Building a Curriculum Based on Childrens Play
At Tiny Stars Infant and Toddler Care, Our curriculum is based on "Play" And yes, we know how this sounds!
"My child isn't learning anything, my child is just playing with toys all day! What can my child learn by just "Playing all day long?"
Let's break it down and see how learning takes place in "play"
We will pick a theme. Lets pick "Dinosaurs".
Dinosaurs are brought out and placed in the block area. The teacher then engages the children by asking the children
"Where do yo think the Dinosaurs Live?" The answers that the children give can lead into the learning experience.
She could ask the children to go to the block area and build a "home" for the dinosaurs. They may build a cave, or a house, or a tree for them to live in. Building with blocks strengthens a childs hand eye coordination, counting and mathmatical skills, balancing skills, vocabulary skills, and expands the childs imagination!
Coloring crayons and paper are out on the table. The teacher could bring up the subject of "does a dinosaur have a name? a family? a job?" and then, wait to hear the imagination of the clildren at work! Then she would encourage the children to "Draw a dinosaur and their family" Or Draw the Dinosaurs in the jungle, or in a shopping mall, or having a picnnic" The concept of "applying their thought or idea onto the paper", is a pre cursor to writing. Coloring, putting the crayon to paper, develops the childs fine motor skills, cognitive development, art skills, vocabulary skills, hand eye coordination!
Play dough is put out on the table. The children engage in playing with the playdough. The teacher gets a few dinosaurs, and brings them to the table. She starts a discussion with the children about "Have you ever seen a dinosaur footprint?" This begins a science experiment. She uses a dinosaur, and makes a foot print in the playdough! The children are now engaged in a conversation about dinosaur footprints. The children then copy what the teacher did, and they begin making footprints in their playdough. This could lead to a discussion about Dinosaur fossils, dinosaur digs, and the word paleontology!
The teacher brings out a container, and puts small play dinosaurs in it, and then covers them up in oatmeal, and sets out serving spoons, tongs, paint brushes, and sifters. The children come to the table, and pick up a spoon, and begin to "dig" in the oatmeal, and discover that there are dinosaurs in the container! The children are now engaged in a science experiment. The teacher can engage the children with a discussion of a dinosaur dig! The children can now learn about fossils, and the science of paleontology.
The way that the classroom is set up, determines how the children will decide to play in their surroundings.
By setting up the classroom with items that are related to that weeks curriculum, she is structuring the environment for learning. It can determine how, and with what and where the children go. The teacher then engages with the child in their surroundings, and then the teacher also engages in "play".
The Curriculum is the basis for the items that the teacher chooses to set up the room with. The Theme is carried out in the things that the children decide to play with! The teacher sets up the environment based on what the theme is for that particular day or week.