The preschool years are times of rapid change for our little ones. They go from almost complete dependence to interacting with the world around them in skillful ways.
A basic understanding of Pre-K learning fundamentals will equip you to enjoy these precious years.
For many of us, worksheets and workbooks anchor our ideas about education. The idea of introducing our littles to early academics by those methods is exciting.
When we see our children developing new skills at a rapid rate, the fascination can become a sense of urgency. You find yourself fearful of falling behind if you don’t get ahead of the worksheet learning curve.
When we have older children already homeschooling, it’s even easier to see workbooks and worksheets as the primary approach to early education.
For the visual learner, worksheets may be an enticing and satisfying activity. For other active children who learn by listening or moving, the pencil and paper approach will soon lead to tears and confusion.
What a relief to know: play is the pivotal foundation of learning for our youngest students.
Play fosters opportunities to:
* develop and integrate fine and gross motor skills
* refine visual motor skills
* model and practice social interactions
* investigate life roles and responsibilities
* rehearse maturing vocabulary and language skills
* develop motor planning abilities
* follow a plan through to an end.
Play is just as important in the learning process as the years of ‘book work’ ahead.
When you understand the central role of play in early learning, it’s easy to plan a more relaxed school day. You won’t feel guilty for a day of playful learning.
If you are finding yourself and your littles frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed, take a step back. Evaluate the use of play in your homeschool day.
If paper and pencil looked like a good idea, in theory, but resulted in tears and fears, do not despair. Suspend the traditional idea of pen-and-paper anchored learning.
Want to add some play into your Pre-K to K5 day:
- Deb Chitwood of Living Montessori Now has tons of early learning ideas just right for the playful homeschool environment.
- Before Five in a Row offers wonderful unit-study based resources to fire your playful schooling ideas.
- For more information about play and early learning, Early Childhood News has a helpful article by Jill Englebright Fox, PhD.
- If you love the idea of hands on activities but feel at a loss to know how to pull it all together, Kate Funk of Ready Made Preschool has a kit just for you!
- Check out or online store for pre-school and K5 manipulatives including geobards and a desk set of attribute blocks.
We hope these ideas will get you started! Be sure to leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below, so we can plan future play-related schooling posts.
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