As we continue to look at tools and methods used by preschool teachers, today we discuss a fundamental: Play-Based Learning.
Without a doubt Play-Based Learning is a natural way for children to learn and something you are already doing at home. This is one of the best methods a preschool teacher can use and with a little thought, you can build on your "play" at home.
In Play-Based curricula, learning is embedded in play and the teachers are trained to follow the child’s lead. Play-Based doesn’t mean the teachers are just watching children play. Quite the contrary, it is a method of helping children work with others and solve problems together. Academic concepts are introduced through imaginative games and play.
Depending on your child's interests and abilities you can add to the game. If your child wants to play treasure hunt you can make a map for your child to follow, better yet your child can make a map. Depending on your child's age and interest you (or your child with help) can label the map. Understanding how the written word works is much more interesting if a treasure hunt is involved. The treasure can be anything from a coin to a box full of acorns.
If you play SPCA or Wildlife Center with stuffed animals, you child can learn about caring for others, first aid, and local wildlife. Let you child set up the play area. Ask "What will the cat need?" Your child will come up with some answers: water, food, bedding. "What do you think a squirrel needs?" "How about a spider?"
How about physical play? Do you have some items your child could build with? Perhaps you have a sturdy board and some low blocks or strong boxes to make a bridge over the cloth lava flow. Obviously you want to keep safety in mind, but don't set these games up for your child - you can help, but let you child take the lead. We learn more from our mistakes then from a perfect set-up someone else has made.
Learn more about Play-Based Learning here...