D11 Preschool Connection
Updates and Information for Our Community of Families
NO SCHOOL on Monday, October 16th.
Parent-Teacher Conferences Oct 27 and 28
Attending Fall conferences is a program requirement. If needed, you can request a video conference or a phone conference.
What's Happening in Preschool?
It's hard to believe we're more than six weeks into the school year! Preschool classrooms are now immersed in curriculum. This month, we will focus on taking a closer look at our broad philosophy of teaching through play. In future months, we will dig deeper into highlighting each of the specific curriculums used in our preschool program.
Why are D11 preschool classrooms play-based?
Play and learning are not separate activities! Preschool-age children LEARN best when they are playing! Here's what decades of research tells us:
Preschool age children learn best when 4 ingredients are present:
1. Mentally active: children are truly engrossed, not just watching and listening.
2. Engaged: children are fully present in the activity.
3. Socially interactive: children are playing and conversing with others.
4. Making meaningful connections: children are connecting new information to what they already know and have experience with.
Play allows children to build the foundational skills required for later learning. For example:
- symbolic play (make-believe play) and self-directed play develops executive functioning skills (such as attention, memory, predicting, sequencing, and planning).
- manipulative and sensory play build hand strength and coordination needed for writing
Play is shown to help young students regulate their bodies and emotions, reduce anxiety, and build self-esteem.
Play teaches young children learn how to work in groups, advocate, negotiate, solve conflicts, and build flexibility.
Play in preschool is shown to help children develop a positive attitude toward learning.
What does play-based learning look like?
High quality preschool programming uses play as a pathway for teaching. In D11 preschool, students engage in daily structured activities such as circle time and small group learning, but much of our teaching happens during play. Unlike other play opportunities in your child's life, play in preschool is highly intentional and includes a lot of direct instruction. Here's what you can expect in our playful classrooms:
-Teachers engage students in guided play: joyful interactions that include expanding ideas, building upon demonstrated skills, adding in vocabulary, asking open-ended questions, building in academic concepts, and teaching interaction skills.
-Daily learning opportunities include both indoor and outdoor play.
-Students are offered a minimum of 50 minutes uninterrupted play.
-Students direct their own activity (where/what/with who), and teachers fold themselves into the interests and ideas of the students. From there, teaching staff can imbed specific learning targets.
-Classroom play centers are organized by type of play: dramatic play, art, blocks, science, manipulatives, math, sensory, and reading.
-Environment and play materials reflect learning themes and change frequently. While teachers actively teach during play, the environment is our other teacher. Every toy and play material in your child's classroom has been carefully selected so that it contributes to an environment that supports learning academic concepts, problem-solving, collaboration, and/or helps the students build real-world and meaningful connections to the curriculum content.
Supporting Your Preschooler
ENCOURAGING SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Social-Emotional development is arguably the most important focus in early childhood, as skills in this area are a significant predictor of later school success, and success in adulthood.
Social-Emotional refers to skills such as understanding one's own feelings and the feelings of others, skills related to managing and expressing strong emotions, and the skills related to interactions and relationships with adults and peers.
Here are ways you can foster your child's social-emotional development:
- Label your emotions and those of your child. For example: "I'm frustrated right now because I didn't expect that we would be stuck in traffic" or "I'm feeling nervous because I think we're going to be late." When your child is expressing emotions, you can label them by saying "you look so excited!" or "you are angry (or frustrated, sad, upset, disappointed, etc.) because I said no." Remember that all feelings are okay to have - our job is to help young children recognize them, understand them, and learn how to express them appropriately.
- Point out emotions in others, such as a child having a tantrum at the park or grocery store ("how is he feeling?" or "why do think he's so angry?" and "what do you think would help him right now?"). You can also do this with characters in books or shows.
- Model how you cope with difficult emotions. Preschool-friendly examples include "I need to take some deep breaths to help me get calm" or "I need to go somewhere quiet for a minute to help me feel calm." If you think that the way your child is expressing an emotion is not appropriate, help them find a better way to cope. That's exactly what they're trying to learn right now!
- Practice social skills during play and routines. For example:
- Ask for a turn when your child is playing with a favorite item. Use "my turn/your turn" and practice asking for a turn, and having to wait for a turn. You can even tell your child you're practicing.
- Role-play! Preschoolers often love this type of activity because seeing an adult act silly is so fun and interesting. First, tell your child what you're going to do. Example: "Let's pretend I'm your friend and I'm mad because I want your toy." You can pretend to a be very upset or very angry or shy or bothersome, and help your child figure out how to respond to you. What can your child do or say in these situations? You can also role-play what your child can do and say when they need to advocate for themselves. Preschoolers are ready to learn how to say "no, stop, not now, I don't like that, etc." They are also ready to practice how they should respond when someone says that to them.
- Play simple games like Go Fish or Candyland. These types of games offer children a chance to practice waiting, turn-taking, and being a good winner and a good loser.
Picture books are also great for helping children learn about emotions and social skills. Your child's teacher is a great resource if you would like book suggestions.
Resources for Families
D11 is here to help! We can get you connected to many, many resources. If your family needs a specific type of support, you can reach out to your child's teacher, your school, or the early childhood office.
The Early Childhood Office has a Community Liaison (Angie Boucher) who specializes in connecting families with community resources. Please call 719-520-2543/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information on any resources you may need.