early education

The Importance of Play through the Senses

Each week at Counting Down to Kindergarten, I will have a sensory bin set out. Sensory bins provide opportunities for the children to interact, negotiate, and problem solve with each other. They use communication with each other, and with help, expand their vocabulary.  Also, while playing at the bins, the children are exploring the properties of the materials through their hands and sense of touch, and exploring concepts such as flow, sinking or floating, and viscosity.

Much of the learning in preschool is embedded in play. I usually hide letters or numbers in the sensory bin for the children to find and match with a poster that is usually set along side it. This way, as a child finds a letter, the parents or teacher can explain what letter it is and what sound it makes. This type of learning is very natural and is easily absorbed by the child. The sensory bin also helps calm an anxious child as playing with the materials is soothing to him/her. I have found, as a preschool teacher that the sensory bin or reading to a child helps comfort the child in transitional periods such as separating from parents, starting something new, or the child is shy. So you can see why sensory bins are such an important element of our program. So much learning and reinforcement of concepts can be accomplished through sensory bins.

To read more about the importance of play through the senses click here and here.

Name Recognition and Name Writing

Children entering kindergarten really should be able to recognize their name. We emphasize this skill when the children sign in by placing their name from the out board to the in board. This skill is also emphasized by our name station. Usually, each week, one station is dedicated to the children constructing their name. One week, it may be using magnetic letters to construct their name, and the next week, the child has to find the letters of their name written on blocks and the child has to put the blocks together in the corresponding order. The purpose of the station remains the same while the activity varies. The station is designed to help the children recognize their written name and find the letters of their name, and place the letters in the correct order. Some weeks, the station will feature practice sheets for the child to practice writing his/her name.

This skill is a necessary preschool skill as children entering Kindergarten will be expected to write their names on all their worksheets and art work. At Counting Down to Kindergarten we feel the responsibility to prepare our students as much as possible for Kindergarten and this station really helps. As our students get closer to Kindergarten, I emphasize name writing practice and provide the students with practice sheets to take home. As the children master their first names, I have them participate in the same activities but using their last names.

For ideas to help your children practice name recognition, click here for ideas. For ideas to help your child to build or write their name, click here.

Welcome to Counting Down to Kindergarten!

Welcome to our Counting Down to Kindergarten Preschool. This Schuylerville Public Library program is dedicated to helping our young children reach all their academic potential by offering a free preschool here at the library. This class meets twice a week and requires registration. You can register in person at the library. The class is taught by me, Jenny Edwards, a preschool teacher with a degree in Early Childhood Education and also the author of this blog. I have over ten years experience teaching preschool, have taught in a variety of school settings, and I am a mother if six children.

This program features the academic and social skills your child will need prior to entering Kindergarten. Each week is based upon a theme. The program has a set routine: First, there is a circle time where Miss Jenny reads stories, sings, teaches finger plays, and gives instruction to the whole group. Then, the children and their parents break up and explore the various stations. The stations also follow the theme, and each station focuses on developing various preschool level skills. Some of these skills are: early literacy, name recognition, letter recognition, counting, number recognition, name, letter, and number writing, playing cooperatively, taking turns, exploring through the senses, fine motor skills, and art exploration.

This program is designed for children ages 3 to 5. If your child is almost 3 and turns 3 during the session, feel free to register him/her. Siblings are also welcome to attend. You can register in person at the library. When you register, Miss Jenny will email you as we get closer to a new session beginning. If you have anymore questions you can email Miss Jenny at jedwards@sals.edu.