Daycare Center Play: How Does that Help Your Child to Learn & Develop?
Your child's daycare center is much more than a place where she plays. Yes, your child does play there. But, play is actually child's work. When your preschooler is building with blocks, finger painting and dressing up in costumes she's also learning. How is this possible? Check out the ways in which your little learner can develop and grow during some serious pre-k play.
Exploring through the Senses
Young children are naturally curious. Sitting still and listening to a teacher talk won't do much for your child when it comes to learning. Most preschoolers will quickly lose interest and tune out. But, exploring through the sense during play activities is a way to help the child to truly learn. Sensory play is a broad term and may include an array of activities and lessons, such as creating art, experimenting in the science area or even going outside and experiencing nature (digging in the dirt, watching animals, feeling different plants and other similar outdoor ideas).
When your child gets hands-on she's also get her mind on. For example, math concepts are sometimes too abstract for the young child to understand. Simply stating an equation to a preschool-aged child probably won't help her to understand the underlying math ideas at hand. But, if you add in a math manipulative (something that the child can touch and manipulate with her hands) learning becomes more concrete. Instead of writing out addition problems, your child can move small toys or mini cars into piles, put a few together and count them in order to add.
Bridging Content Areas
Play spans a variety of different early childhood content areas that you'll find in the daycare center's curriculum. Block play may look like a fun-time activity. It is. But, it also helps your child to develop visual-spatial skills and learn basic math concepts such as geometry, measuring and patterning. Likewise, other types of play can bridge different curricular content areas. A nature walk includes plenty of science content, reading books helps to build early literacy skills and dress up can introduce preschoolers to social studies concepts such as community helpers and what they do.
The daycare center day is filled with play. Is your child having fun? Of course she is. Is she learning? Yes, she's doing that to. When you watch your child play, keep in mind that this is a major way she develops.