Why Play Based Learning?
There have been numerous articles written on the benefits of play-based learning. Here are some links to a few:
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) –
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The National Literacy Trust
The 3’s students begin their day by hanging up their school bags and coats and then washing their hands. They have a short amount of free time to explore the room – we have games, play dough, table toys, puzzles, and our home living area open. The Star of the Week rings the bell to call all students to the rug for circle time. During this time, we discuss the theme of the week, we dress Weather Bear, we sing songs, we do movement activities, we hear a story, and we learn how to do the project of the day. Our themes at the beginning of the year focus on a color each week. Once we have gone through the colors of the rainbow, we turn our attention to fall, Halloween, farms, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Later themes include fairy tales, pets, fire and police, zoo, shapes, and gardening. After circle, the students are free to explore both classrooms, including the blocks, train table, and rice table. We gather back together for a short second circle, wash our hands and have snack all together. We head out to the playground for some outdoor fun (or to the gym if it is raining.) We practice putting on our coats, hats, and mittens by ourselves. After the playground, it is time to go home. We are very busy and time flies!
The 4’s wait together as a class in the church lobby and then head up to the classroom, where we hang up coats and bags and check for our mail. Then we go right to circle. We do a letter and number page each week. By the end of the school year we have 2 books to take home with all the letters and numbers! On the letter day, we talk about the sound the letter makes and pick out words that start with that letter. On the number day, we practice counting to that number by doing movements, such as hopping or clapping. We also sing, play instruments, celebrate birthdays, hear a story, and get directions for our project of the day. We have free time after circle to explore the room. We have a tool table, play dough, a science table, a writing table, easels for painting, and many more fun learning activities. We have our snack during our free time, choosing when we want to go and serving ourselves. This gives us practice in pouring our water and counting out the correct number of snacks. One day we might have three crackers; another we might have 12 goldfish. After free time, we gather back for a second circle where we hear another story, talk about the calendar and the weather, and play a visual discrimination game. Then it is time to go outside to play on the playground (or go to the gym if the weather is bad.) Before we know it, it is time to go home.
Morning 3’s 8:35 – 10:35 am Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Morning 4’s 8:35 – 11:05 am Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Afternoon 3’s 12:10 – 2:10 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Afternoon 4’s 12:10 – 2:40 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday