New Year, New Beginnings

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. 

FullSizeRender (3).jpg

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!

IMG_8595.JPG
20170918_084517.jpg
FullSizeRender (5).jpg
IMG_8600.JPG

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!

FullSizeRender (2).jpg
20170912_085913.jpg

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??).

IMG_8603.JPG
FullSizeRender (4).jpg

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.

IMG_8596.JPG
IMG_8598.JPG
IMG_8597.JPG
IMG_8604.JPG

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!

The Importance of Play

TCM-9.jpg

At the Children's Meetinghouse, we believe in play! As Fred (Mr.) Rogers once said, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” We honor the importance of play in our children's daily school experience. Educational research shows that young children develop their creative, intellectual, social, and physical potentials from engaging in active play.  

As we welcome a new school year, please take a moment to consider that when one, two, three, four, and five-year-olds are playing," they are doing exactly what they are meant to do!

\\

"Just Playing"

 

When I am building in the block room,
Please don’t say I’m “Just Playing.”

For, you see, I’m learning as I play,
About balance and shapes.


Who knows, I may be an architect someday.

IMG_2466.JPG

When I am getting all dressed up,
Setting the table, caring for the babies,

Don’t get the idea I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.

I may be a Mother or a Father one day.

imagejpeg_0.jpg

When you see me up to my elbows in paint
or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay,
Please don't let me hear you say, "I am just playing".
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm expressing myself and being creative.


I may be an artist or an inventor someday. 

IMG_8400.JPG

When you see me sitting in a chair
“Reading” to an imaginary audience,

Please don’t laugh and think I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.


I may be a teacher someday.

IMG_8429.JPG

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs,
Or packing my pockets with choice things I find,

Don’t pass it off as “Just Play.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.


I may be a scientist someday.

output.jpg

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some
“plaything” at my school,
Please don’t feel that time is wasted in “Play.”

For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate.


I may be in business some day.

TCM-13.jpg

When you see me cooking or tasting foods,
Please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is “Just Play.”

For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to follow directions and see differences.


I may be a chef someday.

imagejpeg_0 (1).jpg

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run, and move my body,
Please don’t say I’m “Just Playing.”

For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning how my body works.


I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete someday.

untitled-81.jpg

 

When you ask me what I’ve done at school today,
And I say, I “Just played.”

Please don’t misunderstand me.
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.

I’m learning to enjoy and be successful at my work,
I’m preparing for tomorrow.

Today, I am a child and my work is play.

 

[Anita Wadley]