There is a well-established consensus among early childhood professionals that play is an essential element of developmentally appropriate, high-quality early education programs (Alliance for Childhood, 2006; NAEYC & NAECSSDE, 2003). Play-based learning provides benefits for cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and moral development (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006; Elkind, 2007) for children from all socio-economic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds (Zigler, E. &Bishop-Josef, S., 2006). To provide these benefits, play must be deliberately facilitated by skilled teachers, who are well-trained in observing children and in understanding how play contributes to the children’s mastery of concepts and skills.
At LPP, our daily schedule is designed to provide a balance of small and large group activities, along with variety in structured and self-selected activities. We believe that children learn through play, both structured and (seemingly) unstructured. Each aspect of the daily schedule provides for learning opportunities.
Learning occurs from the moment children arrive at LPP. Each time of day has unique characteristics and importance. There is a purpose to everything we do. Read below to see what purpose is behind each part of our day!
- Free Play: learn to cooperate and develop social skills, participate in individual play, work on a multitude of gross/fine motor skills and academic domains
- Circle Time (calendar, weather, jobs): introduce and build upon concepts and themes, create a community of learners where thoughts and ideas of others are valued, create a sense of ownership of the room, give children routine and structure, discuss events of the day, and strengthen listening skills
- Read Alouds: increase love of reading, proven to increase childrens’ reading level and literacy skills/comprehension, strengthen concentration and cognitive skills, gain information, and strengthen vocabulary and communication
- Centers (STEM, literacy, art): reach curriculum goals, hit multiple learning styles and levels, expose children to different ideas and interests, give children a chance to practice learned skills, and establish a love of learning
- Process Art: create confidence and draw interest in art, help children understand the importance of a process (in art and life), inspire children to think creatively or express themselves uniquely, offer children the opportunity to explore and discover using thematic materials, and allow for sensory involvement
- Hands-On/Exploratory Activities: Children learn through their senses (20% of what they see, 30% of what they hear, 50% of what they see and hear, and 90% of what they do). This will allow children to be more willing to try new things, work gross/fine motor muscles. It also allows them to burn energy, encompasses multiple learning styles, and gives children a chance to teach themselves and peers
- Gross Motor: Build and strengthen large muscles, release energy, enhance listening skills and direction following, and learn through movement (kinesthetic)
- Music: Control the mood of the environment (calm, fun, energetic, light…), enjoyment (when you listen to music, your body releases dopamine- a feel-good chemical), and cognitive skills (as children listen to music, they anticipate what will come next and are better able to remember concepts)
Throughout the Day
- Positive Language and Redirection: Our knowledge of child development is that preschool children usually do not misbehave deliberately- they want to please us, but are currently learning the hows and whys of that and the effects of their behavior on themselves and others. Children like to know what TO DO (especially if they are given two preferred choices) rather than what NOT TO DO. This also helps our children and teachers maintain positive relationships.
- Parent Communication: establish a home-school connection, gain a better understanding of each child and their environment, ensure health and safety, form relationships with families
-Edited Excerpts from LPP Teacher, Jamie Tiller’s, Professional Development Presentation