When people come to tour my preschool I am frequently told by parents that their child is reading at a second grade level; then asked what are you teaching the children? Upon entering a yard under the shade of a Chinese elm tree you can see the children coming in, finding an activity such as digging a river in the sand or creating art with a marble, a box, paper and paint. There is play dough made fresh everyday.
A friend is being made while other children are thinking about making a friend.
Developmentally when we study children’s play we are looking for how best to teach each child individually, with objectives that are appropriate for their stage of development. While parents, and my apology in advance yet it is usually fathers, seem to want their children to learn academic principles, feeling that play is something children can do at home.
While that is true, as I raised four children and they all played at home, children need to learn to be capable and cope able away from their home environment, as someday they will need to be independent of their parents. This is a huge task when you think about it. At the same time if a child can be given the time to develop at home as well as in a school environment from a preschool age with an emphasis on social emotional development, studies show children being more secure in the world, with healthier social relationships, and even a higher income. All this through exploring the world in a school where children are playing, even while they can read at a second grade level.