Daily Archives: June 12, 2018

Dramatic and Cooperative Play Helps Develop the Whole Child

The element that I would like to focus on this week is the dramatic play/ cooperative play element of the program. For example, depending on the theme, I set up a flower shop, a grocery store, a pizza shop, a castle, or we play with life-sized building blocks. This also includes any time the children take toys off the STEAM cart and play together. Dramatic play is where the children take on roles and by doing so, they gain an understanding of social studies, develop their language with words pertaining purchasing items and running a store, and develop the very important social and emotional skills such as taking turns, sharing, and dealing with emotions when they don’t get their way (self-regulation). Cooperative play creates an opportunity for the children to work together and to learn to negotiate and speak kindly to each other. When considering kindergarten readiness, the social/ emotional aspect of readiness is very important. The ability to negotiate and speak kindly to each other, take turns, and self-regulate are integral skills that children need to have practiced before entering kindergarten. This skill, along with fine motor skills, are even more important than academics, if you can believe it. That is why I include this element each week. I also do not mind if it becomes the hit station, while all the other stations sit empty, because of the skills the children are learning at this station and how important these skills are to the developing child.
I will always have counting, name exercises, and letter matching every week, so they will always have an opportunity for those skills, plus, these skills can always be practiced at home as well, but dramatic play/ cooperative play is special to this environment and the children should be encouraged to spend as much time as they want at this station.

To learn more about dramatic play and cooperative play, click here, here, and here.

Tabletop Activities: Our Many Stations

In Counting Down to Kindergarten, we have many tabletop activities for the children to choose. These include our matching games, sorting games, and additional fine motor games. Most weeks there will be a letter station, math concept station, name station, sorting station, and fine motor station. For example, I always have something out for the children to sort. The reason behind this activity is that it builds their cognitive functioning overall, but in particular, they are exercising their mathematical skills of matching, recognizing similarities and differences, and organizing the objects into groups. I usually have a letter matching station as well. My motivation behind this station is to give the children exposure to the letters and to see if they can match uppercase to uppercase, and some weeks, matching uppercase to lowercase, which is a stretch for some of the children. Most of the times, I also have the letters on matching backgrounds to give the children extra help. Sometimes the activity will focus on fine motor skills such as beading or taking stickers off the paper and creating a scene with them. This type of activity focuses on developing their fine motor skills and their cognitive development. They are using their fingers to peel the stickers off the sheet and placing them on the paper. The peeling of the paper really takes delicate fine motor skills and placing the sticker takes mental planning. Another example of this is an activity of matching beads to colored feathers and threading the beads onto the feathers. This is another example of exercising their fine motor skills as well as continuing to build their color matching skills. We also have tabletop activities that help the children with their names and I go into more detail about this in a previous blog.

To learn more about the importance of sorting click here, and if you would like some sorting ideas, click here. To learn more about developing your child’s early literacy skills, and specifically letter recognition, click here.