"When you asked me what I did in school today and I say, 'I just played.' Please don’t misunderstand me. For you see, I am learning as I play. I am learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. Today I am a child and my work is play.”
Anita Wadley, 1974.
Play is so important for developing competencies in social interactions, problem solving and creative thinking. At Our Little Schoolhouse we play all day! We start out day with free play in the many areas of our room set up for fun and adventuresome exploration. Later, we visit our playground and play room for games and other physical pursuits. At the end of the morning, we go to “Center Time” which are a collection of games that children do with their friends that reinforce the theme of the week along with math and reading readiness skills. For us, playing is learning!
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”
Clay P. Bedford
Every week we organize our lesson plans around a central theme that is based on an interesting science or social studies concept. Art, music, learning centers and games will reflect the theme. We might also do experiments or other types of investigations in pursuit of deeper understanding of our theme. Math and Literacy often reflect the theme, but they can also be separate Our math curriculum is a mixture of Montessori and more traditional based lessons. For presenting concepts we work on a continuum from our 2 1/2 year olds to our 5 year olds with lots of revisiting of prior concepts to expand upon them. Our literacy program is too complex for a website! We employ many methods to help children have all the building blocks of reading by Kindergarten if not sooner.
“Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.”
Children naturally love music and creating art. No day goes by without some music or art, and we have either formalized music and art instruction every day. Music involvement is said to support cognitive, language, emotional, social and physical development. Art is equally important. It helps develop fine motor skills, visual discrimination and creativity. We explore art and music in many different ways. Every where you look there are art supplies in different medium and musical instruments available for children’s free experimentation. Music is always playing and we often use songs or pieces of art to teach.
Believe it or not, studies have shown that children who participate in the arts show increased achievement in other academic areas as well!
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