Doesn’t it feel great when you have a long “to-do” list and it is all crossed off! Every box has been checked, and you feel so successful in those completed tasks. We very much appreciate productivity and efficiency in today’s society; however, we need to be careful when “accomplishing tasks” regarding children and their preciously short time called early childhood.
CHILDREN NEED MORE TIME!
Time to think, make decisions, consider, and even wander before making a choice. They need flexibility to imagine, experiment, discover, and . . . PLAY. It can take children a long time (in an adult’s mind) to simply settle into play because they need to create a storyline, assign roles, and agree on both! This involves decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration. These are the very skills that predict academic success and promote social-emotional development. They also develop most efficiently though play!
An intentional teacher, like the day care teachers at Kinderberry Hill (or parent!), can enrich play by listening and observing. What are children’s questions or misunderstandings? What are they trying to create or learn? Once we notice this, we can inject the perfect question to guide them OR change the environment so they can discover their own answers. For example, if a child is wanting to build a cave for bears, an attentive adult can add real-life photos of bear habitats to the space. We can also add items that complement the colors and materials used in natural bear habitats. Adding books for children to research is another a great way to further interests and understanding. All of this is done through PLAY! Play is the absolute best way to capture interests, offer concrete hands-on learning, explore complex topics, and to gain persistence and creativity—all while building a life-long love of learning!
At Kinderberry Hill, we continue to make play a priority! We know that extended periods of child-led play promote executive function skills. Executive function develops very rapidly in the early years, so as caregivers and parents, we must mindfully prioritize this process. If we want our future leaders to have strong self-regulation and high levels of executive function, we cannot divide their day into 30-minute blocks of adult-directed instruction.
As trusted leaders in the childcare field, we will always allow the latest research to guide us to ensure the absolute best early childhood experience for children and families. Rest assured, we will continue to introduce children to early reading, writing, math, and science concepts through small group teacher-directed activities. However, we will also be intentional about providing ample play and exploration to make certain children develop those important executive function skills along the way—that is the Kinderberry Hill way!
We look forward to creating beautiful memories and friendships (and endless brain connections) with your child through play. Remember that “to-do” list you were able to check off? That happened because your adult executive function skills were on point and . . . “in play”.