What do children learn at preschool?

Giving Parents the information

Written by Lorna Harrod from Mum's Wine HQ

When my eldest started preschool, I had no idea what it entailed, I just assumed it was somewhere he would go and play and learn to spend time away from myself as his main caregiver, hopefully making some friends at the same time, and to a degree that is right, however since I have started working in a preschool I have learnt there is a whole lot more to it than that.

what children learn at preschool
Source: Pixabay

There is a reason and hopeful outcome for everything we do, even when it is looking like allowing the children to ‘just’ play. Here in Wales we work to the Foundation Phase (Foundation Stage in England) where the development of the children is recorded and planned for in different areas of learning which I was oblivious too previously, so what can be done to help Parents understand and support their child through preschool?

  1. Setting to take time to provide the information on what we do and why we do it, show parents the development records we need to keep and steps to achieving the development goals. Have open days to discuss this, to allow parents to ask questions, and receive information.
  1. Have regular updates through social media pages where pictures and explanations of the day’s activities can be shared to help parents see what we have done and what the reason behind it was and what outcome was achieved. A picture alone does not always speak the whole story though, a child playing with cars or blocks says nothing, but an explanation that the child was being encouraged to explore colours and sizes of the cars or blocks explains how we have worked on mathematical development.
what children learn at preschool
Source: Pixabay

What is it we actually do then?

As mentioned to many it would seem that the children just play or make things, nothing more, but it is through play the children learn personal and social skills, mathematical development, physical development, language development.

Personal and social skills – Responding appropriately to others, playing alongside other children and learning to respond to familiar boundaries, not easy at three but with the regular routines of preschool it is amazing how quick they develop, and simply interacting and playing with the other children teaches them to take turns and what behaviours are acceptable.

Mathematical development – This is an area we can integrate in to many different activities and help develop through play with blocks, cars, trains in fact any area of play. Counting dolls, looking at colours of cars, sizes of blocks, the possibilities are there in any activity and by introducing it through play it is natural and appealing so the children develop and learn.

Physical Development – As well as the obvious physical movement we help the children develop, there is the fine motor skills we work on through access to painting, colouring, playdoh and discovery tables, these require holding and manipulating a crayon, a paintbrush, glue stick, large tweezers, and also by using materials such as playdoh to pull apart and manipulate into shapes.

Language Development – All children develop at their own rate so it is important to remember they will all have different needs at different times and this is true with language development, some children are talkers from a very early age and others less so, it is our job to give them the support to develop at their own pace, using simple repetitive language that can be absorbed and copied, keeping explanations simple, simple talking through what is happening during an activity, such as “the blue train is in the shed”, “the green train is going around the track”, without putting pressure on the child by asking a question. Children need time and an understanding of things before expressing themselves.

So this is a small part of what we do, and how we help the development of the children, on many levels through many different ways but through ‘play’, any Preschool would happily talk through individual development needs of a child and ways we plan to meet those needs so as a parent and a provider I would say, just ask.

By Lorna Harrod – 17/03/2017

If you’d like to read more posts on education, parenting, and more from Lorna, visit her amazing blog at Mum’s Wine HQ.

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