What am I learning when I play?

In the carefully planned and well thought-out classroom, the
children are constantly learning and developing. The following is
a list of each area in the classroom and some of the skills that the children will be developing while they are engaged in meaningful play.

Block Play
Playing with blocks of all sizes teaches me:

  • Geometry – Shapes like triangles, rectangles, cylinders.
  • Math – Unit blocks are especially measured so that I am
    learning about fractions (like quarters and halves),
    measurement and more.
  • Physics – When I build towers and bridges, I am learning about things like balance and weight.

Playing with Manipulatives
When I play here with puzzles, table blocks and other things, I am enhancing my:

  • Fine motor skills – using my fingers and hands
  • Eye-hand coordination – Getting my eyes and hands to work together
  • Concentration skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Math Skills like sorting, patterning and ordering.

Sand & Water Play
Sand and water are both very calming and soothing sensory
activities. There is no wrong way to play with sand in the classroom (except maybe throwing it in someone’s eyes!) Playing with these and other sensory materials teaches me about:

  • Filling and pouring
  • More and less
  • Measurement
  • Conservation
  • Sink and Float/Heavy and Light

I also get to use my imagination to create neat things like when I mold wet sand and create an entire town filled with roads, houses and farm animals.

Writing Centre
When I play here I am practicing all of the skills that I will need to be a proficient writer down the road. The process is more important to me than the product. Sometimes I will tear up or cut up my own drawing and that’s all right! What’s important to me is holding the writing implement, the movement of my hand and arm and watching what happens on the paper.

Book Area
It is sooooo important to read to me everyday. It will
really help to develop my reading skills when I get older. Reading to me helps me connect the written word with the spoken word and to understand that letters on a page make words and sentences that can be read out loud.
It’s also important to let me look at books on my own and to let me “read” to you by making up stories to fit the pictures or by remembering lines from favorite repeated stories and books. Repetition might be boring to you but it is a great learning tool for me!

The easel is usually used for painting but sometimes there will be markers, chalk, sponges or crayons to
use there too. It gives me an opportunity to create
something with a different perception – upright instead
of flat (like a table). I find out things like if I put on too much paint, it will run down in rivers! Remember, it’s the process that’s important – I’m not always interested in the product!

In this area, I am experimenting with three-dimensional art. I am using my imagination and creativity to squeeze, roll, cut and mold the dough. Imagination and creativity are a cornerstone in problem solving, self-esteem and self-confidence. Try not to ask me what I am making. I may not be making anything! I am learning about the properties of the material – playdough is easily molded; plasticene needs to be “worked” more to make it soft; clay is slimy.

Free Art/ Creative Table
This is where I get to experiment with all different kinds of art materials and tools. I get to use my imagination and my creative skills. Just like the writing center, the process is more important than the product. I may not
always want to keep my creation. Sometimes I will spend a long time doing careful prints and then smoosh the whole thing and mix all the colors together. That’s all part of learning. What happens when I mix red and blue together? Purple. Cool! Does the paper rip when there is lots of paint on it?

Dramatic Play Area
I get to “try out” being a grown up here. I can dress up as a letter-carrier, doctor, fire-fighter, or pirate. I can pretend to be a mommy, daddy, cook a meal or even breast-feed a baby! The younger I am, the less involved I’ll be with other children. I am content to play alongside them. As I get older, my play becomes more complex and I start to play with other children. This area helps me learn language and many important social skills such as negotiating, sharing, collaborating, turn taking, and more. In the dramatic play area my imagination can soar and I can be anything I want to be!