. That’s a dinosaur that eats only
vegetables. Imagine that, eating nothing but your vegetables. Let’s see what the Mana Ray’s ate.