Showing posts from March, 2012

Using Art to Build Self-Assured Critical Thinkers in Early Childhood Centers

The art hanging on the walls of The Early Learning Center of Temple Shalom is child created.  Each piece of art is unique and developmentally appropriate for children ages 2 ½ thru Pre-K.  No two paintings or drawings or collages look alike.   You may think that every preschool could say the same and that there is nothing unusual about our walls.  Think again. Far too often, emphasis in early childhood centers is placed on creating crafts that seem to demonstrate to parents that a lesson was learned that day.  When learning about animals, adults seem to feel compelled to grab the cotton balls and have everyone glue them onto construction paper or paper plates. Sheep are not made of cotton balls.   The children know it.  We know it.  Yet, many a cotton ball has given its life to create cloned sheep.  Taking cotton balls and gluing them teaches the children only to stick cotton on paper.  If we want children to learn about animals, we need to show them real or, at the very least, pictu…

The Importance of Learning Through Play in Early Childhood and Beyond

In today’s test driven educational systems, it seems that we have forgotten that learning through play during the early childhood years is the basis for later critical thinking.  It distressed me to learn recently that some early childhood programs have taken the word “play” out of the description of their curriculum.  One director apologetically explained to me that in today’s educational environment, the word “play” was viewed negatively. What does it say about our society that parents do not want to hear that their preschoolers are playing?  Perhaps the problem is a lack of understanding. Play is not something children do between learning opportunities.  Play IS the learning opportunity.
Children learn best when they build their knowledge through play.  Providing a student-centered, play & experiential environment at all ages enhances a student’s receptiveness to learning. Students need to be active rather than passive.  Think about your best learning experience.  You may hav…