One of the most rewarding aspects of working in the field of Early Childhood Education is bearing witness to the immense social development that occurs amongst the children. At The Children's Meetinghouse, the first several weeks in the beginning of the school year are dedicated to setting the foundation for this development to occur.
Since the start of school, the children in both the Infant/Toddler and Preschool programs have been busy making new friends and actively exploring every inch of the classrooms. The teachers are so proud at how far they've come in adapting to new routines and transitions while simultaneously beginning to forge meaningful relationships and understandings about what it means to be a part of the "TCM Family."
Here at TCM, we are delighted to watch your children's personalities slowly but surely emerge as they grow more comfortable with the environment, one another, and with us. They are SO curious and busy every day: the teachers work hard to ensure that these curiosities are continuously piqued and supported.
In the Infant/Toddler room, ample opportunities are provided daily for the children to explore with their senses, develop language skills, and strengthen fine and gross motor development. From building with pegs and magna-tiles, to reading a favorite story, to joyously jumping on top of bubble wrap, the children are learning new skills every minute of the day, all while having fun!
The children are also practicing important self-regulation skills such as turn-taking while they wait for a chance to paint at at the art table or wash their hands before eating snack. Speaking of painting: the skills represented in this simple activity are immense! While exploring the artistic medium of paint, children are strengthening their fine motor function (gripping a paintbrush), experiencing sensory processing (the paint feels wet & squishy!), identifying colors, deepening their expressive language ("more paint please!"), and of course, expressing themselves creatively. Wow!
In the Preschool room, children are building upon these same skills while also strengthening their relationships and interactions with peers. Three, four and five year olds learn to collaborate in deeper ways: they move beyond parallel play and work together to plan and build intricate block towers, create stories together at the writing table, and utilize materials inventively during imaginative play (rubber playground balls make for terrific meatballs, don't you think??).
Preschool teachers understand that children learn best when they are actively engaged in the process. During a recent butterfly unit, the children participated in several thoughtfully prepared activities covering numerous learning objectives. From measurement (how many classroom objects can we compare/contrast with our inchworm/caterpillar rulers?), to pre-literacy and sequencing skills with butterfly life cycle booklets, to creative explorations of turning watercolor paint and coffee filters into colorful, unique butterflies...all aspects of the preschool child's brain are nurtured and developed.
Much like the children are awed by the transformation of the caterpillars into butterflies, we are awed by the transformation of the children's development over the course of the school year.
And to think: we're only just beginning!