When people come tour my preschool I am frequently told by the parents that their child is reading at a second grade level; then asked what are your teaching the children? Upon entering a yard under the shady of a Chinese Elm you can see children coming in, finding an activity such as digging a river in the sand, or creating art with a marble, a box, paper and paint. There is play dough made fresh everyday.
A friend is being made while other children are thinking about making a friend.
Developmentally when we study children’s play we are looking for how best to teach each child individually, with objectives that are appropriate for their stage of development. While parents, and my apology in advance yet it is usually fathers, seem to want their children to learn academic principles, feeling that play is something a child can do at home.
While that is true, as I raised four children and they all played at home, children need to learn to be capable and cope able away from their home environment, as someday they will need to be independent of their parents. This is a huge task when you think about it. At the same time if I child can be given the time to develop at home as well as in a school environment from the preschool age with an emphasis on social emotional development studies show children being more secure in the world, with healthier social relationships and even a higher income. All this through exploring the world in a school where children are playing,even while they can read a second grade level.
Debbie Bacino has been an early childhood educator for the past twenty years as a preschool teacher, director and parent educator. She is a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators, Pasadena City College’s Advisory Board and a local preschool directors networking group. Debbie is the owner and Director of La Canada Preschool. Her vision is to provide the best environment for children to experience discovery and their sense of wonder at this magical moment in human development.