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Play and Preschool

There's more to "play" than meets the eye

Play and Preschool
March 2013

The Preschool years are optimal years for learning. Brain research demonstrates that 85% of a child's intellect and skills are developed in the first five years of life. However, when it comes to selecting a preschool for your child, keep in mind that most learning in young children happens through play. When you are looking at preschools, you want to see a lot of play happening in the classrooms.

At the Children's Museum Preschool, the students visit galleries and exhibits in the Museum on a daily basis. However, to an observer, it may look like play. And that's not only okay, that's the way it should be. We understand that play is where children discover ideas, experiences and concepts; but in preschool, their play is often guided by the teachers to be purposeful. The end result is creative play which is a catalyst for social, emotional, moral, motor, perceptual, intellectual, linguistic and neurological development. Whew! And we thought they were "just playing!"

Here's an at-home literacy idea to do with your preschooler:

Make an "environmental print" book with your preschool child. Creating a book that your child can "read" allows him/her to feel empowered as a reader. You can make this book with a phone or camera and a few minutes of your time. With your phone or camera, take pictures of words that are easily recognizable in your environment. Some examples might be: the signs on the front of businesses (Target, Walmart, McDonalds, Kroger, etc.); the names of products that are familiar (Cheerios, Kleenex, Coke, M & M's, etc.). Download and print these words on each page of your book. You may want to add the caption: "I Can Read (followed by the word/photo)."

Your child's face will light up as she reads her very own book created especially for her. She will believe, and she is, a reader.

Tags: In This Issue, Parenting, Preschool

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