Child care – a home away from home yet a place to continuously grow and learn. The common spaces in a child care setting are set up with play materials. These play materials support the child’s learning which in turn paves the way for academic growth. Some of these activity areas may have blocks on their shelves, while another may be set up with environmental materials. What is the intention behind this set up? What are the educators hoping to realize?
Each play area supports, shapes and facilitates the child’s development in the following ways:
- Physical – growth of large and small muscles. Activities that require large muscles would be jumping and running. Activities that require small muscles would be building with blocks or painting with fingers.
- Social – self-expression using words, affection with familiar people.
- Intellectual and Cognitive – using play material as substitutes. For example, using blocks as a phone or fingers to point at objects that they would like to have.
- Emotional – expressing emotions through the five senses. For example, the child may cling to a familiar adult when they see a stranger or cry when frustrated and angry. Children clap hands, smile, may have loud laughter bursts when excited, surprised, or happy.
- Language – Age is a factor for language. Young children under 2 years may have one-word sentences.
Areas of Learning
Activity areas serve more than one need; they introduce the child to areas linked with academics.
- Art – scribbling, drawing with chalk
- Math – categorizing items into groups according to shape, size, color (i.e.: quantifying without counting)
- Science – discovering new concepts. For example, if 2 colors are mixed, they change. Flour mixed with water with other ingredients makes playdough.
- Social Studies – the environment and the surrounding world. For example learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin plant and the uses after harvest.
At Mongio we are guided by the children’s interests. The educators cater to the curiosities of the children and that is how Mongio educators merge the developmental areas with learning areas. Age appropriate(development) experiences(learning) are provided in the classrooms and the outside play areas.
To elaborate this concept is an example, “Frog”. The infants in the Fir and Cedar room were passionate about the frog puppet. This frog puppet enhanced the song, “ 5 green and speckled frogs” at circle. The educators posted a mind map, families were invited to participate and learning experiences (academic ) revolved around frogs. The play areas were set up to expand on frogs. Where they live, what they eat, types of frogs, B.C. frogs so on and so forth. Academic areas were tapped upon by the educators and the frogs held the infant children’s interest for a couple months. Educators in Fir and Cedar rooms at Mongio provided activities that fostered development and academic growth.
Over the next few blogs we will explore each play area to recognize the learning (academics) and development they provide.