|How Children Learn in Preschool
A Parent's Guide to Preschool
Diane Trister Dodge and Joanna Phinney
|Children are learning every minute of the day. They learn from the way we organize the
classroom, form the daily schedule, from activities, and from their outdoor play.
Our classrooms are set up for learning. Children have many opportunities to make
choices, come up with ideas, experiment, and take responsibility for their work.. Here's
what you'll see when you visit.
*Materials are on low shelves, in containers, and on hooks so children can get them
independently and put them away.
*Shelves are neat and uncluttered so materials are easy to see, remove, and replace.
*Picture and word labels are on containers and shelves so children know where
materials belong and learn to use print.
*There are distinct areas-blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, discovery,
library, sensory tables, music and movement, cooking, computers, and
different play spaces outdoors-so children know what choices are available
and make decisions.
*A variety of learning materials are in each area so that no matter where children
choose to play, they learn.
*Similar materials are grouped together to teach children to sort and
classify--skills that are important to understanding and solving math problems.
The Daily Schedule
We want your child to feel secure and independent, to move from one activity to another
as easily and confidently as possible. And we want to provide a variety of learning
experiences for a well-rounded education. So we plan a daily schedule with these goals in
mind. We follow this same schedule day after day. A picture schedule helps children feel
secure because they know what comes next. After a few months, children are amazingly
independent. They tell us what they are supposed to do next!
When you visit your child's classroom, you see a room full of children playing. You may
wonder what we are doing to help children learn. As children play, we watch how they use
materials. We listen. We talk with them to find out what they are thinking and trying to do.
We help children become aware of their actions, offer suggestions, and think about what
materials to offer next. Then we challenge them to think further. This is how we encourage
the development of skills children will need in elementary school.
The time children spend outdoors every day is just as important to their learning as the
time they spend in the classroom. Unless the weather is severe, we take children outdoors
every day, often more than once.
Large muscle activities are essential for children's health and well-being. Too many
children today are overweight. One reason is they don't get the large muscle activity
essential for healthy development. Children need time each day to run, leap, hop, jump,
slide, climb, and throw and catch a ball. These activities build strong muscles and a sense
of pride. They are important for another reason as well. Brain research shows that
physical activity actually wakes up the brain for learning.
The outdoors greatly increases our learning environment. It is a natural setting for
scientific investigations. Children find and study bugs and butterflies, plant seeds and
watch them grow, and compare the feel of the bark on different trees. In some climates
they notice the leaves change color and fall to the ground and learn about ice and snow.
In other climates they learn how plants survive on almost no water. We talk with children
about their discoveries and encourage them to continue investigating what they find
4527 Southwest Hwy.
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Fax : 708-424-1445