The pre-school year is, perhaps, the most formative and crucial year in a child’s development. It is the foundation for many more years of education.
How can a pre-school foster this important year of growth?
Pre-school is a carefully planned programme of experiences that encourage learning in a developmental sequence. It is done in both a formal and informal way. Activities are inclusive of five main areas of development – Identity, Community, Well Being, Communication and Learning. An outline of broad group objectives and the planned programme will be displayed in the kindergarten.
Each day the pre-school is purposefully set up with the group and individual objectives in mind – objectives which will foster particular areas of development. Staff will formulate these objectives after careful observation of the group and individuals. Perceived areas of strength, weakness and interest together with the “family voice” will contribute to the direction and content of the programme. The children can choose from a range of activities with adults available to facilitate and encourage learning. Each day, a formal ‘mat time’ is planned to provide the opportunity for group learning. Listening to others, taking turns, sitting in a group and other concentration skills are refined at this time.
What is our daily routine?
On the majority of days there will be a routine, which when needed, can be altered to fit the needs of the children attending. As the children develop and become more independent the routine alters and adapts to include ‘school transitioning’ activities. Below is a basic guide to the daily routine
- Group and individual activities (as mentioned above)
- Music time
- Washing hands and fruit time
- Outside adventure time
- Washing hands and lunch time
- Group activity/Story time
The educators encourage self-learning through trial and error, while discussing with the children other possibilities for problem solving. During play, the children will learn independence, an important milestone for this age, which gives them pleasure and self-confidence. Packing up, cleaning up accidental spills, self-care and making their own choices are an important part of each child’s routine at pre-school.
It is crucial that the excitement of learning, fostered at pre-school, is carried on in the home environment. Even though your child does not bring something home every day, they are still participating in active learning experiences. For example, learning how to use a magnifying glass at the nature table, completing puzzles, playing board games, creating a city from the blocks, forming a friendship with a new child and listening to a story are all things that cannot easily be transported home. Much of the children’s learning is in the remembering and retelling, which gives them just as much enjoyment as the activity. It is important for the caregivers to take an interest in their daily activities, and in ‘creations’ when they are brought home. Creativity is not always recognisable, especially to adults, so it is important to be sensitive to your child, and not just put creations straight into the bin.