Jul 05

Learning through Play in Pre-K

learningcenters“Play is one of the fundamental principles of developmentally appropriate practices because it allows children to explore their world, interact with each other and adults, and develop symbolic representation and problem solve, all of which serve as the foundation for later school success” (Manwaring, 2011, 6). Classroom play and exploration is essential for young students in their quests to pursue lifelong learning habits as they prepare for later school years and acquire skills to carry on into adulthood. Classroom learning centers are the primary source of play for young students, yet have reduced time frames and have become teacher-directed to the point that students are unable to explore centers on their own learning styles. “Center Time, the primary vehicle of child directed activity and inquiry, is shorter and highly structured by the teacher” (Manwaring, 2011, 7). The lack of freedom in center-based play in the pre-kindergarten classroom has led to fears of students being unprepared for kindergarten. The research involved in this study will allow the learner to explore reasons teachers are not allowing center-based play in the classroom so young students can learn through discovery and exploration on their learning levels and styles.

One study indicated that, while teachers provided lessons and activities in classroom learning centers, they were unaware of the developmental milestones with which these activities met (Kirschenbaum, 2000, 12). “Teachers received a multitude of developmentally appropriate hands-on activities to do in their classrooms, yet they were not receiving the theoretical and research foundations to explain why these activities were done and what children learned from them” (Kirschenbaum, 2000, 14). A portion of the research problem is revealed in previous studies that teachers receive ideas and information to include activities in their lesson plans, but they do not receive information and knowledge to support these activities. Due to the lack of knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices, teachers are unable to teach appropriately and provide adequate kindergarten readiness skills and student preparation. The researcher must work to provide teachers with the proper training and modeling techniques to ensure teachers are prepared for their proper roles as early childhood professionals.

Although the early childhood years are seen as formative years in young students’ educational lives, “VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) teachers are not only expected to institute a developmentally appropriate curriculum and to align their classroom practice with the benchmarks, they are also expected to do this without targeted training or support” (Breffni, 2011, 177). Without this essential training and support, teachers are unprepared for the classroom administrative requirements for leading and guiding students for kindergarten preparedness and readiness. For teachers to adequately teach and prepare students, they must be given the proper training, guidance, and knowledge to implement classrooms that foster environments of play through discovery and exploration. Studies indicate that teachers are untrained and ill equipped with adequate means and knowledge to structure classrooms for center-based play; therefore, students are not given the freedom of learning through play and discovery on their individual learning styles.


Stegelin, D. A. (2005). Making the case for play policy: Research-based reasons to support play-based environments. YC Young Children, 60(2), 76-85. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/197688222?accountid=27965

National Association for the Education of Young, C. (2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Position Statement. National Association For The Education Of Young Children.

Evangelou, D., Dobbs-Oates, J., Bagiati, A., Liang, S., & Choi, J. (2010). Talking about Artifacts: Preschool Children’s Explorations with Sketches, Stories, and Tangible Objects. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 12(2).

Kirshenbaum, K. (2000, January 1). Helping Preschool Teachers Implement Developmentally Appropriate Child Care Practices Utilizing a 4-Point Strategy To Prepare Preschoolers for Kindergarten Readiness.

Breffni, L. (2011). Impact of Curriculum Training on State-Funded Prekindergarten Teachers’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices. Journal Of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 32(2), 176-193.

Manwaring, J. S. (2011). High stakes play: Early childhood special educators’ perspectives of play in pre-kindergarten classrooms. (Order No. 3482739, University of South Florida). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 152. Retrieved from             http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/910540991?accountid=27965. (prod.academic_MSTAR_910540991).


Jun 26

Easy Octopus preschool art

This octopus is an easy art project for young toddlers and 2-year-old preschool students. Use a large sheet of white paper. Cut slits about half-way up the paper. Roll the paper into a tube shape and tape or staple it together. Decorate a face with eyes.


Jun 26

Handprint Crabs

This art project is great for a preschool theme on Beach Week. Paint the young students’ hands with red paint and place their handprints on construction paper. Add eyes to the end of the thumbprints.

This could be a frame-able picture to keep for years like the footprint lobster.


Jun 26

Sprinkler Day Fun in Preschool

We put the recycled 2-liter bottle sprinkler to use on Water Day in Preschool Summer Camp as a part of the Beach Week Theme.


Jun 24

Transportation Week in Preschool

During Transportation Week in preschool summer camp, the students learned about the progression of vehicles and transportation throughout the years of history.

They started the week with a visit from a horse and hearing how horses were used on farms as well as modes of transportation.

Then they had visits from classic cars: a 1915 Model T and a 1955 Chevy. They loved hearing the different horns and seeing the different seats and seatbelts. These cars were so much different from their cars they ride in today.

Then the preschool students were given the freedom to build their own cars and trucks out of art materials consisting of foam pieces and bottle caps. IMG_1877IMG_1882


Jun 23

From a 2-liter bottle to a Sprinkler

I saw this homemade sprinkler highlighted online and had to try it myself to be used for water day during Beach Week.

Use an empty 2-liter soda bottle. Drill small holes in the sides of the bottle at various spots around the bottle. Attach the water hose with an adapter on the end of it into the mouth of the soda bottle. Turn on the water. Once the bottle fills up with water, then it starts to squirt out of the drilled holes.

This sprinkler will make a great water day for the younger preschool students (toddlers-2 year olds), but the older preschool students will enjoy it as well.


Older posts «

» Newer posts