In many early childhood programs the climate lately has been towards more education and skills training. However, young children also need plenty of time to play, to explore their world, and to learn social skills. We offer this for your child, by providing a balance between structured and unstructured activities and by recognizing that all children are born with a desire to explore, discover, and learn. The most effective means of accomplishing this is through their play, because we believe that it is through play, that children learn best. Play is critical to the healthy growth and development of children. Children develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically through play. Children learn through play, because they are engaged in what they are doing. When children are having fun they are interested and open to new ideas and thoughts. As children play, they learn to solve problems, to get along with others and take turns, negotiate, and to develop the fine and gross motor skills needed to grow and learn. Play is how children experience their world and bring meaning to it. It models the social framework that builds relationships for life and inspires imagination.
In play, children can experiment freely, they can pretend to be different people and take on new roles (like mommy, or daddy, fire fighter, or even their favorite animal). Because play gives children the opportunity to pretend, it gives them the ability to see the world from different perspectives. In play, children can sort and organize all kinds of materials and use objects at hand to represent other objects. How many times have you heard your child hold up an object and say, "Pretend this is (an airplane, a flower, a doggie, etc.)?" The ability to make believe with objects is important in the development of children's thinking. Play is also one of the most powerful tools children have to express their thoughts and feelings.
As children grow, different developmental stages are manifested in their play. At about the age of two, children pretend to cry, sleep, and eat. Then they begin to include stuffed animals, dolls, and other toys in their play. They also begin to pretend with objects - a box becomes a car or a block can be a telephone. When children are about three years old, they like to play make-believe with others. As children grow their play becomes more complex. The play of four and five year olds is focused on taking on different roles, especially those of adults in their lives. These play adventures tend to focus on their experiences at home. Children pretend to cook, clean, care for younger children, go off to work, etc. This kind of play helps children make sense of their world and work through any fears or anxieties in a safe context.
Building Blocks Home Daycare is successful in part because children learn through play....pretend play, playing games, and active playing. We do not under estimate the importance of play-time on a growing child's mind, body and spirit. Therefore, the children under our care receive lots of both free-play and structured-play throughout each day. During structured-play we primarily have only one group of toys or activity out at a time in order to allow the children to concentrate fully on each thing they do. Age appropriate activities are scheduled with the flexibility allowed to respond to the needs of each individual child and their various ages. Activities that we and the children participate in, include, but are not limited to the following.
Indoor Activities Include
Books and story-time, Legos, circle-time, tumbling exercises, Lincoln Logs, Kids-K-nex, music and dancing, dress up, play food, interactive stuffed animals, cars/trucks/planes, arts and crafts, puzzles, flash cards, animals/dinosaurs, trains, musical instruments, balls, dolls and Barbies, various learning toys, musical instruments, various games, Mr. Potato Head, bean bag toss, blocks, beads and string, song games, play dough, coloring, sing along story books, painting, science, board games, puppets, Simon-says, and singing.
Outdoor Activities Include
Climbing, sliding, jumping, running, balls, jump rope, racing, water balloons, parachute, catch, bubbles, follow the leader, squirt bottles, ride-on toys, wagons, tunnels, safe water toys, various games, water table, painting, neighborhood walks, exploring nature/weather, soccer, and yes falling. As you know, children play hard and will get some bumps and bruises from time to time. We do our best to limit the amount of times this occurs, with constant supervision and watchful eyes. Due to the safe environment/toys we have surrounded ourselves with, we hope to prevent any injuries before they can happen. During the summer months (June, July and August) we allow for more outdoor activities and creative art projects. Weather permitting, we play outdoors every day.
Periodic/Seasonal Activities Include
A few times a year we invite Tumble Bus Gym for an onsite six week course, Santa Clause (my dad) and his Elf (my mom) make a yearly visit, as does the Easter Bunny and subsequent Easter Egg Hunt, dress-up for Halloween, Valentine's Day card exchange, occasionally local Dentists visit to educate and demonstrate the importance of oral hygiene, we celebrate the children's Birthday Parties, and each year Firefighter Karl (my dad) comes to visit and teaches fire safety.