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As a play-based preschool the children determine the curriculum here at Play Learn Achieve Academy. To gear our learning towards subjects that the students enjoy, we follow a theme of the week. That could be a holiday that is coming up, world events, or interests that the students have spoken about. The theme dictates the books we will read and some of the learning that will happen that week, but the majority of the day is spent with free choice/free play.
You may be wondering, “What is a play-based preschool?” Playing is how children learn best. A play-based preschool promotes participation in age-appropriate activities through learning centers. We offer Dramatic Play Area, Math Center, Science Center, Literacy Center, and Blocks/Cars. We have art supplies readily available to children as well as books all around our classroom.
Unlike a daycare or schools that are largely curriculum centered, you won’t find kids wandering aimlessly at PLA, doing worksheets, or made to sit quietly for long periods of time. Our students are encouraged to learn through play, they have a say in what they learn and how they learn it.
Each day we do a table activity that is usually a process art activity. That means the materials are presented to the children and they are free to explore and create what they wish. We want every child to feel like an artist! There is no right or wrong in art and whatever the children create is beautiful. It might not look like much to an adult, but if you ask your child about their art you will hear that it means a whole lot to them. Product art or “cookie cutter art” as it is referred to might look cute and be refrigerator worthy, but do you know who created 90% of that piece of art? The teacher, not the students. While product art is common in many preschools, it doesn't give the children the opportunity to be creative and they often develop low self esteem when they see that their product isn't "perfect" like the example. This is why product art is rarely seen at PLA.
Sometimes instead of a process art activity we will do a group project or a science experiment. We play with play dough a lot and explore things in our sensory tub like sand, rice, beans, snow, water, etc. Towards the end of the school year, we have the children start a journal. When they journal, the are encouraged to write or draw anything they'd like. We understand that until each child is ready, they won't be writing letters or words, but the children enjoy this time putting down their thoughts in their own way. Forced writing and flashcards are something you will not find at PLA. The best way to teach children how to read is to read to them often and point out words and letters everywhere. Our job as their teachers is just to be available.
Our school is a screen free zone. I feel like there are enough electronics in the world we live in so when they are at school, they need to be using their imagination and play. We build a safe loving environment for children to grow and thrive. Our only rules are to keep them safe (No touching doors that go outside, we use our walking feet, we use nice hands, feet and words) Other than that this school is theirs. They are encouraged to be good friends, apologize when necessary, clean up their own messes, and take responsibility for their own things and their own actions. I believe the Dr. Seuss quote “A person a person no matter how small.” If children are treated with respect and their ideas are encouraged wonderful things happen! Children leave here as very independent and free-thinking people ready to not only face kindergarten, but ready for whatever life throws at them.
If you like the idea of a play-based preschool, PLA may be the perfect place for your child to play, learn, and achieve!
I’m developing oral language, social skills, small motor skills, concepts about quantity, shape, size, pattern, and an interest in math. I may use these tools as a computer programmer, accountant, or mathematician in the future.
I’m developing a curiosity about the world, sensory skills, problem solving, language skills, and experience with the scientific process (observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, reporting). If I’m a doctor, lab technician, pharmacist, or landscaper I will utilize these skills.
I’m developing alphabet knowledge, oral language, print knowledge, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, concepts about the world, and the desire to read. Maybe I’ll be a publisher, author, or librarian when I grow up.
I’m developing social skills, emotional skills, independence, oral language, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function. I may use these skills as a mother, father, safety officer, or politician one day.
I’m developing motor skills, math concepts (number, size, shape, space), oral language, social skills. eye-hand coordination, self control, and my imagination. I may be a builder or architect when I’m grown.
I’m developing eye-hand coordination, small motor skills, self confidence, and creativity. I might use these skills one day as a artist, illustrator, architect, or designer.
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A person's a person, no matter how small. Dr.Seuss