Friday, February 8, 2013

A Happy Heart and a Playful Spirit! :)

Okay, here's another soap box, I get on those every now and then. ;)  Play in Kindergarten is how children learn!  Do I teach academics, absolutely, if you go back a bit I got on a soap box about abeka phonics, math, etc...  My kiddos are blending, counting, writing, reading, and more, but they are also playing.  When I'm teaching they don't just sit and attend, which has it's place too, but we move and learn.  We count and jump, we sing and dance, we rhyme and memorize, but we also play.

Some of my favorite times are when kiddos are in centers.  I love to hear their ideas when they are working together, I love to watch as they plan out a block building project, I love to hear them "read" and discover books through pictures, and I love to see their creativity as they play and imagine.  I change out the big centers each month, housekeeping, dress-up, and books, when I do that, you'd think I was the greatest decorator around.  The kids get so excited to see and try out the new areas!  Sometimes housekeeping is a store, it's been  a restaurant, it's been a pumpkin market, a beach shack cafe, pizza parlor, bakery, etc...  Dress up has been transformed into a vet, a puppet stage area, fairy tale and nursery rhyme acting stage, crazy hat dress up etc...  It's such fun to think up some new and exciting things in these areas!

Each week we have a writing center, math center, art center, listening center, table toys, blocks, and science.    These usually have a theme for the month.  Sometimes we throw in sand or playdough.  Through all of these, children are exploring and learning at their pace.

These children are going to have years sitting at a desk and doing homework, this is their time to be kids, to enjoy learning and have some fun!  Kindergarten is usually the year that sets the tone for learning through the years, and don't we want them to have a positive outlook on that?  So, let your kinders be kids a bit longer, let them squish some playdough, put on a fun and crazy costume, pretend they are a great chef, build a skyscraper, and just be kids!  Research shows that play is key to all kinds of higher learning, so pat yourself on the back, and when one of your students is a National Merit Scholar, you can say, I had a part in that, I let them play! ;)

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