top of page

Dramatic Play

Where can you find police officers, veterinarians, office workers, princesses, fire fighters, and chefs all happily working side-by-side? In a dramatic play area of our classrooms, of course!

Experts agree that dramatic play is healthy for early childhood development and is an integral part of a well rounded preschool program. Through dramatic play, children learn a myriad of skills.  In fact, the Association of Childhood Education International has stated that play is a natural part of childhood development that cannot be replaced by adult interaction. This means that even adult instruction cannot replace the valuable experience children gain through play, specifically dramatic play.  So, let the children pretend!

Why are Learning Centers important?

Block and Floor Play

Children learn best through hands-on experiences, and block play is a valuable part of cognitive development in young children. Using blocks, children can piece together shapes to create a bigger picture, whether it is a representation of something they have seen or from their imagination. Exploring with blocks also nurtures an understanding for math, science, language and dramatic play. Whether the shapes are wooden, colored, snap-together or boxes, blocks will enhance your child's learning activities.

Math and Manipulatives

Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration with manipulatives encourages children to solve problems in real situations. Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management.

 

Math manipulatives, sometimes referred to as table toys, help make abstract ideas concrete. For example, it is easier to understand what six means when applied to a real-life task such as finding six beads to string on a necklace or placing one cracker on each of six plates. But the use of manipulatives is not limited to mathematics, children can use them to practice a wide variety of skills. Other common skills children can learn by using manipulatives include:

  • Fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual discrimination

  • Recognition of shapes, colors, and textures

  • Comparison of similarities and differences, matching, classification, and pattern recognition

  • Following directions, following sequences, and concentrating for completing tasks

  • Chances to practice creativity and problem-solving

Art and Sensory

Art. When you hear that word, what do you think of? Does a picture of the Mona Lisa come to mind? What about the sculpture of David by Michelangelo? Because of the nature of art, each of us has our own idea of what it means to us on a personal level. For children, however, art is something they DO…it is a process.

Process art is all about the experience the children have while they’re creating. They enjoy the feeling of a crayon moving across paper and seeing a blob of colored paint grow larger. Making art is a sensory exploration activity. If it has a nice end product, that’s great, but the end product isn’t the focus of process art. In fact, its purest form, process art isn’t focused on an outcome at all.  

Language and Reading

Children start to learn language from the day they are born and as they grow and develop, their speech and language skills become increasingly more complex. When our teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words. They learn to understand and use language to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings, and to communicate with others. Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn. They also are less likely to have difficulties learning to read and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.

As caregivers, one of the most lasting ways we can impact children's overall success in life is by instilling in them a love and passion for reading. By reading out loud to children and offering a wide variety of printed materials in all our classrooms we are providing limitless opportunities for children to learn, giving them an entirely new way to communicate, to expand their imagination, and to learn new information.

Outdoor Play

Young children need the opportunity to use their whole body and develop their gross motor skills. It's only when they have mastered these that they will be able to control their fine motor skills, such as using a knife and fork or holding a pencil, for instance. As a result, children playing outside can have a positive impact.

Playing outside gives your child the chance to explore the natural environment and have adventures. He or she can play favorite games, test their physical limits, express themselves and build self-confidence.

Outside play can also mean more mess – and more mess often means more fun!

Science and Nature

Science and nature go hand-in-hand. For young learners, Science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore through play because they do it naturally. The myth is that we have to convince children that science is fun.

 

Are you kidding? Science has always been fun for children!

 

Science is not just a set of facts that have already been discovered by others; it is a process – a way of thinking and understanding the world. It is observing, predicting what might happen, testing those predictions, and making sense of observations.

 

Being surrounded by nature and natural items provides infinite benefits to children. Nature instills a sense of beauty and calmness. It exposes children to things that are alive and growing and promotes curiosity and exploration. With our teachers as their guide, children can learn about being gentle and respecting living things. Exposure to nature can help remind children that the world contains an infinite variety of things and all are important.

Small Group Time

Young children function best when working in small groups due to their still developing social and cognitive skills. When children work with only a few other children at a time, they learn important lessons about cooperation, compromise and the give and take of conversation. Also, when working in a small group with one of our nurturing teachers, children are able to receive the more focused attention they need for learning new or complex tasks and activities.

Large Group (Circle Time)

Circle time is a great opportunity for children and teachers to come together as a group and share a special time of their day. During circle time, young children gain a sense of community with their peers, enhance their social skills and improve their attention span. We understand that getting toddlers and preschoolers to sit still for any amount of time can be tricky, so our teachers keep circle time short, fun and interactive.

 

The shared experiences at circle time might include the introduction of a new child or toy, exchanging information on the day's activities and events, completing calendar and weather boards, reading a story, singing, playing games, exploring through music and movement, and much, much more.

Music and Movement

Music ignites all areas of child development: intellectual, social and cultural, emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. Music can also help to reduce stress, relieve tension, balance emotion, and strengthen memory skills.

In addition to the other benefits of music, it also provides us with joy.

Providing Quality Child Care Since 1992

bottom of page